Who said, "I'm afraid the Democrats will draw the conclusion that because Congressman Ryan's proposal, I think, is not the best one, that we shouldn't do anything, and I completely disagree with that"?

Hint: It wasn't Barack Obama, though it should have been. The correct answer is Bill Clinton, who showed again how a president can lead his party toward the center and solve problems.

The spark was the special election in an upstate race where a Democrat took a GOP seat by attacking the Republican plan to save Medicare by turning it into a voucher program in 10 years. As Clinton feared, many fellow Dems instantly concluded that playing the MediScare card will pay big dividends next year. Clinton also said, "I hope Democrats don't use this as an excuse to do nothing" and offered to talk with GOP architect Paul Ryan about entitlement reforms.

This is a big deal, in politics and policy. Clinton saved his own presidency and helped put the nation on course for a balanced budget by working with Republicans who took the House in 1994.

Obama faces a similar situation but remains committed to a far-left lurch on taxing and spending. His budget was such a sham that not a single Senate Dem would risk voting for it, and it went down, 97-0.

With Medicare facing bankruptcy in 12 years and the national debt piling up by the day, Obama has many reasons to take the lead in crafting fixes. Clinton showed how it was done 15 years ago, but his example and advice will count for nothing unless Obama changes course.

Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist. To continue reading his column on other topics, including the return of ROTC to Columbia University, click here

Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.