Wrangling without mediation no good


(Anderson) Herald Bulletin

The Republican Party took control of the U.S. Senate, strengthened its grip on the House of Representatives and wrestled away a number of governorships from the Democratic Party in the midterm election.

Republican chairman Reince Priebus was jubilant following his party’s victories. “This was all about a direct rejection of the Obama agenda,” Priebus declared a day after voting.

On that, we must disagree with Mr. Priebus. America’s vote Tuesday was not about anointing one party or its agenda as superior over another. It was about disillusionment and disappointment with the current system. It was about hope for better things from our elected officials in Washington.

Mr. Priebus’ approach — one that seeks to divide sharply along party lines and drive a wedge between Americans on social, economic and other issues — will accomplish nothing in the new dynamic in Washington. Yes, the GOP may control Congress, but President Barack Obama still wields a veto pen.

We favor instead the tone set by Obama and Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who will be the incoming majority leader, in their addresses the day after the election. Both leaders pledged to avoid the gridlock of a divided government and instead band together to do good within our nation.

There is common ground where the parties can push

for progress. Obama and McConnell both cited expanded trade as an issue ripe for cooperation. Work on the nation’s infrastructure — roads, bridges and other facilities — and refurbishing the tax code can be backed by either party. And no one wants another government shutdown.

What should be avoided is a fracas over health care or showdown over immigration. While hot-button issues for both parties, wrangling without a compromised outcome does no one, including the American people, any favors.

For the Republicans, this majority in Congress is a chance to reassert the party’s voice in policymaking. But the GOP must also understand that the next two years will be critical in its chances at regaining the White House. Failure to accomplish anything of substance could spell doom for a Republican candidate in 2016.

For President Obama, the election losses and his own falling approval numbers should be humbling. And while the president accomplished many of his goals during his early years in office, such as the Affordable Care Act, one is left unmet. Obama promised us change in how our government was run. The next two years, through cooperation with an opposing party, are his chance to make good on that promise.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to [email protected].

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