Art of compromise is what’s needed now
Updated: November 15, 2012 7:42AM
In the aftermath of last week’s election, I’ve been listening to my friends on the right and the left.
They are saying the same thing, and that’s what worries me.
My friends on the left are saying that with President Barack Obama’s victory, which they describe as a mandate, the Republicans should be willing to compromise and stop blocking the president’s agenda.
My friends on the right look at the slim margin of Obama’s win, basically 50 percent to 48 percent, coupled with retaining the House and insist that Obama needs to compromise.
I believe both of these positions are half right, and, therefore, half wrong.
Each is correct in one sense: the other side needs to compromise. And they are both wrong if they think compromise doesn’t apply to their positions.
There is no mandate to take from this year’s election. No vote for sweeping change. Some say Americans voted for more of the same; in other words, continued gridlock.
I don’t. I think Americans voted for the middle ground, and if people don’t go there we’ll get another crazy swing to one side in 2014.
Everyone wants the great problems facing the nation — high unemployment, massive debt and massive spending — solved.
Everyone seems to know instinctively that we can’t spend our way out of this sputtering economy, and we can’t tax the golden goose to death. But the way out of this mess lies somewhere in between.
When times get tough, Americans at home tighten their belts and spend less, then go out and get a second job to bring in more money. That’s the tone average Americans want to see adopted in Washington.
And so, what we need is to get some money into the Treasury and rein in spending. Obama’s re-election coupled with the same Congress is a message to both that Americans want compromise.
On the local scene, I would like to caution my Democrat friends who celebrated some victories in Congress and the General Assembly, specifically Brad Schneider over Robert Dold, Tammy Duckworth over Joe Walsh, and Carol Sente over Sid Matthias. Rather than any great shift, those election results are directly related to a new legislative map drawn by Democrats that favored Democrats.
And to my Republican friends who woke up Nov. 7 and realized, “Hey, we’ve got to get Hispanics and other minorities to vote for us,” I have this advice. Get in the neighborhoods and stop fleeing to the suburbs, understand the voters and the issues they face, then run candidates who address those issues.