A new beginning in this country. The American people spoke in a resounding way in the recent mid term elections. Americans will elect Democrats, Republicans, anyone for that matter---who pledge to work across party lines for solutions to problems--not just angling for a position, only to lose it and hope to carry it to the ballot the next election cycle. Compromise may not be the order of the day all the time, but consensus and congeniality are - and we saw that on Nov. 7. You can't really say this Congress was a rubber stamp for the President of the United States, because often times they didn't get all that they wanted passed; not by a long shot--Social Security reform, tax permanency, further protections under the Patriot Act, immigration, the list is endless. Yet, these are kitchen table issues that more and more Americans want solved everyday. Which leads to an interesting paradigm- it’s evident that Iraq was the most important issue on the minds of most Americans in this election, yet they increasingly want more and more attention focused on the domestic issues here at home. Immediately after 9-11, terrorism and national security were at the top of the list. Where was health care? Certainly not a priority at best. That has come full circle now. Thank the Republicans and this president for that success, but the byproduct has been a return to more domestic issues, and more moderate stances, coupled with distaste for the Iraq war. Where this Congress and Republicans failed was showing that Iraq was part of the greater global war on terror, and it lacked the punch it may have had in 2002 and 2004. Remember, Republicans defied the odds and history in both 2002 and 2004 when they retained control of the majority and even gained seats in 2004 because they spent that time focused on solutions. They lost their way in the past two years and played not to lose.
So the onus is definitely on the new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and company to put some "legislative points on the board" for all voters to truly see there is a difference in the two parties. If they lurch left, with hearings and calls for impeachment, and look vindictive, then '08 will be rocky for both parties.
If the White House looks to congressional Republicans to bail them out of these hearings and oversights, then that looks bad as well. Republicans first of all won't oblige, because they got the message on Election Day, but second, it's not a solution to the real-world issues Americans are facing, like the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), wage stagnation and declining health benefits.
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