REFLECTIONS

Posted on October 28, 2010

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CONGRESS MUST END GRIDLOCK

What’s not yet known is whether Democrats can maintain their hold over the U.S. House and Senate for the next two years, but polls leading into Tuesday’s midterm election certainly suggest change is coming. And that could be a good thing for the nation, if the two parties can somehow avoid partisan rigidity.

We suspect Republicans will take over at least one chamber, more likely the House. And even if Democrats keep majorities, they are expected to be much smaller. In either case, neither side will have the votes to ram through its ideas unilaterally.

Either party will need to buy in from the other side, or America will endure legislative gridlock until 2012. Republicans will need to stop voting “No” in unison on every proposal presented by Democrats.

Unfortunately, both sides are running for office as if they won’t need the other after the election.

But fear and loathing, of the other party won’t do the country much good when you consider that the financial markets are watching closely to see whether we tackle our deficit and debt problems. Or when you remember that Social Security and Medicare face dates with bankruptcy. Or when you consider the immigration problems that besiege local communities.

These problems, among many, need solutions before 2012, which is why we hope each party’s calmer heads assert themselves after Tuesday’s vote.

Republicans, for example, are running as the party against government, a popular position in these tea party times. But will they ask their constituents to endure changes to popular programs like Social Security to help bring down the deficit?

Conversely, are Democrats prepared to rethink their approach? They’ve become the party of government at a time when the public is clearly less interested in expanding government. Will Democrats return to the Clinton era playbook, where the formula leaned toward balancing the budget, expanding trade and considering alternative solutions to social problems?

Than there is the unemployment problem. Who has a solution for that?

After Tuesday, Washington’s landscape almost surely will look different. The question: Will each party think about the greater good? We all have plenty riding on our Congressmen looking beyond themselves.

Be sure to vote for candidates who will break gridlock Tuesday.

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