The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

November 12, 2012

Other Views: New kind of gridlock

— Hope springs quadrennially after every presidential election.

Americans are naturally optimistic (although you wouldn’t know it from listening to most of our politicians). For a while after the winner has gracefully accepted the loser’s traditional phone call to concede, they allow themselves to believe that this time will be different, that the nation has moved on to something better than politics as usual.

Republican Mitt Romney, in his concession speech, told his supporters: “The nation, as you know, is at a critical point, and at a time like this we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work.”

It was as if the charges that Barack Obama was a socialist who apologized for America on bended knees, who was over his head in the job and wedded to policies of proven failure, had never been made.

In his acceptance speech, Obama said that he and Romney had “battled fiercely” — an understatement if there ever was one — “but it’s only because we love this country deeply.” As if Romney had never run a series of nasty and dishonest ads accusing Obama of shipping manufacturing of the iconic American Jeep overseas. Obama offered to meet with Romney to discuss how the leaders of both parties could work together to solve the nation’s problems.

But the president’s offer surely was purely symbolic. As a practical matter, Romney is a dead man walking in his own party. He lost the GOP’s best-funded effort to take the White House from a man who by every traditional political statistical measure was doomed to lose it.

Younger, ambitious Republican politicians, like Romney running mate Paul Ryan, are already positioning themselves for 2016. Romney is in no position to broker any kind of compromise over the heads of the party’s true leaders, House Speaker John Boehner, the most important politician in Washington outside of Obama, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who failed in his single goal of making Obama a one-term president.

Those two spent four years kicking Obama and deliberately thwarting his programs. Now that he will never run again, Obama is free to kick back.

When members of Congress return to Washington, for a few fleeting milliseconds they may allow themselves to think that maybe the problems they left behind might have been solved in their absence.

But still looming is the “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and automatic budget cuts, largely of the GOP’s doing, and Obama is in position to wield considerable influence simply by doing nothing.

Hope truly does spring quadrennially in Washington, but it takes only a week or so for reality to set in.

Scripps Howard News Service

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Opinion
  • Our View.jpg Our View: No need for No. 9

    “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that the people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects?”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: ‘Right to Farm’ is wrong

    On Aug. 5, voters will be asked to make a decision about Amendment 1.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: No on Amendment 7

    The Missouri Department of Transportation is wanting more money through a three-quarter-cent addition to the sales tax. Consider one example of how it spends your money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: Bad way to get revenue

    I received two fliers through the mail today asking me to vote “yes” on Amendment 7, which would add a three-quarter-cent tax to Missouri’s sales tax to help maintain roads and bridges.

    July 29, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: Symptom of bad policy

    The Obama administration continues to be surprised and shocked when its policies of good intentions suddenly meet the hard reality of unintended consequences.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rebecca French Smith, guest columnist: Amendment 1: Farmers are 'boots on the ground'

    Take a moment and ask yourself who was the last person in your family to farm.

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View; Makes no sense

    Chess was never my game. It’s too complicated.

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Time value of money

     I was shaking my head along with Anson Burlingame (“Much has changed in U.S. over 14 years,” Globe, July 22), then he offered his readers a chance: “Go ahead — take your pick.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Boiling a frog

    We voters are now being urged to vote on Aug. 5 for Amendment 7 “to fix our roads, highways and bridges.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Our view: 'Yes' on 7

    Opponents of Amendment 7 say this: “Missouri families are already hard pressed to pay their bills during this period of slow economic recovery.”

    July 26, 2014

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