The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

November 19, 2012

Kevin Wilson, guest columnist: Election gives everyone more of status quo

NEOSHO, Mo. — After months and months of campaigning, billions of dollars spent on advertising and a whole host of negativity, where are we after one of the most divisive elections in the history of our country?

Right where we were the day before the election — a polarizing president, a split Congress and a nation divided almost even.

The president talks of compromise and says that he has a mandate to raise taxes on the wealthy. And House Speaker John Boehner says that he is willing to raise revenues (taxes) as long as the tax codes can be revised. Do you think that compromise is going to happen?

If it doesn’t, then heaven help this nation.  In case you have forgotten, we are facing a fiscal cliff that we are going to drive off of in early 2013 — the sequestration that was the result of past Washington gridlock.

Does the president really have a mandate? From an electoral viewpoint the answer would be yes, but I don’t think anyone can really call a margin of 3 million votes out of 100 million votes cast a true mandate.

The electoral landslide just means that the president was able to win more “big” states, but a true mandate would have been a much larger popular vote margin and a Democratic takeover of the House, which obviously didn’t happen.

Does anyone think that a comprehensive overhaul of the tax codes is really going to happen? If you do, then I have some beachfront property I would like to show you at the next low tide. The current tax codes are tens of thousands of pages long and have grown so complex and complicated that true reform is a mythical quest of Don Quixote politicians chasing legislative windmills.

All that being said, if we don’t find a way to build consensus, then I am extremely afraid of what faces our nation. And when I say “find a way,” I don’t mean through executive orders or edicts that stretch the boundaries of constitutional guidelines. I mean that we need to come together as a nation and chart a path to future prosperity. For me, that would involve reducing government expenditures. Given the current political climate, I don’t think that alone will work.  

Tax increases may be a political reality, but don’t think that if the government gets more of your money that it won’t spend every bit of it and want more. Such is the nature of the beast, and it will not change anytime in our future. Regardless, real compromise is not only needed but is critical at this juncture in our history and I only hope and pray that the president is serious this time when he pledges bipartisan cooperation.

Turning to the state for just a moment, the election did prove my last column correct. Missouri has definitely lost its bellwether status by voting against President Obama in the past two elections and for the other reasons I set forth. Missourians also showed that we are pretty split in that we overwhelmingly elected Democrats to statewide offices but kept the General Assembly firmly in the hands of the Republicans.

The Republicans now have a veto-proof majority in both the House and the Senate. Does that mean they will be able to push through their legislative agenda with little worry of a Democratic governor’s veto? Regardless of the margins, it doesn’t mean that at all.

Despite what some may think, all Republicans do not think alike and large numbers do not translate into a large consensus. There are plenty of competing ideals within the House caucus, and except for truly polarizing issues I don’t see 110 votes on most legislative initiatives. As for the Missouri Senate, what can you say? Senate rules and traditions make it very easy for just one senator to hold the entire body hostage to his or her particular ideology, and I don’t see that changing dramatically.

So what does this all really mean?  More of the status quo — the Republicans controlling the legislative agenda but with a governor with a lot of power to influence the final result. But, unlike their federal counterparts, most folks in Jefferson City understand the art of compromise.  

While we hold our breath and pray for a breakthrough in Washington gridlock, I think that we will continue to see a fair amount of cooperation and civility in the state Capitol. Say, how what about a new country of Missouri — just like some in Texas are proposing for their state? Think that would work? OK, so a fellow can dream —just like Don Quixote.

Kevin Wilson is a former Missouri state representative. He lives in Neosho.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Our View.jpg Our View: Lone holdout

    Missouri continues to be the only state in the United States that won’t allow a prescription drug database to be established.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Anson Burlingame, guest columnist: Much has changed in U.S. over 14 years

    Does anyone recall the major economic argument during the 2000 presidential campaign between George Bush and Al Gore?

    July 22, 2014

  • Our View: Vote no on Amendment 1

    Proponents of Amendment 1 — the Right to Farm Act — have not made their case. We’ve met with advocates of this amendment to the Missouri constitution and listened to their arguments, but we don’t believe they have adequately answered the central question: Who is it protecting, and from what?

    July 13, 2014

  • Your View: Amendment 5 is deception of the highest order

    Amendment 5, sponsored by Missouri Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, “relating to the right of Missouri citizens to keep and bear arms” provides that “any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

    July 21, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: No time to turn away

    With the shooting down of a commercial airliner over Ukraine and fighting that has now escalated to a ground war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, it would be easy for most U.S. citizens to throw up their hands and turn their backs.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Power to defend

    The Globe’s editorial ‘More guns not the answer’ (July 15) was saturated with classic progressive blather.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: Thanks for the generosity

    Generally, all we hear about is the bad news, and obviously, there is plenty available. Our church felt this event worthy of public knowledge.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: How to upgrade your business

    Let’s see now. When some folks wish to improve the exterior of their properties and have other taxpayers pay for the improvements, they create a community improvement district.

    July 21, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our view: Street smarts

    If your daily commute has been shortened because you no longer have to wait at 26th Street and Connecticut Avenue for a train to pass, thank your own tax dollars.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Decision fails test

    With the announcement that the State Board of Education has decided not to release individual school test results because of cyberattacks and other problems this spring, educators are scratching their heads, as are taxpayers who footed the bill.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined. Do you think those kinds of measures should be taken?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Facebook
NDN Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Sports