The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 23, 2013

Our View: Blocking the path forward

The Joplin Globe

— The oaths have been taken, the speeches all given. Now President Barack Obama and the 113th Congress must decide how they will work together.

As envisioned by the Founders, “divided” government was not a horror to be feared, it was instead a best-case outcome to a worst-case scenario.

Knowing too well the danger posed to freedom and liberty from power concentrated in one centralized authority, the Founding Fathers drafted a Constitution spelling out in detail how to avoid such danger — three co-equal branches of government, each checking the power of the other. The framers of that great document were as wary of any new government as they were of the king they had just dispatched.

And while they recognized the need for a strong central government for trade, treaties and national defense, they also desired that same government be as limited as possible when it came to meddling in the affairs, dreams and the “pursuit of happiness” of those it governed.

Republicans in the House must do more than just obstruct, but President Obama must also realize that members of Congress have just as much a constitutional role as he. Calling them “hostage takers” may ring true to his political base, but Obama belies the truth of the very document he swore to uphold when he does.

But what many Americans don’t know today is that it is neither an obstinate House nor a recalcitrant president that is keeping the nation on its divided fence. It is one Harry Reid, D-Nev.  

For over three years now, Reid has protected his Senate majority (and his own power) by refusing to pass a Senate budget bill and submitting it to the conference committee where the Founders intended the nation’s fiscal debates to occur.

Government of continuing resolution, by continuing resolution and for continuing resolution is no way to run any country, let alone one in such fiscal crisis as ours is today.

The partisan politics of today may not provide a way out of the budget mess we’re in today, but the Constitution does. If only Harry Reid would follow it.