President Barack Obama on Thursday invited Republican and Democratic congressional leaders to the White House for a Nov. 18 chat about how they might work together over the next two years.
Hours later, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell reiterated that his top goal is to make Obama a one-term president and promised repeated votes in the Senate on repealing health care reform.
Maybe Obama is just trying to look more bipartisan. After all, he hasn't been too inclusive of Republicans during his first two years in office and got spanked on Tuesday. But whatever the political calculations, Republicans need to accept Obama's olive branch, not snip it off, and make him and congressional Democrats back it up with actions. The country simply can't afford two years of standing still while the rest of the world innovates, creates jobs and invests in the future.
Elections have consequences, as everyone said when Obama made his Supreme Court nominations. And disagreement between the parties is natural. Healthy, even.
But that notion has been taken to an extreme, to where there's a very real chance that voters will be subjected to two years of gridlock as problems facing the nation mount and worsen.
Republicans won a mandate on Tuesday, but it was not to blindly push their agenda. It was, primarily, a call from voters to get the economy moving and to bring some sanity to America's long-term budget woes. Washington Republicans may be hearing the screams of those extreme partisans who reject any sort of compromise with "that Socialist." Washington Democrats may be hearing the yells of those extremists on the left who want zero cooperation with "those right-wingers."
All of that is drowning out the vast majority of Americans who want the two sides to make progress through compromise. A McClatchy-Marist poll taken right before the election found that voters tilted toward Republicans, but by a huge margin (72-22) preferred compromise over gridlock.
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