We have won the Presidency. We have increased the Democratic majority in the Senate, as well as increased the number of women in the Senate. But we have lost the House of Representatives. This is what I am hearing from the pundits.
We have made history by electing, then re-electing an African American man as President of the United States. He made history during his first term by passing Obamacare, saving the auto industry, taking out Osama bin Laden, ending the war in Iraq, and setting a date to end the war in Afghanistan. In my opinion we are missing another historic opportunity. I believe we should explore the possibility of a coalition in the House of Representatives.
America is sick and tired of gridlock in the Congress. Congress, as a body, has the lowest positive rating and highest negative rating in history. And yet, very few of the “bums” were kicked out. Why? Again, in my opinion, people elect those who they are comfortable with and who they like. Many incumbent Republicans were returned because their constituents did not see those individuals as part of the problem.
One of the things I most admire about President Obama is his willingness to keep going back to try and work with his opponents, no matter how often he is rebuffed. Tonight he spoke again of the importance of bipartisanship to solve the problems before us. But, the need has been great before, yet has always be stymied by the Republican House leadership. It is time to think outside the box and develop a different approach. This is the perfect opportunity to convince twenty to twenty-five moderate Republicans to join the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives.
For the President and the House Democrats it provides a path to move the business of the country forward without being held hostage by extreme views as well as retake the leadership of the House. For Coalition Republicans it provides the opportunity to move the business of the country forward as well as the opportunity to move the interests of their districts forward.
The first thing I heard from John Bohner tonight was “this election proves there is no mandate to raise taxes on the wealthy.” Mitch McConnell stated that the “Senate Republicans stand ready to work with the President when he is willing to move to the center” (statements paraphrased) Mitch McConnell, John Bohner, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, and other members of the Republican leadership have made themselves boulders in the middle of the stream for the past two years. They have shown they intend to continue as obstructions to the progress of the Ship of State. The only way to avoid those boulders is to make a new stream, one that leaves them high and dry and irrelevant.
The first order of business today should be Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and President Obama working together to strategize how to organize a working coalition in the House of Representatives. Identifying a few moderate Republicans in the Senate who would be willing to vote with the Democratic majority in the event of a filibuster would be wise as well.
The nation has shown that we respect and support a President who is fair, but stands firm against political bullies. It is time for him to provide proactive leadership designed to avoid/solve a problem that stymied progress during the past two years.