Posted on February 4, 2009
Everybody wins. It’s annoying for old-timers like me when every kid – winners and losers – gets a trophy for just competing in the new little league.
But in the Congress, everybody has won. They have won the right to represent their constituents in the Halls of Congress.
So, when Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama says that they won the election and they can anything they want with the country, they completely misread what elections are all about.
For our new President, this declaration is especially troubling. The man who preached that he was going to change politics, and govern in a post-partisan way has now signaled that his brand of bipartisanship is just a different kind of intense partisanship.
We won the election, he says, but they didn’t win every election.
In many parts of the country, Obama lost and lost big. In many other parts of the country, Nancy Pelosi could note have won a race for dog-catcher. Her radical, left-wing philosophy is far out of the mainstream of not only many Republican districts, but a sizeable number of Democratic districts.
Now, that doesn’t mean that Obama has to check off on every decision with Republicans that don’t support him. But it also doesn’t mean that Republicans who won their elections have any duty to vote for an agenda that they fundamentally disagree with.
Some of the more radical left-wing activist groups have threatened to unleash holy Hell against Republicans who dare stand against the forces of Obama. But these are battle-hardened and cagey politicos who have survived two tough elections in a row, and it is unlikely that they will suddenly collapse under the pressure of a few 30-second ads.
Obama should govern for the center because it means he will likely have better results than should he govern from the far-left. That means horse-trading and reaching workable compromises, not only with Republicans, but also with Democrats from swing states and districts who look at the House bill and say “what the f…?”
Obama doesn’t have to do that. He can try to ram through the left-wing crap that came from the House. He can have his friends at move-on.org and other liberal groups run nasty commercials. He can have all of his activists deluge the Congress with emails, and he can have the “pink” ladies picker the Capitol.
And he can proudly say that he “won” the election, and claim that he can do anything he wants to do.
But that attitude will only get him in trouble. Pride commeth before the fall, and before President Obama gets too proud of his election, he should read some of his own speeches. Everybody won their election in Washington, (with the possible exception of John McCain) and they all have an equal right to represent their constituents. Obama should proceed with some respect for his colleagues, even those he disagrees with, and find ways to bring the country together by reaching workable compromises for the good of the nation.