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Election 2012: why status quo result could mean more Washington gridlock

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On Tuesday night, however, Reid and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell played a familiar, sad tune. Reid, the man who routinely excoriated Republican filibusters of legislation while himself choking off the federal budget process for three consecutive years offered up the same “get with the program” message to Republicans he delivered with no success time and again in the halls of the Senate.

"Now that the election is over, it's time to put politics aside, and work together to find solutions. The strategy of obstruction, gridlock, and delay was soundly rejected by the American people. Now, they are looking to us for solutions,” said Reid in an e-mailed statement. “We have big challenges facing us in the months ahead. Democrats and Republicans must come together, and show that we are up to the challenge.”

At the same time, Senator McConnell continued to rip the president.

"The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the president’s first term, they have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control," the minority leader said in a statement. "Now it’s time for the president to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a closely-divided Senate, step up to the plate on the challenges of the moment, and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office."

And then, of course, there is Mr. Obama, who won a narrow majority of the popular vote but a resounding triumph in the Electoral College to earn him a second term. Obama has repeatedly vowed to veto any legislation extending tax cuts for households with income over $250,000 and has no reason to back down from that stance now.

In an analysis just before the election that laid out roughly this same situation, former Democratic budget staffer Stan Collender wrote, “in other words, obstruction and unwillingness to compromise will continue to be the orders of the day.”

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