With the election over, many thought the partisan squabbling in Washington, D.C., might recede. You know, the need for a new farm bill would be addressed, and a chastised Congress and administration would work together to avoid the fiscal cliff and revive our moribund economy. And the positions staked out by both sides on the issues of energy, the deficit, regulation, etc., would be refocused on growth and away from the environment or other interest group-driven issues.
However, such a shift to tackle the big issues seems like a pretty bad bet. Though the Republicans initially signaled a willingness to compromise, Democrats seem emboldened by their narrow victories and are now demanding even more in concessions than they did before the election. Hopefully, it’s still about posturing and collecting the spoils of victory; perhaps the focus will shift toward sincere effort at getting something done. That doesn’t seem to be the early indication, however.
I think the initial takeaway lesson from this election is what the pundits have been saying for quite some time. The country is more sharply and evenly divided than at any time in its history, short of the Civil War era. The big issues largely will continue to be ignored because the proposed paths are so severely different that compromise isn’t a possibility.
While we debate about whether we are to return to the values and principles of the past or embrace the failing European model, the big issues facing this country can’t be addressed. Sadly, I think most of the decisions going forward will be dictated to us because of our failure to act proactively now.
The one thing every elected Beltway politician is correct about is that their constituents sent them to Washington because they didn’t want them to compromise. I really think we’ll see lots of focus on the little things because no one is showing the desire to address the big items.