Well someone seems to have gotten the message from the disgruntled voters in the midterm elections and that someone includes President Obama, the Republican leaders, and even some Democrats. The message, cut the partisanship, work together, and give us back our government.
The result has been the most productive Lame Duck Congress in history as the spirit of bi-partisanship resulted in the stunning passage of tax cuts, extension of unemployment benefits, Continuing Resolution to fund the government, passage of Don't Ask Don't Tell, ratification of the START Nuclear Arms treaty, approval of the 9-11 health fund and who knows what else might be accomplished in just two weeks.
No one expected such a remarkable performance by leaders in Washington although I did predict the bills would all get approved just after the election, but I am the eternal optimist who believes our system of government will always prevail in the end.
Obama has set a great pace since suffering the humbling debacle last November which goes to prove he is more of a pragmatist than a partisan. Maybe, with the new Republican House taking office after the first of the year, he can continue to govern from the center and all will be well in America. If he falls back into his partisan mode which prevailed the first two years and nearly paralyzed the nation it will be a tough two years.
Good government has always been the art of compromise though our current leaders seemed to have forgotten the lessons of history the last two years, but if Obama can never lose sight of the will of the people he could become a formidable candidate for re-election.
Which leads me to my two year old campaign to get Obama to appoint Evan Bayh, the retiring Senator from Indiana, as his new chief of staff. The day after Christmas Bayh turns 55, a remarkably young age for such a highly regarded retiring Senator who is one of few people in Washington to be well respected by members of both political parties and the media.
Everything Bayh has done and stands for is exactly what Obama needs in the person leading his White House operations, managing his policy initiatives and working with what will be a likely restless divided Congress. Evan Bayh would be the perfect antidote after two years of the Rahm Emanuel take no prisoners management style. There would be no foul mouth expletives, no threats against political opponents, no attempts to steamroll Congress like we saw during the first two years.
Bayh is imminently qualified in terms of class, knowledge, communication skills, understanding people and knowing how to encourage bi-partisanship. No one in the Obama administration brings the same quality of assets to the table. The popular Bayh, if named chief of staff, could almost guarantee the re-election of Obama because Bayh is really that good.
If the president really wants to heal the country then he should name Evan Bayh his chief of staff.
As for the politicians in our nation's capitol, I believe the people have given them a chance to govern over all the people but if they slip back into their old ways of partisan bickering and dog fights, then the people will replace them. Main Street is hopeful, but will not stand for more of the same.
Republicans cannot move far to the right and succeed. Seeking a limited government with a balanced budget does not mean forgetting about the real needs of the people nor placing the needs of special interests above the people. Democrats must avoid forcing the agenda too far to the left as well since America is the great melting pot, and that means stick to the middle.
Much remains to be done. Tough budget decisions lie ahead. We still have 150,000 of America's finest fighting in two wars around the world and we should pray for thir safety until they are home. The economy is starting to recover but many pitfalls lie ahead. Our international standing is in need of repair. Over 31,100 Mexicans have died the past four years in our drug war. In short, we have a long ways to go.
The last two weeks have been delightful to watch as our government actually acted like, well, a responsible body representing the people. What a joy to see. The surging stock market and increasing optimism of the people was the reward. Keep it up and more rewards will come. Let us hope we have seen the beginning of a new era of responsible government and pray that it stays that way.
Our leaders represent all the people all the time, not just the special interests that pour money into their campaigns. They forgot that the last two years. Maybe they will remember it this time. If so, then we have all been given the greatest Christmas gift possible, the gift of HOPE for the future of America.