Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Now, The Real Race Begins

Whatever emotional (or financial) stake you had in the last major set of primary elections held across the U.S. on Tuesday, for better or worse, both major parties - and a few minor party candidates - are headed to the general election in less than two months.

The behavior of each major party, as well as the type of candidates running, continues to stun us, and many other political observers, as well.

There are some seriously odd political hopefuls heading for the finish line this year. The lineup runs the gamut from Alvin Green on the left to Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, Carl Palladino, Christine O'Donnell and a whole host of others on the right.

The overarching concern that we have with the election isn't over who will win what in the next seven weeks.

No matter who wins, the point we've made before - and the point that the partisans in Congress are clearly making for us right now on jobs - is that the American people expect results. So far, they haven't gotten nearly enough to satisfy them.

It's been obvious for some time that citizens are angry at their elected representatives. Not because Democrats have been too liberal (they haven't), or that Republicans have been too conservative (something almost impossible to be clearly defined these days). The problem has been that our legislators have been unable - or more often, unwilling - to find compromise on issues of major importance to the American people.

So it was good to see the small business jobs bill pass its last major hurdle in the Senate yesterday, with two seasoned Republican Senators siding with Democrats to get the bill moved to the next step. We were also cheered by the admission of many leading Republicans and Democrats that they're honestly looking at trying to find some kind of compromise on the issue of tax cuts.

Still, we remain concerned for the future after the November elections.

It wasn't just fanatical, far right candidates like Christine O'Donnell and Carl Palladino defeating centrist establishment candidates last night. Progressives like Ann McLane Kuster in New Hampshire, also defeated their more conservative fellow Democrats.

While the Democrats have a few chinks in their collective armor, for Democrats, they remain surprisingly united. The Republican Party's fractures, however, have become clearly apparent to everyone over the last year. That the Libertarians, Tea Partiers, Neo-Cons, "Religious" Right, and even moderate Republicans have areas of contention that they refuse to cede to each other, let alone anyone on the center or left, is the most troubling trend of all.

We've said it many times before: the soul of effective government is compromise.

As we all head towards the electoral finish line, we hope that every voter remembers:  the winners in November will have to work together if they wish to accomplish anything in the next Congress. If you, as a voter, choose someone unwilling to compromise, you're choosing failure and continued political gridlock.

You will have no one to blame for your poor choices, except yourself.

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