Feb. 5, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Voters Want the Two Parties to Work Together

Morton M. Kondracke

The McClatchy poll in particular showed that Independents — 75 percent to 16 percent — want Republicans to “compromise with the Democrats and President Obama to get things done” rather than “stand on their positions even if it means things don’t get done.”

Even 46 percent of Republicans favored compromise (vs. 48 against), as did 44 percent of conservatives and 46 percent of tea party supporters.

Obama and the Democrats lost the elections — after winning triumphantly in 2006 and 2008 — because they moved too far left, building up a government that the public does not trust.

But if Republicans don’t propose positive steps to create jobs and control the debt, they’ll blow their chance to be the dominant party in the next decade.

It was not encouraging that McConnell declared in one interview that “the single most important thing we want to do is make President Obama a one-term president,” though he softened his remark in a Roll Call interview, saying “I don’t want the president to fail. I want him to change.”

The No. 3 Senate GOP leader, Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) told me that he could envision agreements on Social Security reform, trade, construction of nuclear power plants and infrastructure, as well as education reform, “if the president shows interest in accepting Republican ideas, which he hasn’t done for two years.”

He said that during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress, Obama should also “agree with his own former budget director,”  Peter Orszag, “to extend all the Bush tax cuts, so as not to raise taxes in a recession.”

(Orszag proposed a two-year extension, then the elimination of all the cuts to control the national debt. The GOP wants an indefinite extension.)

The fundamental problem the 2010 election creates is that the center of gravity of the Congressionl Republicans has been shoved rightward, meaning that Obama will have to reach further than before to reach any agreements. To do so, he’ll risk offending his own liberal base — and perhaps his own ideology.

But as they approach the next two years, Republicans and Democrats should be motivated most by one question that was in the exit polls: “Do you expect life for the next generation of Americans to be better than life today?”

Only 32 percent said yes.

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