Two ballot initiatives in the state of Ohio that both got the axe from voters highlight the important role that compromise should play between both political parties today.
My friend and fellow talk show host Neal Boortz was all fired up this morning about voters overturning a Republican move that would have limited the union efforts of public employees. The pending law was pushed through by a Republican governor and legislature without broad public consensus.
While that vote got a lot of coverage, there was another in the state that went almost unnoticed: A voter repudiation of one of the key cornerstones of Obamacare — the compulsory purchase of health coverage by every American.
Just as they shut down the GOP-led law on unions before it went into effect, so too did they say “forget it” to the Democrats’ vision of health care in the United States.
Compromise is the key
Normally, you won’t hear me talk politics. But there’s such dissatisfaction with the state of politics right now. The president has very low approval numbers, while the U.S. Congress has the lowest approval (9%) since polling began ever.
Yet other than among the most diehard partisans, the American people want cooperation and common sense on the part of politicians and parties at both the local and federal levels.
When I look at the sound defeat in Ohio of compulsory purchase of health insurance and what happened with the rejection of restrictions on public employees, these are not opposite sides of the same coin. They are the same side of the same coin.
Dangers of the “I won” mentality
So much in life for me comes back to football. On the gridiron, if you score a touchdown and you taunt the opponent, not only will fists probably fly but you’ll also bring a 15-yard penalty on your team. Referees have had a zero tolerance policy on this issue.
Both the GOP in Ohio and the Democrats with President Obama’s health care initiative were in a position where they each respectively pushed through what they wanted and they both taunted their opponents.
There was room on the health care issue to achieve things the parties could support on a common basis. There was room also with Democrats holding the majority to do some face-saving things with the GOP, which might have avoided this endless anger going on among Republicans about Obamacare. Believe it or not, there are things in Obamacare that are good, not bad, that the GOP could have agreed to.
It’s the whole idea of Obama said to Republicans, “I won,” back in early 2009, meaning that “we’ll do what we want to do.” Bad idea.
If we want to make progress as a country, we need to remember that we are all Americans first and foremost. Yet too many politicians seem to be all about seizing power and using it to further their agendas. Then whatever they try to accomplish gets overturned when they’re out of power and you just alienate more and more Americans.
Disagreeing without being disagreeable
This is not a political show, but rather this is a shout from wilderness that we need to get back to disagreeing without being disagreeable.
Those who adore the late President Reagan know that he was always respectful to the opposition. There were times when he compromised with the opposition. The goal was to move the country in the direction of his beliefs and at the same time not alienate the majority of the American people while doing that.
That’s what missing from today’s political climate — the finesse of the proper way to govern the country. I hope that both parties learn serious lesson out of Ohio, which has historically been one of the most important of swing states in one presidential election cycle after another.