Looking Forward

After virtually two years of campaigning, the election is over. While we may complain about the length of the campaigns, especially compared with some parliamentary countries where they can elect a new government within a few weeks, overall, we stand satisfied with the long campaign. Eventually, new items come out which influence both the campaign and the candidates, giving the electorate more information, many times which proves both interesting and sometimes decisive.

Granted, we lament the inanities of the campaign, the robo calls, and what appears to us the wasteful overspending… and politicians who fail to take down their yard signs quickly.

But we get by. And to you who did not support Mr. Obama for president, remember our country is resilient. After all, we survived both Franklin Roosevelt and Richard Nixon.

While it appears that little has changed on the national scene, with Mr. Obama getting four more years, and with no change in the majorities in the House and Senate, we suspect there has been more change than is initially obvious.

It’s clear to us that the Republican controlled House should be realizing now that the GOP must be a little more reasonable if they are to gain the ascendancy. Now having fought with the Democrats and President Obama for four years, the GOP gained nothing in this election. Isn’t it obvious that some compromise, on the debt ceiling, or how to deal with the budget, or military spending… might make the Republican more relevant to the people, if they should show some willingness to compromise?

So far their stone-walled approach may not have lost them control of the House, but what have they gained? Voters apparently do not like the Republican inability to sit down at the table and work toward statesmanlike results.

Others point to the inability of the Republicans to move from hard positions on many issues that would attract a wider audience… particularly the Latino vote. With this being the fastest-growing big population in the nation, the GOP’s harsher positions on what matters to Latinos does not bode Republicans well in the future.

Then there’s the female vote, where the Republicans did not do well. The ultra-conservative position on many issues must be moderated if the GOP is ever to gain in this important category.

Then of course, there is President’s Obama himself, having learned on the job for four years, taking an almost tentative approach. He needs to be stronger, come out of his shell, and forge a relationship with the House, perhaps at a Camp David summit, that will show leadership and get results.

MEANWHILE HERE IN GEORGIA, the new Republican Party maintained a tight control over the House and Senate. It’s really not much different from the Democrats of old, controlling the governorship, the Senate and House over many long years.

Labels may have changed, but the way of getting something done hasn’t changed much.

It’s certainly not healthy for the state of Georgia, in our opinion, for any party to have such a tight lock on government. What is needed, we feel strongly, is for there to be a healthy Loyal Opposition to the party in power, so that everything isn’t automatically hand-stamped. We need alternatives, but we also need to have a strong opposition party being a watchdog over the party in power.

As it is now, the most difficult job in the state is for the Democratic Party in Georgia to re-build itself so that it can be a real Loyal Opposition, instead of merely the annoyance that it is today to the GOP. Then we can see not only a two-party system, but overall better government for our state.

Editor's Note: This story also appeared at GwinnettForum.com.
Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack is a native Georgian and veteran newspaperman. He published the weekly Wayne County Press for 12 years; was for 13 years the vice president and general manager of Gwinnett Daily News, and for 13 years was associate publisher of the Gwinnett section of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He now publishes, in retirement, Web sites on Gwinnett County, http://www.gwinnettforum.com, and Georgia news, http://www.georgiaclips.com.