For a brief moment after presidential elections, there’s a decent interval when magnanimity reigns, bipartisanship seems practicable and hope springs eternal that the nation’s leaders will actually work in the national interest.
“At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing,” Mitt Romney said in his concession speech on Election Night. “Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work.”
“You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours,” President Barack Obama said in his victory speech. “And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together.”
Then the moment is gone, and partisan trench warfare resumes.
“Maybe peace would have broken out with a different kind of White House, one less committed to waging a perpetual campaign — a White House that would see a 51–48 victory as a call to humility and compromise rather than an irrefutable mandate.” That quote, too, comes from Barack Obama — in the first chapter of “The Audacity of Hope,” commenting on the situation in Washington as he was sworn into the 109th Congress after George W. Bush’s re-election eight years ago.
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