A quote from our “constitutional scholar in chief” at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event on Nov. 24: “The biggest barrier and impediment we have right now is a Congress, and in particular a House of Representatives, that is not focused on getting the job done for the American people.”
Translation: The House of Representatives won’t let me have my way.
Obviously, while President Barack Obama may have taught constitutional law, he obviously doesn’t understand it. The House of Representatives is one half of the legislative branch, which shares power with the executive and judicial branches.
Another opinion which is voiced loudly is, “We won, get over it, we get our way.” Again wrong. While the voters did elect Obama to the presidency and a majority of Democrats to the Senate, they also voted to continue to keep Republicans in charge of the House of Representatives. So the choice of the voters was to keep in check the speeding locomotive of either agenda. Just as the Democrats were elected to represent and vote for the will of their constituents, so were the Republicans.
Whether or not, as is being alleged, shenanigans or deceptions were involved in the winning of either side is a debate for another time. This political result is what we have to work with. With this in mind, a leader would stop blaming, stop campaigning, stop barking out unilateral changes to laws he doesn’t like, put on his big boy pants and sit down with people who are difficult to work with and possibly don’t like him.
Whether or not you liked or supported Bill Clinton, he was just one example of presidents of opposing parties who had a divided Congress. When he wanted to get things done, he spent days going to Capitol Hill to meet with his adversaries. He sat with them, not just his supporters, tried to find common ground and work for a deal both sides could live with. He understood that neither side would entirely have their own way.
This has been done for centuries by many presidents who understood their duty to lead for the benefit of all their citizens. When only one side has a voice, no one is well served.
June Van Alstyne