Online Opinion Outpost: Nov. 11, 2014

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The Online Opinion Outpost features opinions and commentary on the latest hot topics from national news sources. As much as you love hearing from The Universe, we thought you might like to hear from journalists around the nation.

Democrats’ loss
Daniel Henninger, The Wall Street Journal

Fifty years from now, no one will remember the names of the one-term Democratic senators or candidates who were washed out in the 2014 midterm elections. What they will remember is that the Democrats in 2014 became the party of a modern Herbert Hoover. In Barack Obama, they were led by a detached president whose name history will attach to a prolonged, six-year economic catastrophe. They became the party of economic despair. The party of economic despair will always lose.

That is the one certain thing we learned in the 2014 midterms: Low economic growth in the modern U.S. economy is a total, across-the-board, top-to-bottom political loser.

The ascendant GOP congressional majority needs to do one thing: Liberate the locked-in U.S. economy. Start opening every valve the Obama Democrats turned shut. That’s the real gridlock.

 

Obama and the GOP
The New York Times

President Obama refused on Wednesday to submit to the Republican narrative that his presidency effectively ended with the midterm elections.

He said he will not agree to the repeal of health care reform, as many Republicans demand. He will not sit around doing nothing while they look for the courage to enact immigration reform. He will continue to demand a higher minimum wage and new spending on public work  and expansion of early education programs.

“Obviously, Republicans had a good night,” he said, a quiet admission that his party got drubbed, losing control of the Senate, as well as at least 14 House seats. But he said he hopes to meet regularly with Republican leaders and work on areas where there is mutual agreement.

Newt Gingrich, CNN

Friday’s White House meeting with congressional leaders is a timid first step by President Obama toward learning to work effectively with a Congress that will now be controlled by Republicans.

President Obama’s press conference was almost two different events. One was conciliatory and suggested to the voters, “I hear you.” The other was confrontational and almost hostile, asserting that he will do what he wants through executive action unless Republicans give him exactly what he wants through legislation.

In the days that follow, however, President Obama faces an important strategic choice between two paths forward, one productive, the other destructive.

The first option, the path toward a productive working relationship, is clear. House Speaker John Boehner and presumptive Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have each laid down markers for how a productive way forward can take place.

If they can start small and build while ignoring (temporarily, at least) the stories of the day, the President and the new Congress have a strong chance of finding ways to work together.

If, however, President Obama takes the other path before him — pursuing the vision of an unrestrained executive he sketched in his press conference — he is likely to have a very difficult time collaborating with Congress on anything.

If President Obama wants to have the effective working relationship with Congress that he says he does, he will have to take the path that can lead to such a relationship. It is wide open. The other path is a path to national pain and division.

 

GOP’s next steps
The Washington Post

Unlike the dog that chased the car until, to its consternation, he caught it, Republicans know what to do with what they have caught. Having completed their capture of control of the legislative branch, they should start with the following six measures concerning practical governance and constitutional equilibrium:

– Abolish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
– Repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
– Repeal the Affordable Care Act’s tax on medical devices.
– Improve energy, economic and environmental conditions by authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
– Mandate completion of the nuclear waste repository in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain.
– Pass the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act.

Such measures may be too granular to satisfy the grandiose aspirations of those conservatives who, sharing progressives’ impatience with our constitutional architecture, aspire to have their way completely while wielding just one branch of government. But if, as is likely, the result of Congress doing these and similar things is a blizzard of presidential vetoes, even this would be constructive.

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