Silver Chips Online

Extreme makeover: House edition

By Allison Daitch, Online Managing Editor
November 7, 2010
The race is over and Congress has had an extreme makeover. The Republican Party has taken control of the House and a bigger chunk of the Senate, which poses many possible problems for the Democratic presidency. Now that they have considerably more power, the GOP says they will not compromise on the issues - but until they do, the country will be in a vicious stalemate which will benefit no one.

The Republican Party's increased power in both the House and Senate will likely cause vicious stalemates in the Congress. Courtesy of whitehouse.gov
The Republican Party's increased power in both the House and Senate will likely cause vicious stalemates in the Congress.
In last Tuesday’s midterm elections, Republicans gained the majority of the House; the GOP grew from 179 seats to 239 and increased their seats in the Senate from 41 to 47. With this Republican takeover came concrete promises to the voters – promises that might be more difficult to keep than the party thinks.

The resurgent GOP will begin the new Congress in January with a strong "no compromise" stance and will refuse to budge on many key issues. Indiana representative Mike Pence said, "On issues that go straight to principle and straight to the concern the American People have on spending and taxes and values, there will be no compromise." Pence claimed that the Republican Party will not compromise on issues such as "Obamacare," taxes, runaway spending, the deficit and the debt. This division within the country will be exacerbated when extreme factions, such as the Tea Party, ride into town. Just like the GOP candidates, those Tea Party members that made it into the Senate and House have firmly stated their position on the issues and refuse to negotiate, which is extremely risky for such a struggling country.

This no-compromise stance will ultimately be ineffective and the government will not be able to achieve anything. Compromise was one of the important aspects of the Clinton administration, for example, that helped to make it so successful. Clinton, known for being a centrist, strove to achieve a balance between the right and left wings. With a centrist president alongside a Congress that wasn’t quite so full of bitterly divided members, the Clinton administration accomplished a lot in eight years – even when Republicans controlled both sections of Congress in 1994. Take, for example, the "don't ask don't tell" policy. Clinton wanted sexual orientation to be open in the military while Congress wanted to keep homosexuals completely out of the military. They found a balance with the policy, which was also a large milestone for gay rights in the country. Everyone was willing to compromise to achieve what was ultimately best for the nation at that time and the cooperation resulted in a successful and thriving period.

It would be easier to regain that prosperity if all the campaign promises were kept, but nothing is that simple. During the Obama campaign, like in all campaigns, promises were made but voters still haven't seen results. Obama said he would end the wars, and voters haven't seen much progress. Now the split government will only create more chaos and the likelihood of seeing significant progress on any of the issues is even more unlikely.

The country is struggling to climb out of a distraught economy and survive after a grueling war, and we need to be united. We can’t split the country into pieces and hope that something or someone will prevail. In these hard times, we must learn from our past mistakes and not repeat them. Abraham Lincoln said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand," and his words remain abundantly true a century and a half later. We need to stay united at a time like this. This is one makeover that hopefully won’t bring down the house.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/10415