The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

November 3, 2010
Obama, Republicans strike cooperative tone, for now

It's way early yet, but President Barack Obama and newly powerful Republicans in Congress are at least talking cooperation instead of confrontation.

House Speaker-to-be John Boehner was "humbled" by Tuesday's results.

Obama was chastened, somewhat.

While he campaigned for Democrats, he said, he heard that Americans were not satisfied with the economic recovery and he took his share of responsibility for that.

Obama conceded that he had failed to deliver one of his primary campaign promises: changing Washington. "We were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn't change how things got done," he said.


And even that will change with the new political reality. 


"No one party will be able to dictate where we go from here. We must find common ground," he said at a White House press conference.


He said he will have to work harder to reach consensus. But he acknowledged it will not be easy or even possible to bridge every difference.

"Some election nights are more fun than others," he said, just two years removed from his historic election that swept in dozens of Democrats on his coattails.

About an hour before the president spoke, Boehner wasn't gloating, much, even with the historic Republican gains on Tuesday of a projected 65 seats in the House - far greater than the 39 needed to take control or than in the 1994 "revolution."

He said that Obama called him Tuesday night to pledge cooperation and that he hoped that Obama would be willing to work with Republicans on creating jobs and cutting spending.

But Boehner also said he would work to repeal one of Obama's most treasured accomplishments - the sweeping health care reform - saying it would kill jobs, ruin the health care system and bankrupt the country.

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell was more combative, saying that voters sent the message that they were glad that Republicans said "no" to much of Obama's agenda. It's up to Democrats to move toward Republican positions and compromise, he asserted.

And for all the conciliatory talk, the rank and file - especially the newly elected members of Congress who came out of the virulently anti-Obama tea party movement - may not be as willing to find common ground.

Still, as The Bee's editorial board said today, there are many crucial issues on which there ought to be room for agreement.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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