Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, November 10, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 16



 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 10, 2012 

HOWARD Hays As I See It


 First and foremost, congratulations are due to Governor Romney for the 
high ethical standard and practiced discipline he maintained in his campaign. 
The campaign was one of great potential consequence for the country we love, 
and he fought fair and hard for the principles he holds dear. He is a great and 
generous man, imbued with a decency and honesty that would have made 
him a great leader and perhaps one of our best Presidents. He overcame many 
hurdles and encountered all the powers of the incumbency, mother nature and 
the not-too subtle part-truths, misstatements and outright falsehoods that too 
many in the opposition camp were willing to hurl simply to win. But win they 
did, and it is further testimony to the character of Mitt Romney that he did 
not leave the campaign stage bitter or angry, nor was he disillusioned with an 
electorate that essentially decided to kick the can down the road, for you see 
the election results have not settled a single one of the tremendous issues that face our country today. 

 We started the election with the Democrats in control of the Presidency and the Senate, and 
the Republicans in control of the House. We finished the election in exactly the same place. The 
bare knuckle political battles of the last 4 years will undoubtedly continue for Obama’s second term. 
Nothing in the election process or the vote has tempered or interceded. We had a 50-50 election 
where the campaign was focused on the micro issues of one small constituency or the other. We had 
a demonstrably more negative campaign than has been our experience in the last quarter century. 
That’s not just my opinion, it is Pat Cadell’s as well, and he’s been a partisan Democrat campaigner 
from the Jimmy Carter years onward. He had even predicted that Obama’s only route to success was 
through the muddied fields of innuendo and outright slander. 

 In the middle of all that, though, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan put forth valiant effort to raise 
the bigger issues, to inform the electorate that this election would matter, that the country is at a 
crossroads and cannot simply continue as it has. But the country decided – that’s what an election 
is – that is was not yet ready to restructure and reform the growing welfare state, nor was it ready to 
pay its costs.

 Neither side in this great debate won last Tuesday. Those who want to enshrine the new spending 
levels, bureaucracies and regulatory hurdles enacted under this administration will not be able to do 
so. Those who want to return power to the states and the people and shrink the size of the government 
will not be able to do so. Meanwhile, the government we have costs more than the revenue the people 
are willing to pay. There is no mandate to decrease spending, but there certainly is not mandate to 
increase taxes.

 Each side will be able to say, as Obama did to Republican leaders immediately after his first victory, 
“elections matter”. But Obama will not be able to continue, as he did four years ago in his lecture to 
the Republicans, and say “I won”. Obama has won the Presidency but clearly lost the nation. The 
margin of victory in the Electoral College masks the narrow margin of victory in the popular vote 
and masks the historical significance of winning by less than he did in his first election. That hasn’t 
happened in the modern era. Every other two-term President in the modern era has won re-election 
by more than his margin of victory in his first election. That is not an insignificant footnote.

 So where do we go from here? We can hope that our President will honor his first election promise 
– repeated in his re-election campaign as well – that he wants to be a unifier and to seek a grand 
bargain that will balance the scales. Doug Shoen was a political strategist for President Bill Clinton. 
In his reading of the 2012 exit polls, “election night showed that fiscally conservative free market 
policies along with a social safety net that protects the less fortunate of us is an approach that garners 
majority support.” I think he’s right. President Obama says he wants to be transformational, well he 
again has that opportunity. 

 But that opportunity is not to transform the U.S. into something that only a diehard lefty would 
admire. There is no mandate or appetite for a more socialist or even European-like social contract. 
Doug Shoen has hit the nail on the head. There is a balance to be struck, but an ideologue will not 
be able to do that.

 We need a leader. We need a President who will truly seek to represent us all. We need someone 
with the skills, patience and heart to unite Americans behind a common purpose whereby the truly 
weak are protected, but the truly industrious are not punished. Let us pray that Obama 2.0 is of better 
skill and character than Obama 1.0. Four more years of what we’ve had is going to feel pretty ugly.

About the author: Gregory J. Welborn is a freelance writer and has spoken to several civic and religious 
organizations on cultural and moral issues. He lives in the Pasadena area with his wife and 3 children and is 
active in the community. He can be reached at

“Exact quote: ‘We can’t play.’ What they said right from the get-go was, it 
doesn’t matter what the hell you do, we ain’t going to help you. We’re going 
to stand on the sidelines and bitch.”

 Former Rep. David Obey (D-WI)

 In his interview with Time Magazine’s Michael Grunwald, Rep. Obey was 
describing a conversation he’d had with across-the-aisle colleague Rep. Jerry Lewis 
(R-CA) about the strict no-honeymoon policy set by the Republican leadership at 
the onset of the Obama presidency. There would be no cooperation, no compromise. 
House whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) made sure nobody crossed the aisle, regardless of whether it would 
affect the ultimate fate of legislation. The point was to deny the President any opportunity to claim 

 In the senate, Republicans saw depleted Democratic votes caused by the passing of Sens. Edward 
Kennedy (D-MA) and Robert Byrd (D-WV), along with the months-long delay in seating Sen. Al 
Franken (D-MN), as an opportunity to prevent bills from coming to the floor for debate. Former 
Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) explained to Grunwald his party’s approach to the new President: “If 
he was for it, we had to be against it.”

 Preparing for the mid-terms with no accomplishments of their own, Republicans relied on the 
demonization of the President. Astro-turf groups funded by the Koch Brothers and guided by Karl 
Rove nurtured the tea-baggers; dedicated to overthrowing the foreign-born Marxist who would seize 
their guns, impose Sharia law and establish “death panels” to “pull the plug on Grandma”.

 Tea-baggers won the House, and the Democratic majority was trimmed in the Senate. Members 
pledged to take the United States into default rather than reconsider Bush tax cuts for billionaires. 
Those who denied evolution, dismissed global warming and maintained rape doesn’t cause 
pregnancies were installed on science and education committees. Senate Minority Leader Mitch 
McConnell (R-KY) proclaimed: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President 
Obama to be a one-term President.”

 In the meantime, a stimulus package brought the country back from the edge of a Great Depression. 
A healthcare bill promised that families would no longer face bankruptcy if a child got sick. Reform 
measures ensured that taxpayers would never again be stuck with the bill for Wall Street recklessness. 
Despite public sector jobs slashed by state and local governments, the losses were more than made 
up for as employment nationwide increased with almost three years of steady growth in the private 
sector. Consumer confidence in the future was restored.

 A decade-long war ended and another wound down with an end date in sight. The nation remained 
safe as leaders of the terrorists who attacked us were (finally) held accountable. Respect for and 
admiration of our nation overseas returned to levels not seen in a dozen years.

 Now we’d find out if the Republican strategy of the past four years would pay off; if having stymied 
whatever the President proposed would allow them to argue he didn’t accomplish enough and wasn’t 
sufficiently bipartisan to deserve a second term.

 Newt Gingrich spoke of moon bases. Rick Santorum warned of contraception serving as “a 
license to do things in a sexual realm”. With Ron Paul, it was turning national parks over to private 
developers. Mitt Romney suggested the solution to the housing crisis was to speed up foreclosures so 
families could stay where they’re at – as tenants paying rent, not as homeowners.

 What they didn’t appreciate in the ensuing weeks was that Americans were paying attention. 
They heard Romney position himself to the right of Rick Perry and Rick Santorum on issues like 
immigration and women’s rights, leaving the candidate later with the limited options of coming off as 
either far-right or a phony.

 An opposition researcher named James Carter IV was paying attention as Romney, and especially 
running mate Paul Ryan, repeatedly knocked the legacy of his grandfather. This researcher brought 
to light the video of Romney not only writing off 47% of Americans as unworthy, but of describing 
a factory he’d visited in China that employed “20,000 . . . almost all young women . . . the number of 
hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned . . . living in dormitories . . . 12 girls per room . 
. . and around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire and guard towers.” Americans 
paid attention as they heard Romney describe this factory not in condemnation, but as another sound 
purchase by Bain Capital.

 Chrysler workers in Ohio were paying attention as Romney told them their jobs were going overseas. 
Many called their supervisors to ask what Romney knew that they didn’t. Spokesmen for Chrysler 
and GM assured that Romney was lying – lying about the future of these workers’ jobs hoping to score 
political points. Autoworkers, steelworkers, union members throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and the 
industrial Midwest were mobilized to go door-to-door getting out the vote as never before.

 When it became clear the votes might not be there, Republicans in swing states, especially 
Pennsylvania and Florida, determined to make it harder for people to vote. The prospect of five and 
six hour waits in line, though, rather than being discouraging, only increased the determination of 
citizens to make sure their voices were heard.

 One would think Republicans would be paying attention, in order to avoid a blow-out in the mid-
terms two years from now. So far, not much has changed: Sen. McConnell is already challenging the 
President to come to them with a budget to their satisfaction. In the House, Speaker John Boehner 
(R-OH) presents as his “compromise” a plan remarkably similar to the one Mitt Romney campaigned 

 Maybe those chewing out Karl Rove for having blown $400 million of their money on losing 
campaigns will try talking some sense into Republican leadership, as well. Grown-up governance 
and compromise will not only be good for their party, but good for our country. And – Americans 
will be paying attention. 

JOE Gandleman An Independent Voice


“DEAR COLUMNIST: I am 13 years old and in the 8th grade.

“Some of my friends say America will never be able to put back 
together after the highly divisive Presidential election and that due to 
hyperpartisanship people will never work together to solve our problems. 
They say it’s getting almost impossible. Papa says if you hear people say it 
on TV, in newspapers and on blogs then it must be so. Please tell me the 
truth: can America truly get together after this election? Can there ever 
be a change that takes place that could move our country towards real 
problem-solving, or is this as “good” as it can get? 

“Virginia Genericperson

“285 Quintessential Ave., Any City, USA”

Virginia, your friends are wrong. As someone who writes this column, loved political science at 
Colgate, monitors political shows on radio and TV, and who spends hours surfing the internet to edit 
and write my centrist blog The Moderate Voice, I know how easy it is to get swept up by the early 21st 
century’s rages, passions and melodrama.

You and your friends are picking up the fact that our politics no longer resemble the kind of politics 
that made America great -- where consensus and compromise were virtues and where politicians 
perhaps begrudgingly acknowledged the importance of truth and could not blatantly and intentionally 
ignore it. You’re picking up on the tone of our political culture where rudeness, boorishness and 
aggressiveness are perceived by some as being intelligent. Our political culture has shifted, but just as 
things shift, they can re-shift -- and it is in the power of you and other young people to do it.

Go back into American history and you’ll find many examples of times when compromise -- two 
principled parties or politicians giving a little, then taking a little to come up with something for 
the common good that’s supported by more than a power-play faction of people -- was a virtue. 
Legislator and former Secretary of State Henry Clay, Sr. (April 12, 1777 – June 29, 1852) was even 
called “The Great Compromiser” for his role in the 1820 Missouri Compromise. Partisans known for 
compromise today face primaries and are replaced by hyperpartisans.

You see, Virginia, much of American political culture is now set up to define compromise as a “caving” 
or weakness, and consensus as being in the inaccurately defined “mushy middle.” It showers those 
who are the loudest, most outrageous, and most insulting with attention and riches. Some of today’s 
leaders in both parties do seek compromise and cooperation (note New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 
and President Barack Obama during Hurricane Sandy) and some may seek consensus, but there 
are forces that eschew the notion that real political nirvana is when a policy garners the maximum 
number of populace’s participants to buy into it.

American history is filled with figures that cherished the idea of consensus, even while assertively 
promoting strong ideological ideals: Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight 
Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ and many more. Gil Troy, in his superb book, “Leading from the Center: Why 
Moderates Make the Best Presidents,” classifies Ronald Reagan as a “moderate” because he successfully 
used compromise and consensus.

Strong work to sandbag compromise and consensus. Ideological movements that demonize 
opponents and seek to shrink once-big political tents. Corporations selling and broadcasting popular 
talk shows and cable shows that rake in big bucks by harnessing, communicating, and enlarging 
resentment and anger to build audience share that’s then sold to advertisers. The ideological cable 
channels increasingly celebrate political incivility. 

Still, there courageous politicians and media types and America has a strong center. Many young 
people in their teens and 20s that I talked to and emailed these past two years make it clear they look 
with revulsion on hyperpartisanship, and the verbal and written screaming and insulting associated 
with it. Many wish there was a strong third party movement.

 The fact you and others ask this question means you may -- and can -- make it different. Other 
generations made it different in positive (the Greatest Generation) and negative (Baby Boomers) 
ways. Your generation can do it in a positive way again.

Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has appeared on cable 
news show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, centrists and 
moderates. CNN’s John Avlon named him as one of the top 25 Centrists Columnists and Commentators. He can be reached at and can be booked to speak at your event at You can follow 
him on Twitter at