Rob Horowitz: Time To Find Common Ground, Congress
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Achieving common ground does not mean sacrificing one’s individuality or point of view, according to Sokoloff. It is simply reaching agreements on what we can all accomplish together. Of course, this is easier said than done. It most of all requires the willingness to listen to different points of view and creatively seek areas of potential agreement. It requires an understanding and empathy for values and opinions of which you may profoundly disagree.
With, not against
The ability to find that elusive common ground and reach win-win agreements with those with whom you disagree is an essential element of democratic governance—a critical skill set needed whether one is an active citizen, a local official, a member of Congress or the President of the United States.
That is why Representative Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposal for ending the government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling, which he unveiled at the end of last week, represents a big step towards ending the current crisis. This is despite the fact his proposal ended up being rejected by the White House. The former Vice-Presidential candidate incorporated elements of the President’s own ideas on reforming Medicare and Social Security and shifted the terms of the debate from the dead-on-arrival demand to delay the implementation of Obamacare to fiscal issues that are potentially resolvable. Ryan repeatedly reminded his House Republican colleagues that it was time to seek common ground and his constructive approach was welcomed by President Obama.
While the situation is still fluid and dicey, there is now a path towards resolving these issues, ending the damaging shutdown and avoiding a potentially disastrous default.
For those on the left now warning President Obama not to give an inch and the Tea Party stalwarts still holding out for at least a delay in Obamacare, it is important to realize that deadlock doesn’t mean a win for either side; it's mutually assured destruction.
Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.
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