Changing Relationships: Gridlock or Green Light in Washington?

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series changing relationships
McConnell meeting with President Obama at the White House earlier

One of the World’s Most Important Relationships: Mitch McConnell and President Obama have met many times. This earlier photo was released for public use by the White House.

Sweeping Republican victories on November 4th signaled major changes in relationships and power dynamics. Republican leaders and the president are mouthing conciliatory language, expressing their willingness to cooperate.

But what do you predict will happen? More gridlock than ever before, or green light for real progress?

I’ll give you my prediction below.

Republicans now control both houses of Congress; their leaders are meeting already to coordinate legislative action. The Republican majority is not veto proof, however, and Obama can say no to any legislation he doesn’t like.

Meanwhile, Obama stated yesterday that he was ready to cooperate and get the job done—but noted that he would be vetoing bills and making changes through executive actions. Mitch McConnell, presumptive majority leader in the Senate, also used conciliatory language, but vowed that executive actions would be like a red flag before a bull.

Writing at the end of Election Day, William A. Galston of the Brookings Institution said, “If they [Republican and Democratic leaders] meet early on to focus on areas of potential cooperation, the tone in Washington could change for the better, and something might get done. For a restive and anxious people, bipartisan progress on the problems about which they care the most would come as a welcome relief.”

Get ready for more restiveness and anxiety.

More gridlock is what I predict. After a few weeks or months of bipartisan meetings and conciliatory language, nothing will happen. The lines will harden. For example, Republicans will pass legislation gutting Obamacare and the president will veto it. Obama will enact his agenda for immigration through executive actions, which will anger Republicans and make them more recalcitrant.

Nothing of much worth will get done until the 2016 General Election. And what happens after that remains to be seen.

Are you happy, sad, or indifferent about the changes in political power and relationships in Washington, DC?

Do you predict more gridlock?

Are cooperation and a green light for change still possible?

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  1. Robert Watkins says

    This election was not a referendumon Republicans but a repudiation of the interests of the congress. As long as the Republicans are against any action of the President nothing will be accomp[lished and we will be no better off than before. We the people are lookingm for agreement on reducing the debt, reducing taxes and a plan for citizenship for those with employment in the USA. Anything less will continue to make Washington a little island in the sea and the States will have to work independently to help their citizens.