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Slade Gorton
Political leader

Slade Gorton

A former U.S. Senator and Washington State Attorney General, Slade Gorton served on the 9/11 Commission.

Dramatic changes are possible

Q: Winning an election often involves taking a strong ideological position to energize a partisan base. Actually governing, however, usually requires compromise. Will today's Republican leaders be able or willing to pivot successfully from campaigning to governing? Are there lessons from other fields on how to do it?

President Obama campaigned on the promise to be a post-partisan president and governed from the beginning as a hard partisan, so dramatic changes are certainly possible. After November, Republicans will be far stronger than they are now, but they clearly will not be a governing party. As a consequence, their leaders will necessarily have to compromise if they are to accomplish anything. Fortunately, those leaders have not run a scorched-earth campaign and will have the ability to meet the president somewhere in the middle if he is willing to do so. Many of the new members will arrive as hard partisans, a condition that will put even more pressure on both the administration and the leaders of the two parties to find accommodation on at least a few major issues.

By Slade Gorton

 |  October 25, 2010; 4:53 PM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals , Government leadership , Political leadership , Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: What politicians can learn from actors | Next: On compromise and campaign finance


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Former Senator Gordon must have been on another planet for the last two years. Obama wanted to work with Republicons but their whole program, admitted by Boehner and McConnell, was to oppose him and everything he proposed. No compromise, no discussions, just say NO. To try to imply that Republicons were some how open to compromise is a total falsehood.

Posted by: deminfl | October 29, 2010 9:02 AM
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No, no, Mr. Gorton, I'm sorry, you are entirely wrong. Obama did not govern from the beginning as a hard partisan. He tried from the beginning to get Republicans to work with him, but they refused to even talk, much less contribute anything but a NO to anything he proposed. Never once did they propose any alternatives to his proposals. The Republicans will not be a governing party after the elections because their ideology says that government is the problem, so as always, they will do everything in their power to make their ideology come true, by sabotaging the workings of government. Their leaders will not compromise, not in the least. They have shown not the slightest inclination to do so before, on the contrary, they have done everything they can to make Obama a failure, not caring one wit if the country fails also. The Republican party is a total failure, unpatriotic, uncaring, and unwilling to do what it takes to help the citizens of this country suceed, choosing instead to help only the wealthy elite and the corporations loot us blind.

Posted by: Chagasman | October 26, 2010 10:39 PM
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