Monday, August 27, 2012

AP – Obama Interview – Blasts Romney - Is Willing to “Compromise” in Second Term – A First – History in Illinois Assembly, U.S. Senate Suggest Not

Then Senator Obama (Illinios General Assembly) from 1997 - image from the Illinois General Assembly with bio here

From the APan interview with President Barack Obama prior to the RNC Convention this week – two paragraphs stand out (read the entire AP article here

The 25-minute interview, conducted in the library of the White House residence, was part of a multi-faceted campaign by Obama's team to snag some of the spotlight during Romney's big week. Obama denied the notion, widely if quietly held in political circles, that the fiercely competitive president is also driven to beat Romney because he does not hold him in high regard.
"I don't really know him well," Obama said. "The big arguments that I have with Gov. Romney have to do with where we take this country forward."


Obama also offered a glimpse of how he would govern in a second term of divided government, insisting rosily that the forces of the election would help break Washington's stalemate. He said he would be willing to make a range of compromises with Republicans, confident there are some who would rather make deals than remain part of "one of the least productive Congresses in American history."

In the first paragraph noted above, the fact that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are unlikely to know one another personally is a given – based on both mens previous occupations and opportunities available for their paths to cross. Barack Obama went from the halls of academia and Community Organizations to the Illinois State Legislature, and a short stint as an Illinois U.S. Senator, before becoming President. Romney went from Harvard, to business, to the Olympics, to the Massachusetts Governors Office to a run for the Presidency. Their upbringings did, however, bring both men to various parts of the world – The President’s early childhood spent in Indonesia, while as a teenager Romney was in France as a missionary. The experiences, perhaps shaping them somewhat - Indonesia, a third-world country, assuming from the President’s Book “Dreams of My Father”, that life in Indonesia was less than wonderful, while Romney, from article accounts (the few there are), suggest he became, from necessity, frugal while on mission in Europe (which may explain his divesting himself of an inheritance and living in a Boston basement apartment out of choice.) At no time would either have an opportunity to get together for say – a round of golf? Therefore, when one is making assessments about what someone may or may not do – one should have at least something solid to stand on – a record perhaps, rather than conjecture based on association. If that were the case, then one might not be able to take exception when detractors challenge past associations as probable cause for Obama’s present actions.

In the second paragraph noted, the President speaks to compromising with the “Republicans”. However, one has to look hard and long to find where the President has ever compromised his firmly held convictions. In fact, searching the Illinois General Assembly Archives, yield nothing more than partisanship – from the beginning – The archives, located at are searchable from sessions beginning in 1971, both the legislature (assembly) and the state senate. As to articles found, one in particular stands out as regard to the Senator from Illinois, a In Congress A Vanishing Center – the date: November 14th, 2004. In this article which describes the defeat of Tom Daschle and his replacement, Harry Reid, there is mention of the Senator from Illinois: “What's more, the Democrats' biggest new star, Barack Obama of Illinois, has unabashedly advocated a left-of-center platform. Obama, who will be the sole African American member of the Senate, electrified the Democratic Convention last summer with his keynote address, and party leaders hope he will become a high-profile critic of conservative excess. With his election all but assured, Obama campaigned for other Democratic candidates, so he arrives in Washington with plenty of chits and a rock-star rep.”. The article paints a picture of a Right and Left view of the nation, without compromise – has anything changed?

Not exactly, or by much, but historically, looking at both individuals, as Governor, Mitt Romney did walk across the aisle (a search of reveals 302 instances), and that got him barbs from hard-line Massachusetts Conservatives (yes there is such an animal), but also saw the unemployment rate drop, household income rise, all with a Republican Governor and a Democrat Legislature. It is the individual who knows corporate diplomacy (yes, there is such an animal) that will be able to transition that role to government – as proven by Mitt Romney. Then there is the left of center individual, who is grounded in partisanship that runs so deep, with votes cast along strictly party lines, for decades, that has a lack of diplomatic skills and is patently unable to compromise their “principals” in order to move legislation or the nation forward.

Is either man seeking the office perfect? Hardly, for perfection would be impossible, with few exceptions (See the Delhi Lama, or the Pope for perfection in negotiations between state and religions – they are both, heads of Church and Heads of State) historically. Therefore, as one can anticipate this election will be about division (see the media constant negatives on Romney and Ryan as the polls turn), more than anything else, and the nation has the task of choosing a Leader that will be willing to compromise from the get-go, and one who will, if unwilling to compromise, be able to negotiate with the other side, and bring them around to seeing a point of view. One has to ask themselves, which one of the two would be more probable to meet the criteria of compromise to move this nation forward.

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