Democratic supermajority may require a bi-partisan president

It is easy for some to forget the other offices that will be elected after our next president is chosen. Congress is next on the ballot, which the Democrats currently control. It is looking increasingly likely that the Democrats will hold on to control and even extend their margins in the House and Senate, possibly controlling 60 percent of the Senate. This supermajority would be filibuster-proof and would require the president to work with Congress closely and negotiate difficult issues. The question of compatibility between the White House and Congress over the next four years looms: What does America want more? Does it want a man with bipartisan history or a man with a history of rubber stamping proposals from his own party? We cannot completely predict how each candidate will behave under pressure from a powerful Democratic Congress, but the records we have of behavior in the Senate should point us in the right direction. John McCain has substantive issues in his portfolio that he not only worked with Democrats, but that he co-authored with Democrats. These are issues that were not bipartisan across the board that created enormous criticism for him from his own party. Barack Obama has reached across the aisle a handful of times, but mainly for issues that were nonpartisan to begin with. The underlying cause of the Democratic Congress expanding its majority can be attributed to the failing economy. Before the crisis really took off, congressional races around the country looked competitive. The problem has reached so many Americans, however, that many feel they must use their vote to protect themselves. By a two to one ratio, voters blame Republicans for the economy more than Democrats, so it should be no surprise that McCain has taken a hit. This hit was especially true among senior voters, who have seen 401K numbers and retirement accounts crumble. Whether their inherent tendency to blame Republicans is actually justified is a different discussion. These numbers have hurt Republican senators around the country that should have had easy re-election campaigns. In North Carolina, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (wife of Sen. Bob Dole) is in a tight fight that seemed effortless months ago. In Minnesota, our own Sen. Norm Coleman has had to defend his seat with much more effort after a blistering negative attack war put him at a disadvantage. Coleman has announced he will no longer run negative ads in his campaign, and has even called on McCain to lay off on some negative campaigning in Minnesota. In Maine, a well-liked moderate Republican is also in a fight, as well as in Virginia. Senate Republicans appear to be an endangered species these days. Here in Minnesota, Al Franken, although well-spoken, is a dangerous candidate for the U.S. Senate. Without his name recognition and Hollywood money, Franken would have found it difficult to win the nomination. To give Franken access to the U.S. Senate to take votes on actual issues is far more risky than when he was at Saturday Night Live or behind a radio microphone. His record of public service is non-existent, as are his qualifications. Frankly, IâÄôd be more comfortable electing some University students to that seat instead of Franken. But Minnesota has a strange history of electing outsiders like Franken, so this recent turn of events isnâÄôt all that surprising. LetâÄôs just hope it doesnâÄôt translate into making Franken our next U.S. Senator the way âÄúchangeâÄù made Ventura one of our most counterproductive governors. Minnesota needs to clean up its reputation on a national stage because we have become the laughing stock of the country. McCainâÄôs record on bipartisanship is something many voters have considered and itâÄôs a main reason why we should elect him. Having a balancing figure in the White House is essential to creating solutions for every American, a feat that is not easily reached if the Democratic machine down the street at the Capital has complete control. Make no mistake about it, an Obama presidency will result in almost every Democratic proposal being passed if his political record is any indication of his governing philosophies. According to the Washington Times, which did a study on each candidateâÄôs tendencies to work with members of both parties, McCain is a clear leader in cooperation. In fact, cut the right way, McCain appears to have worked with more Democrats than Republicans during certain times. During the last two sessions of Congress, starting when Obama was elected, McCain has partnered with Democrats 55 percent of the time, compared to 13 percent for Obama. Additionally, McCainâÄôs actions were substantive and controversial as he took on issues like global warming and campaign finance reform. Obama, according to the study, focused more on non-controversial items such as issuing postage stamps in honor of Rosa Parks. McCainâÄôs ability and willingness to break with his own party is a value we need in the White House. Someone must be able to work with Congress while avoiding a rubber-stamp process. The checks and balances system works better with both of the United StatesâÄô major party philosophies at the table. Immigration, gun control, taxes and health care are all bread and butter issues that McCain has taken two-sided approaches on over the years. The fact that he had trouble securing the Republican Party nomination should also be a clue towards how he will govern as president. With a 12 percent approval rating recently, we need a president that will filter and compromise with the democratic Congress. Obama will have no initiative to sort out substantive issues in these pieces of legislation. McCain will enhance the cooperative atmosphere in Washington, just like he has since he was first elected. Andy Post welcomes comments at [email protected]