Gazette Editorial Board
As the deadline for this editorial approached, the presidential election was close but leaning toward Barack Obama earning a second term over challenger Mitt Romney, including a repeat victory in Iowa. If that lead held up, we offer our congratulations, regardless of our recent endorsement of Romney. The president persevered through an often ugly campaign and weathered a powerful challenge from a strong opponent.
Obama had an extremely difficult economic situation to deal with when he took office nearly four years ago and he still faces many of the same challenges. There’s no mandate message from the congressional races for either Obama or Romney. The balance of power in Congress isn’t changing — late-night projections convincingly showed the Republicans maintaining control of the House, the Democrats still the majority in the Senate.
So after a long, contentious and expensive — more than $2 billion — campaign, the presidential winner immediately faces the same potential gridlock that has plagued Congress during Obama’s first term.
The so-called “fiscal cliff” cocktail of expiring tax cuts and sequestration spending cuts looms at the end of the year. The fight over Obamacare, the Farm Bill, and immigration policy, among others, are also unresolved. Then there’s that $16 trillion national debt and the challenge of firing up a still-weak economic recovery.
The situation will test the leadership and negotiating skills of the newly elected president as much or more than Obama was tested during these past four years.
The most extreme opposition in the Republican Party also must work more effectively with the president. The nation needs reasonable compromise and clear direction in the months ahead, not more blood sport.
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