Party People is a monthly forum in which members of the Young Republicans and Young Democrats at Lawrence High School address the same topic in point-counterpoint style, writing columns from their respective political viewpoints. This is the first installment. Subsequent installments in the series will run on the second Tuesday of each month during the school year. If you have ideas for topics that you'd like the columnists to address, please send e-mail to Mindie Paget at firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll pass your suggestions to the writers. Enjoy!
Republicans should compromise
The recent midterm elections have caused the Republicans to lose their critical majority in both the House and the Senate. Ideally, the Republican campaign in 2008 will benefit from this Democratic Congress.
Republicans should take comfort in the fact that the Democrats only have two years to prove themselves and the benefits of their agenda. The Republicans have little else to ride on, with their figurehead, the president, harboring a detrimental 35 percent approval rating, the lowest since the scandal-ridden Nixon administration. The Republican Party's most reliable recipe for victory in 2008 is a failure by the Democratic Congress.
The Republicans would be wise to discourage President Bush from exercising his right to veto measures passed by the Democratic Congress. A frequent veto would frustrate Congress and, more importantly, American voters. Americans voted on Nov. 7 for change, and the Republicans should work towards efficiency and compromise in the years to come.
Republican leaders such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) should provide strong centrist positions to counter leftist agendas. With corrupt Republicans out of office, the party can start anew and regain the trust of the American public. The next two years will undoubtedly determine the foreseeable future of the Republican party.
- Dan Bentley is president of the LHS Young Republicans.
Unity, hope to follow power shift
Last month, the American people voted Democrats into power, ushering in a substantial majority in the House and a critical one in the Senate. This election not only highlighted the success of the Democratic campaign efforts but also the lasting effects of the scandals that ensnared Congress in late 2005 and 2006.
The Republicans' support was crumbling, and moderate voters found themselves looking at a bleak Republican record. America was disenchanted with conservatism, failure and scandal. They chose to elect a moderate majority, which will solve problems, not pander to groups or point fingers. This election represented a tipping point for the American public that has resulted in a historic Democratic victory in Congress.
On Nov. 7, the American people voted for moderation. They embraced the popular Democratic agenda that called for change, exemplified by Nancy Boyda's long-shot victory and her slogan, "Vote for Change." The Democratic victory, the first in 12 years, should be used to prove that Democrats can govern efficiently, effectively and, most importantly, honestly.
However, the new House leadership must toe that line respectfully. Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) - who is set to chair one of the most powerful committees next year, the House Ways and Means Committee - do not always represent the moderates, who, in effect, threw the election to the Democrats.
The Democrats must prove themselves before 2008 through moderate political action in both the House and the Senate. Despite unfortunate realities such as gerrymandering, huge campaign funds, mudslinging and the incumbents' advantage, the election proved that democracy still functions. Americans are responding to messages of hope, which the Democrats should work to represent, encourage and strengthen in years to come.
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who represents the new wave of Democratic politicians, relates to this feeling when he explains that "there's not a liberal America and a conservative America - there's the United States of America." America should look forward to a new sense of unity and hope that will follow this election.
- Samuel Huneke and Julia Barnard are co-presidents of the LHS Young Democrats.