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Our View: A new spirit

Updated: January 7, 2013 1:45AM

President Obama is now a two-term president, pulling off a clean win on Election Day. With that said, we sure hope a new spirit of compromise comes to pass in Washington, D.C., though at this point we see no signs of it. We trust as well that Obama — a little wiser and more realistic since his hope-and-change days of 2008 — will be a more effective manager of the legislative process, less lecturing and more hands-on. May he’ll discover his inner LBJ.

Conservative pundits wasted no time Tuesday crediting Hurricane Sandy and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the president’s victory — all those great photo ops. But something deeper was at work; Americans bought into the president’s message — “We’re all in this together” — and those who have benefitted the most from living in this great land should also give the most.

Obama and the next Congress will govern a closely divided nation. Neither party will have the upper hand, and a sincere commitment to compromise will be essential. Republicans maintain control of the House, Democrats the Senate.

The irony of the last four years is that everybody, Republicans and Democrats alike, agreed a crisis was at hand — on the federal deficit, on the growing cost of health care beyond the fixes of Obamacare, on the costs of Medicare and Medicaid, for the nation’s broken immigration system, our fossil fuel-dependent energy policy, and outdated education and transportation policies.

Our nation is in desperate need of a grand bargain, one that combines increased tax revenues with bold spending cuts to gain control of the federal deficit and preserve Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, all without putting the economy into another tailspin.

And the hard work of bipartisanship cannot wait until Jan. 20, when Obama is sworn in for his second term. If nothing is done before then, the nation will drop off a “fiscal cliff” on Jan. 2. That’s when a drastic package of tax hikes and spending cuts kicks in, mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which could push the nation back into recession.

In a big country full of competing values, the spirit of compromise is the better part of wisdom.

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