Over the last several years, partisan bickering has hamstrung Washington. The extremes of both parties have turned “compromise” into a bad word, attacking any and all members who dare reach across party lines to engage in honest and thoughtful debate on the issues facing Americans today. Unfortunately we have a political system that reinforces this type of hyper-partisan rhetoric, rewarding members who do nothing but move to their respective ideological corners and throw bombs at the opposing party.
Our country faces great challenges in the years ahead. The debt. Rising health care costs and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. High unemployment. Energy independence. Tax and entitlement reform. These are neither Republican nor Democratic issues, and finding long-term solutions will require the type of meaningful reform that is only possible when Republicans and Democrats have the courage to come together in an honest debate of the issues.
In my experience, neither party has a monopoly on good ideas, and compromise does not even have to be exclusive to those who identify as moderates. There are plenty of members in Congress on both sides of the aisle who are committed to working across party lines to come to principled compromises on the important issues facing the country. The problem is that there are those in Washington and across the country who still consider compromise a bad word and who continue to promote the partisan status quo that has brought Washington to a stalemate.
This is why at Center Forward, we are an organization dedicated to taking a practical approach to addressing the partisan gridlock in Congress. We have a responsibility not only to hold our members of Congress accountable, but also to promote open and honest dialogue where it exists. Without public support for this type of levelheaded, sensible debate, we end up making no progress on issues that are important to Americans like you and me.
Center Forward is working to provide a forum for reasonable cross-party dialogue in Washington, and we are committed to putting considerable resources behind candidates who are willing to reach across the aisle in the best interest of the country. We invite you to join us by visiting our website at www.center-forward.org or following us on Facebook and Twitter. But most importantly, GET INVOLVED. There are simply not enough Americans out there who are willing to speak up and tell Congress to stop the fighting, set aside the partisan rhetoric, and get to work solving our problems in a real and meaningful way.
To be sure, this is no easy task. But we have always been and always will be a nation of problem solvers. Americans work together everyday to make difficult decisions. Our elected officials should be held to the same standard. Join us at Center Forward and together we will be sure to hold them to task.
Robert “Bud” Cramer
Former Member of Congress from Alabama and Chairman of Center Forward