THE BLOG

New GOP Congress on Thin Ice

01/05/2011 05:04 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

You wouldn't know it, but for the last two years the Democrats have held historic majorities in both the House and Senate. Starting Wednesday the GOP gets their chance to strike back. For a party that extolled that the Obama Administration spent too much time on healthcare and not enough time on jobs, they have made it quite clear that their initial agenda is to repeal healthcare. Recently, Michigan's Fred Upton argued limited powers and some "funny math" in his attempt to explain how the new Congress would manage to override the president's veto power concerning repeal of the new health care law. Upton believes Democrats will join in repealing the corner stone of Obama's first two years. Good luck.

Among other things, temporary GOP ombudsman Representative Darrell Issa, has charged the current administration with being the most corrupt to date. Issa plans to have thorough investigations throughout his tenure as chair of the House oversight committee. It should be noted that as the head of the committee Issa has the exclusive power to review virtually every major issue that has crossed the Obama Administration in the last two years. Yet again, for a party that preached looking forward they sure have made it clear that they will spend much of the coming weeks looking back. Regardless, with majorities in the House and new power in the Senate much of the legislation that will surely pass the GOP Congress, right after portions of the Constitution are read aloud, will be little more than political posturing subject to the death blow of an Obama veto.

With great power comes great restraint and the new Congress must tread lightly. From historic wins in 1994 well through the end of the Clinton tenure in 2000, Republicans spurred repeated whisper campaigns and federal investigations to no avail. According to Gallup, Clinton's approval rating only went from below 40% at the peak of the Gingrich reign to well over 50% on his way out in 2000. There is nothing new under the sun and surely history repeats itself. Republicans should set a new trajectory. Most Americans are sure about one thing, they enjoy compromise over a party that is all about, no. Obama on the other hand is on the right course. A series of wins closing out 2010 have certainly put him on firm ground leading into next year's re-election according to GOP stalwart Charles Krauthammer.

One might argue however, that a little help from Democratic operatives would be helpful. Consider, senior economic advisor Austan Goolsbee arguing for an expansion of the debt ceiling this past week. Well, where was Tim Kaine or any other democratic leader to buttress his argument? Instead, what you had were Republicans swamping the airwaves with a show of strength and unity leading into the new year. Obama's re-election is not only prefaced on the well being of the economy but also insofar as his teammates are willing to meet him out on the battlefield. Having the strength of the presidency and a majority in the Senate is not meant for contentment.

Yes, the GOP should tread lightly but this president must lead his party with a firmer hand. With the state of the union address mere weeks away the GOP will rush to make a show of strength through symbolic votes. The GOP however, should not misconstrue the message voters sent last fall. Folks on main street want to see both parties work together. Republicans cannot simply stand idle and wait for the Democrats to meet them halfway, instead they must also be pragmatic and create an atmosphere of teamwork; they must compromise.