Here’s hoping optimism doesn’t become rhetoric

Posted Nov. 08, 2012, at 5:01 p.m.

In his concession speech, presidential candidate Mitt Romney urged an end to partisan bickering and pleaded with the Obama administration and the incoming Congress to “reach across the aisle” and work together.

In his victory speech, President Barack Obama promised to do just that, and assured us — with the long campaign now over — “whether I have earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you have made me a better president.”

He will, the president said, “return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.”

These are welcome thoughts and words after we Americans have endured four years of a do-little administration and what is being called the nastiest, costliest campaign in our country’s history.

Americans are weary of the jousting and partisan wordplay. We’re tired of repeatedly broken promises and wary of assurances that incoming elected officials are determined to put differences aside (since these sentiments of determination always seem so short-lived).

But, if we are to believe the flurry of statements released as Wednesday dawned, there’s reason to be optimistic.

In congratulating Angus King on his victory, Sen. Susan Collins released a statement that she looks “forward to working closely with him” and anticipates meeting soon to discuss, among other things, “how we can work together to meet the challenges facing our state and our nation.”

King, who campaigned on his proven ability to work well with others, noted that “our political process was founded on the notion that compromise is necessary — that seems to have been forgotten” in Washington, he said.

And, he promised that he is “ready to act as a bridge between the two parties so that, as your elected officials, we can begin to address our nation’s most pressing issues, starting with the national deficit.”

Here. Here.

In Maine, where Democrats have assumed control in the House and and Senate, Republican Gov. Paul LePage issued a statement of congratulations to the winners.

But, he went further.

“Now,” he said, “that the campaign is over, it is time to get to work for all Maine people.”

Yes, it is.

“Here in Maine, we must come together to find solutions to our fiscal challenges that will lead to the recovery of our economy and improve prosperity for hardworking families and businesses,” LePage said, pledging that he stands “ready to work with those who will put Mainers first and won’t allow the political rhetoric to continue.”

Good.

As many of the legislative candidates said during their respective campaigns, they are also ready to put partisanship aside and work together to reboot Maine’s struggling economy.

We hope they do.

These promising words are welcome thoughts following the Legislature’s last divisive session and are reason for hope and cheer.

When U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Summers met with the Sun Journal editorial board last month, he voiced strong optimism that after Nov. 6 “ideologies will break” and Congress will recognize the need to work together.

At the time, we admired — but could not share — his rose-colored confidence, especially since crippling partisanship drove Sen. Olympia Snowe from office.

Now, in light of comments made by President Obama, Gov. LePage and others, perhaps Summers’ optimism wasn’t off the mark.

Perhaps, and we hope this is true, Summers was right.

Sun Journal, Lewiston (Nov. 8)

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/11/08/opinion/heres-hoping-optimism-doesnt-become-rhetoric/ printed on November 23, 2014