Currie & Casper
Viewpoint: What Is The Best Way for the President to do Business with Congress over the Next Two Years?
by David Currie
The way the question is worded puts the emphasis on how President Obama is to relate to Congress over the next two years. It could have also been worded after the President’s re-election as “how should the Republican Congress relate to the President the next four years?”
I would have answered both questions the same, “try to work together for the common good” knowing full well that no one will get exactly what they want.
I am the chairman of the Tom Green County Democratic Party but to be honest with you, I mostly hate politics, especially the way it is practiced by so many today. I took this job to write and speak about what is important to me – values and ethics as they pertain to issues of importance to all of us – education, religious liberty, economic prosperity, concern for the poor and many others. I do not want to engage in character assassination in any form, nor attack any individual or party. I do disagree with what the Republican Party stands for as I understand it, but I hope I express my points with respect.
Again, two mentors guide my thoughts on this subject. My mother, Mary Jim Currie, who loved to say “you have to live in the real world,” and Foy Valentine, great social ethics Baptist leader how often said, “learn the difference in making noise and getting things done.”
As I view Washington and Austin, I see a great many people who love to make noise, but aren’t too concerned about getting things done. They make statements like Mitch McConnell did after President Obama was elected, “my main goal is to make sure he is a one term president.” I think he should have said, “I look forward to working with the president on the issues that face America” and then really worked at doing just that!!!
Republican leaders have said the President should recognize the results of the mid-term elections. I agree. Republicans should also recognize that the President was re-elected handily two years ago and remains the president of the United States. Therefore they should all seek to find common ground on issues if at all possible.
One of the things that frustrated me the last two years is many house Republicans kept demanding what they wanted and ignored the reality that the Democrats controlled the presidency and the Senate. They should have only expected to get one-third of what they wanted, not shut down government if they didn’t get their way totally. Speaker Boehner could have easily passed the Immigration bill passed by the Senate if he had only been willing to seek to compromise and bring the bill up for a vote (or so I believe). That would have been progress for everyone.
So, to finally focus on the issue that is the title of this article (I know you thought I’d never get there), what should President Obama do over the next two years. I think he should set down with both Republican and Democratic leaders on a regular basis and work to come up with legislation that addresses the major issues we face and get some bills passed. NO ONE should or will get what they want but it should be things that get us moving forward as a country. Live in the real world of get the best deal you can.
Now saying that, I hope you do realize how much things have improved under President Obama the last six years. Corporate profits are at their highest level since 1929 (so much for his socialist policies); we have added an average of over 200,000 jobs per month for over 3 years now; and I could go on and on but that is for another article. I will just mention my Baptist retirement account has tripled and I greatly appreciate that!
Now once leaders and the president agree, they need to PASS the legislation. It if is mostly republican votes and a few democratic votes, so be it. If it is something most democrats support and only a few republicans, then so be that as well. Just quit MAKING NOISE AND DOING NOTHING!!!
And if things continue to not get done, I hope the president will continue to issue executive orders where appropriate since it is his only alternative with a do nothing congress, just as President Reagan and President Bush did on many occasions. Sometimes you just have to live in the real world and get something done.
David R. Currie is the new Tom Green Democratic Chair. David is a native of Paint Rock in Concho County where family came in 1879, and continues to ranch there as well as in the Christoval area where he and his wife Loretta live. Married for over 30 years, they have a blended family of 5 children and 10 grandchildren.
He is a graduate of Howard Payne University and also has masters and doctors degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminiary in Fort Worth where he did his doctoral work on agricultural policy and the Bible and received his degree in Christian Ethics.
He is a former pastor, staff member of the Southern Baptist Christian Life Commission which focuses on ethical issues and religious liberty and retired Executive Director of Texas Baptist Committed. He was also sheep and goat specialist with the Texas Department of Agriculture in the 80's when Jim Hightower was Ag. Commissioner.
David is the author of two books, On the Way and Songs in the Desert as well as hundreds of articles that can be found at www.txbc.org.
He is currently the president of Cornerstone Builders and Angelo Granite Worx, and managing partner of Stonewall Ranches development company. He has served three terms as president of the San Angelo Home Builders Association, served on the Better Business Bureau board, as a board member of Howard Payne University, The Interfaith Alliance, The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and is current Vice-chair of the San Angelo Adult Literacy Council. He and Loretta are members of Southland Baptist Church.
by Ken Casper
Should Congress and the President compromise to pass legislation? Yes. Will they? No.
Compromise: a settlement of differences in which each side makes concessions. It’s the art of politics.
Compromise is a valid tactic regarding means but not ends. For example, we might agree that a person who is injured on the job should receive financial assistance until he or she can return to work. Determining how much compensation should be paid and for how long are legitimate subjects for compromise.
What areas could the President and Congress negotiate and possibly compromise on?
IMMIGRATION? It’s too late for compromise. Even though he stated publicly on numerous occasions that he didn’t have the legal authority to do so, President Obama bypassed Congress in violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers, to get what they wouldn’t give him—amnesty for five million illegal aliens—
OBAMACARE? He has already broken the law in granting waivers he has no right to grant to special interest groups, as well as in arbitrarily and unlawfully pushing back deadlines for his political advantage. As an indication of his intransigence, his Justice Department is suing the Little Sisters of the Poor because they won’t violate their consciences by financially contributing to abortions.
KEYSTONE PIPELINE? Our employment rate, especially among minorities, is the lowest it’s been in thirty years. More people are living on food stamps than ever before. Yet President Obama has made it clear he won’t approve this private-sector, job-creating, economy-boosting project under the ruse of environmental concerns, despite the five environmental studies that have verified it will have no significant environmental impact.
THE BUDGET? The track record on this issue isn’t good either. We haven’t had a budget in six years, ever since he took office. He had a Democrat majority in both chambers of Congress for his first two years and could have gotten a budget passed, but he didn’t. The Republican-controlled House has passed budgets every year since then, but the Democrat-controlled Senate has refused to deal with them. Chances are good the new Congress will pass a budget. We’ll see if the President signs it, or if he’ll shut down the government and blame the Republicans.
THE DEFICIT? Our national debt has more than doubled since Obama took office. It’s now up to $18-trillion, more than twice what all the administrations before him had accumulated. He blamed Bush for wasting money in the TARP bailout but then condoned round after round of Quantitative Easing which pours billions of printing-press dollars into the economy every day. No, I don’t imagine President Obama will be interested in reducing the deficit, anymore than he is in getting it under control.
The first step in reaching an agreement on any subject is to talk to the opposition. Discussion is then followed by negotiation, which, in turn, frequently results in compromise. Barak Obama, however, has shown very little inclination to discuss, much less negotiate, with his political opponents. I can’t think of a single issue on which he’s compromised with them.
But there’s a deeper problem: trust. Politics is a game of weave and dodge. Its skilled practitioners routinely exercise a healthy skepticism that the other side may not be telling the whole truth, but they have a right to expect that at least the selected facts the opposition presents are true. Unfortunately President Obama has shown himself to be unreliable in dealing with facts or people. His cynical disregard for the truth makes having an honest discussion with him difficult, negotiating with him nearly impossible, and compromising with him a fool’s errand.
Getting back to the original question: What is the best way for the President to do business with Congress over the next two years? Be honest and truthful. Don’t violate his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” But first and foremost, respect the will of the people and their elected representatives.
Shortly before his first election to the presidency in 2008, Candidate Obama stated unequivocally that he was about to fundamentally change America. He’s kept that promise. And while I totally disagree with his goals—after all, if you fundamentally change America, it isn’t America anymore—I have to grant him grudging admiration for his unbending determination to achieve his objectives. President Barak Hussein Obama has created a legacy for himself. The only question now is how history will see him. Will he be the man who destroyed America? Or the man who almost destroyed America?
Ken Casper was born and raised in New York City a long time ago. He graduated from Fordham University with a degree in Russian Studies and shortly thereafter went into the Air Force. He received Intelligence training at Goodfellow AFB, was assigned to Japan, Vietnam and Germany, after which he returned once more to Goodfellow. Here he met and married his wife, Mary. Three months later he was reassigned to Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, Nevada.
After another seven years of assignments as a civilian to Camp Pendleton in California and Luke AFB in Arizona, he, his wife and daughter came back to San Angelo, where he headed an Intelligence training branch at Goodfellow. He was subsequently placed in charge of procuring $200M of new technology for the Training Center's new computer-based training system.
He retired from the Air Force Reserve as a Colonel in 1993 and from the Civil Service at Goodfellow in 1997. In 1998 he published his first Harlequin Superromance, A Man Called Jesse. Twenty-four romances followed, including Upstairs at Miss Hattie's and six NASCAR novels. During those years he became good friends with Dr. Pres Darby. In 2011, shortly before Pres's death from ALS, they published a joint novel, Mankillers, a Civil War thriller. Since then, Ken has published three Jason Crow mysteries set in West Texas.
A staunch conservative, Ken was the second president of the San Angelo TEA Party, 2010-2011, and has remained active in local politics ever since.