Inauguration a chance to restart

This week’s inauguration of President Barack Obama for his second term offers the President and Congress a chance to “restart” the governing process.

Over the past two years the political process was dominated by presidential politics, with the Republican-controlled House hesitant to give the president any “victories.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell went so far to say that his top priority was to make Obama a one-term president.

Despite wide dissatisfaction with the political process in Washington, voters basically returned the status quo to office, giving Obama a second term and keeping the Republicans in charge of the House and the Democrats a majority in the Senate.

So will the next two years be any different?

Leaders in Congress have no doubt seen the polls that shows Congressional approval at or near an all-time low. Rightfully or wrongly, they have been seen as the party of obstruction in the political process. This week’s decision to extend the debt limit for three months without any political rancor can be seen as a willingness to work with the President, something that hadn’t been evident during the last Congress.

That doesn’t mean the President should have carte blanche in his policies. Conservatives gained a majority in Congress because of a genuine concern about the nation’s spending. Here’s hoping the two sides learn to work together and find common ground, rather than spend the next two years replaying the same games we’ve become accustomed to.