Last November was nothing short of a mandate from the people, a resounding call for a more conservative, level-headed government. Now, it is up to our newly elected officials to follow-through on those campaign promises, and really deliver. Looking ahead at the next two years, many may opt to rehash old battles or passively obstruct the progressive agenda; but what the voters really want are results. Show America once and for all that there is a better way. Republicans cannot rest on former laurels, and coast into 2012 thinking that the current administration’s failures will somehow make our candidates that much more attractive. This session needs to be one of action. It is our time to shine, and prove that we can do much more than block bad legislation, we can provide real solutions.
Americans across the country tuned in last month to hear Obama’s plan for tackling our nation’s many challenges. Our President’s roadmap toward recovery seemed murky at best, but I suppose that is a very different discussion all together. If nothing else, President Obama’s State of the Union address reinvigorated the discussion surrounding our nation’s aging infrastructure. Love him or hate him, the fact remains that a sound transportation infrastructure is essential to the revitalization of our economy. The upkeep of our roads affect much more than your daily commute to the office, it is vital to the existence of our manufacturing and export economy. Keep in mind that the vast majority of goods going to market are taken by means of surface transport (trucks), putting significant wear and tear on our roads.
I for one urge Congressional Republicans to closely examine this issue. We like the idea of job creation, and now we have the perfect opportunity to create large numbers of well-paying private sector jobs. Not only will these projects put people back to work during a time of need, they have the potential to decisively enhance our long-term global competitiveness. The simple fact that the US Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO have joined hands on this issue should be enough to warrant a second look. Let’s be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Talk of future gains aside, being open to negotiations will offer much needed leverage for restarting our stalled nuclear power program. The United States has not built a nuclear power facility since the Three Mile Island disaster; yet more than 20% of our electricity is still being derived from outdated reactors. If you need more convincing, China has already started construction on 27 new reactors, approved the construction of 50, and are now actively pursuing 110 more! Developments in nuclear technology are not only necessary for safety and economic reasons; it could also provide the perfect solution to bridge the gap between green tech and coal. If President Obama has his way, electric cars will rule the roads of our future, and it makes little sense to juice them up with coal power (which in effect negates all gains). After all, nuclear power is carbon neutral.
In short, I believe we can do a lot of good in the next two years. Yes, we have a majority in the House, but for the time being Democrats still control the Senate and the Executive Office. Republicans are left with the task of damage control. While Democrats may ultimately have the power to set the agenda, we have the manpower to craft solutions of our own, or at least improve upon theirs until it bears semblance to something the American people may accept. Let us make the most of what we have!