U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis on Tuesday issued a call for bipartisanship in an op-ed published in the Charlotte Observer. In it he said that his party — contrary to what many Republicans claim — did not receive a mandate in November to push through an ideologically-driven, far-right agenda with no support from Democrats.
“If the election was a mandate for anything,” Tillis wrote, “it was for elected officials in both parties to break through the gridlock to finally start producing results.”
Americans voiced deep frustration over Washington’s inability to pass constructive legislation and politicians who intentionally create chaos and widen the partisan divide. Donald Trump seized on the discontent, he said. Republicans should remember, however, that Trump wasn’t campaigning on a conservative manifesto, Tillis said. His message was simple: cut deals and deliver results.
“If Republicans now operate under the incorrect assumption that they have a broad mandate, they are doomed to repeat same mistakes made by Democrats over the last eight years. Democrats misinterpreted the mandate for change in 2008 as an ideological mandate to move the country sharply to the left. They rammed through policies like Obamacare and Dodd-Frank with little, if any, bipartisan support. Democrats paid the price at the ballot box, and Republicans will meet that same fate if they misinterpret the results from November.”
The vast majority of Americans want both parties to cast aside partisan differences, he said. Unfortunately the far-left has already vowed to stop Trump every step of the way, even though he hasn’t even been sworn, and the far-right already is demanding Republican members to go on record supporting their agenda or face primary challenges.
“Both the far-right and the far-left want to maintain the gridlock and dysfunction. Together, they represent the single greatest threat to producing progress for the American people,” Tillis said. “I, for one, have no intention of sitting down and watching another re-run of the same divisive partisanship we see year after year. I resolve to work with my colleagues to succeed in producing the good rather than failing to produce the perfect.”
We are happy to see Tillis continue to mold himself as a moderate and we applaud his promise to reach across the aisle. His leadership as speaker of the state House of Representatives was not always perceived as middle of the road. His efforts to reform the state’s tax code were criticized as mostly benefitting the wealthiest among us. Also, it is easy to call for bipartisanship when your party controls both houses of Congress and the presidency. We don’t remember calls for bipartisanship over the last two years.
But we will take Tillis at his word hope he can offer leadership to steer congress in a moderate direction. The proof will be in the details as he pursues stated priorities including reform of the immigration and criminal justice systems, an overhaul the VA, and modernizing the nation’s infrastructure.
We would add to the list support of replacing Obamacare prior to its full repeal with a program that doesn’t leave millions without health insurance and maintains Obamacare’s most popular aspects — ensuring people with pre-existing conditions have access to insurance, for instance.
If he goes there, he certainly will be well on his way to the center.
Read the article here.