Congress is back in session after an historic mid-term election in which Republicans won in such huge numbers they wrested control of the House from Democrats and nearly took charge of the Senate.
Yet, lawmakers have returned to the Capitol with plans to pursue their legislative (and political) agendas as if the election never occurred.
Lisa Mascaro of the Tribune News Service reported this week that the Republicans and Democrats are bracing for a standoff on core issues as lawmakers attempt to finish up their business -- no, make that our business -- for the year.
Republicans won't take control of the House until January, which means Democrats still have all the power as big issues such as the extension of the Bush tax cuts are debated and decided.
But it makes little sense for Democrats to use their power to push through legislation that will draw scorn from Republicans and, perhaps, retribution when the GOP grows in power after the first of the year.
The issues that must be decided are important ones for the nation. The economy remains fragile and the country is fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The members of Congress, whether they are staying or on their way out, need to put aside their personal and partisan agendas and do what's best for the country.
They need to act like statesmen, not politicians.
The fact is Republicans will have much more power for the next two years and Democrats need to treat them accordingly starting now.
This is an opportunity for Democrats, including President Obama, to work out compromises with Republicans that will hold up when the new Congress takes over and -- more importantly -- serve the nation well.
Lawmakers should have learned a lesson from the November election. The nation has grown tired of politics as usual and took it out on the majority party at the time.
Congress needs to focus on what's best for the United States, not just blindly following the agendas of the two political parties.
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