In their official response speech, Republicans made a few similar gestures that there might be room for compromise between the two parties.
Those were welcome signs that maybe the political gridlock that has stalled Washington for years now is finally starting to move again.
The president went so far as to make bipartisan cooperation a running theme of the speech, opening the door for Republicans to come up with better solutions than what are currently on the table for things like healthcare.
An unusually large number of his proposals outlined Wednesday drew applause and approval from both sides of the aisle. That’s largely because much of what the president was talking about, much of what he wants the government to accomplish — creating of more jobs, tax breaks for small business owners, cutting federal spending and pushing ahead with the war on terrorism — is good for the country, regardless of what your political leanings are.
The voices of the extremes, from both the right and the left, were quick to attack the president’s speech. But this is not a nation of extremes, despite the vocal opinions of a very small number of politicians and commentators. Those people, have for too long been driving a wedge between the American people and between our elected leaders, a division that has made it all but impossible for the federal government to function effectively.
But it’s time for the nation to put those divisions behind us and begin finding compromise solutions to the very real problems, like unemployment, Social Security and healthcare, that affect every American.
We send politicians to Washington because we expect them to put aside their differences, negotiate, work together and come up with solutions, not to sit there and find a way to jockey more seats for their party or to try to get re-elected at any cost.
Nobody expects Republicans and Democrats to agree on everything — in fact, we count on their difference to bring balance to government — but we do expect them to treat each other with respect and to get the job done at the end of the day.
Obama was right when he said that every single person in the room Wednesday night loves this country and wants to do the right thing for it. That’s a sentiment which will trump party politics every time.