Achieving the presidency has always been regarded as a a great victory, but this year, it is more of a booby prize.
Whether it is President Barack Obama or President Mitt Romney that occupies the Oval Office beginning January 20, 2013, our leader will have no mandate to govern, given a nation divided right down the middle, as will be demonstrated in the election results. Additionally, he will inherit a poor economy and responsibility for a world in turmoil in which our nation is hated by a large segment of the planet.
The returning or new president will be virtually certain to be dealing with a House or Senate which is controlled by the opposing party, or at least with a significant minority of opposing party members.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell famously stated on Oct. 23, 2010 that his number one priority was not to get the nation back on the right track, but to defeat President Obama. This declaration of war on the president was never rescinded.
If Mitt Romney becomes president, is it not reasonable to conclude that the Democrats will consider turnabout to be fair play and will refuse to cooperate with him? If Barack Obama remains president, is it not reasonable to believe that Senator McConnell will slightly alter his priority to be that the GOP will not cooperate in any legislative initiative that would enable Mr. Obama to take credit?
It would be nice to believe that those we place in office those that prioritize working for the good of the people, but we know from moments of candor such as that which Senator McConnell provided us that this is not the case. The primary goal for a polarized body of Congressional grand-standers is to achieve lifelong service and to make the opposing side look bad. The hyper-partisanship of Congress cause me to be pessimistic that it will do its job, to enter into a "grand bargain" that will alter the unsustainable course of trillion dollar plus deficits each year and borrowing 40 cents of every dollar the federal government spends.
Congress has long sported a richly-deserved abysmal approval rating, but we keep re-electing its members, naively believing that our guy (or gal) is fine, but that those from other districts and states are not.
As a realist, I must conclude that whether 2013 finds us with President Obama or President Romney, he will be a man to be pitied, and that the nation is in grave peril.