Cal Thomas: Cultivating civility

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, November 8th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

Cal Thomas now on cultivating civility in politics.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Members of both parties have lamented the loss of civility, especially in the Trump era. Well, now voters have given them new opportunities to do something about it.

Democrats have regained a lever of power in Washington, and that means forcing the parties to work together to at least keep the government open. Will Democrats “reach across the aisle,” as presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday night? Or will they pander to their base and overreach as Republicans did after winning the House in 1994?

Who they choose as leaders will tell us a lot. Congresswoman Maxine Waters is a Democrat from California and could become chair of the powerful Financial Services Committee. She’s repeatedly called for the president’s impeachment.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler is a Democrat from New York who would oversee such an effort. He’s poised to become the House Judiciary Committee chairman and boasted during the campaign of his qualifications to lead impeachment hearings.

Democrats would have won more seats if they had rallied around anything other than hatred of President Trump. They need to do that now for Congress to govern well.

The economy is booming. The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that “real gross domestic product increased 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2018, down slightly from the 4.2 percent increase in the second quarter.”

The nation needs the two parties to work together to keep that momentum going. And, yes, that means President Trump has a responsibility to tone down his rhetoric—as he suggested he might do in a recent interview.

Divided government is not new. The last time Democrats controlled the House and Republicans had the Senate and White House was 1981 to 1987. You might recognize that as the height of the Reagan years.

Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill despised each other’s political philosophy. But they hated gridlock even more, so they forged big compromises on issues like immigration.

Expect to hear a lot about gridlock in the coming days. The Reagan/O’Neill successes came before cable news and the 24-hour news cycle, so it’s very unlikely we’ll see it again.

But if it’s not repeated, just remember: It’s not because our leaders can’t work together. It’s because they won’t.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters on the day after the midterm elections, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. 

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