Judd Gregg is right about Bill Clinton and bipartisanship

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Wiser words were rarely spoken than in the call by former Sen. Judd Gregg, in a recent column in The Hill, for a return to governance and authentic bipartisanship along the lines proposed by former President Bill Clinton in his recent speech at the Democratic Convention. I hope everyone, on both sides of the aisle, will closely read and carefully consider the wise counsel of Sen. Gregg, who so ably represented New Hampshire in the upper chamber.

Gregg is a deep-rooted Republican and widely admired fiscal conservative who was respected by Democrats and Republicans when he served in the Senate. Gregg was "born at the creation" of both the Reagan and Clinton presidencies, and when he writes that both presidents overcame partisan and ideological divides to reach major agreements involving both parties, he is completely correct historically. I know; I was there, from the Democratic side, involved in reaching some of those agreements.

I recently proposed that President Obama designate President Clinton to lead his team negotiating with Republican leaders to reach a historic agreement to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff, move toward a balanced budget and enact a jobs program. I suggested this for two reasons:

First, I believe this move would restore public confidence and strengthen the campaigns of President Obama and Democrats. But equally important:

Second, giving President Clinton a leading role in economic and financial policy would restore something that has been lost in Washington: the ability to govern.

For two full years there has been all politics and no governing on matters that require the president and Congress to agree, and act. This has hurt the nation and appalled voters of all persuasions. My view is no secret: that the greatest responsibility for this gridlock falls with Republicans. Be that as it may, I fully agree with Gregg that President Clinton is right about the urgent need for official Washington to break out of this morass. And I agree with Gregg that Presidents Reagan and Clinton both transcended the gridlock of their times to serve the nation well.

I hope President Obama will heed my advice to bring President Clinton to the center of economic policy for a limited time to help break the economic gridlock. This would be good politics for the Democrats and the right thing for the nation. And I hope Democrats and Republicans will carefully consider the wise counsel of Sen. Gregg. Voters will reward any elected official, of either party, who puts America first.

Governing is out of favor in Washington today, but the nation is watching, the world is watching, and the stakes are enormous for the prosperity that is possible if politicians succeed, and the catastrophe that is inevitable if the status quo continues and they do not.


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