If you want a change ...
Bill Clinton laid out a challenge, and now Newt Gingrich is meeting it. And that is probably the best news we've had from Washington since this whole budget mess started.
Clinton challenged the Republicans in his State of the Union Address to pass those parts of the budget that both parties agree on, rather than passing nothing until the whole budget is hammered out. Gingrich has agreed, creating the first possibility for compromise since the first government shutdown of the year in November.
This is a great start. It will no doubt be decried as a sellout by the more radical elements of the Republican party, but the rest of the nation will be happy to see federal employees back at work.
The question is whether this spirit of compromise will last. Democrats and Republicans have different spending priorities, and no complete budget package will go through until a middle ground can be found. With Clinton exercising his veto power, the Republicans, even united, haven't been able to pass anything Clinton didn't like.
Gingrich has been letting himself be held hostage by the infamous freshman Republicans, not trying to pass any proposal they didn't like. For his own self-preservation, this is a wise move, because if they come back next year, and he has made them unhappy, he surely won't be Speaker of the House again.
But for the sake of the nation, Gingrich and the moderate Republicans would be better off allying with the Democrats and passing a bill palatable to both himself and Clinton. If the more extreme Republicans refuse to compromise, then let them keep whining on the outer fringes.
Register to vote
If what's going on in Congress makes you angry, take the time now to register to vote. The Students' Association, the League of Women Voters and KPRC-TV (Channel 2) sponsored a voter registration drive Thursday. Did you register?
And, after you register, don't just cast a knee-jerk reaction vote for one party or another; that kind of reaction got us the congressmen of questionable intelligence that are responsible for the mess we're in.
Although most of the media attention will be focused on the presidential race, do a little homework and examine the stances of your U.S. senators and representatives. And now that the federal government is returning more responsibility to the states, take a look at candidates for state senator and representative. These people are spending your money and passing laws that will affect you.