President Barack Obama's re-election may set the stage for progress - but only if he is willing to compromise and recognize the mistakes of his first term.
During his victory speech, Obama indicated he wants to work with his political opponents and does recognize the need to alter some of strategies. He spoke of "the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward." He told both his supporters and those who voted for Mitt Romney that, "whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you and you have made me a better president."
Let's hope so. Obama's policies have left the economy stuck much where it was when he took office. The unemployment rate is about the same. There are fewer people working than in January 2009.
We hope the lack of real progress is the foundation of an honest reassessment by the president. Freed from the political imperative of not admitting his initial economic strategy failed, Obama now can move forward. In conceding defeat, Romney said, "At a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work."
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, agreed. "If there is a mandate, it is a mandate for both parties to find common ground and take steps together to help our economy grow and create jobs," he said.
The next few weeks will reveal whether Obama's comments were a reflection of a real change in attitude or merely rhetoric meant to make those who voted against him feel better about the election outcome.
But the president himself said it best: "I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together: reducing our deficit, reforming our tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil."