02/13/13 — Now what? Bottom line seems to be: It is time for real compromise.

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Now what? Bottom line seems to be: It is time for real compromise.

It would seem hard to believe that it could be possible for there to be more of a divide between the two parties in Washington. But after Tuesday night's State of the Union speech, the indication seems to be that there is more battle ahead.

And while many of us are tired of all the bickering, the soundbites and the lack of progress on the key issues that Americans seem to want action on, there is a positive to this and any other debate over the direction of this nation.

Sometimes arguments are good. They illuminate weaknesses in policies and point to realities that politics that is like-minded would otherwise gloss over.

In other words, passionate support for one position over the other -- and the argument to the contrary -- can sometimes result in better policy.

But to make that happen, there is something that has to happen immediately -- a real determination to come to a middle that works for the country and gets the job done.

Truth is, both parties -- and the president himself -- are guilty of obstinance at times.

Demanding that someone agree totally with your position, or offering ridiculous concessions that are designed to accomplish the same end, is not compromise.

Action in Washington does not preclude debate. But it does require more than the appearance of compromise to work.

We will see if the president has the leadership skills necessary to overcome that barrier -- and is ready, really, to find solutions rather than more reasons to "stand firm."

If he does, the country will benefit.

Published in Editorials on February 13, 2013 11:01 AM