As we move into the new year American politics moves into a new era with President Obama being forced to enter into an uneasy relationship with Republican Mitch McConnell.
Necessity may fuel the relationship between the Obama and McConnell but there is no denying that neither of the men share much in common which is sure to prove to be difficult over the next two years as the two aim to work together to prevent American politics from falling into a state of gridlock.
Currently Obama for the Democrats and McConnell for the Republicans, are both looking to find the perfect candidate to lead their parties race for the White House in 2016 but more pressing than this is the need for the politicians to work together on hugely varied issues covering everything from agreements on trade, to tax and economic issues.
According to Reuters, the path ahead will not be easy. Obama, 53, and McConnell, 72, are not close and have little in common. McConnell set a chilly tone to their relationship by declaring in 2010 that his top priority was to make sure Obama was a one-term president, a dream that was shattered when the Democrat won re-election.
Today Mitch McConnell will take over as Senate majority leader and the Republicans will welcome a bigger majority in the House of Representatives, giving them a powerful counterweight to Obama in his final two years in office.
“Both of them have to walk a tight rope,” said Andy Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center to Reuters.
Later this month President Obama is expected to lay out his broad agenda in the State of the Union speech but he will need the support of McConnell and the Republicans if any of his plans are to move forward which is going to prove to be difficult.
Reuters believes that President Obama will push Republicans to agree to overhaul the tax code in ways that will increase revenue, which they oppose, and try to persuade pro-labour Democrats to go along with trade legislation that they have long opposed.
“We’re going to disagree on some things, but there are going to be areas of agreement and we’ve got to be able to make that happen,” he said in a news conference last month.
While Obama has his own clear objectives, Mitch McConnell also has some very clear ideas about what he and the Republicans intend to achieve in the coming months including easing various regulations to help to boost the economy of the US while also pushing through the approval of the highly controversial XL Pipeline plan.
“I don’t want the American people to think that if they add a Republican president to a Republican Congress, that’s going to be a scary outcome. I want the American people to be comfortable with the fact the Republican House and Senate is a responsible, right-of-center governing majority,” McConnell told the Washington Post.