With Congressional approval ratings under 15 percent for the past several years, it's hard to find many positive signs when it comes to governing in Washington. And make no mistake, that under-15-percent rating is well-deserved. Hyper-partisanship has made compromise a four-letter word and most elected representatives in the House and Senate do not even consider working with a colleague from across the aisle for fear of being branded not a true Republican or Democrat.
So, when few talk, little gets done and that's what's happened in draining public confidence in the federal government. It creates a belief that re-election, courting donors, cozying up to lobbyists and helping themselves is more important than the people they represent. That belief, frankly, is reality in too many cases.
Despite the horribly low approval ratings, heavy gerrymandering by both Republicans and Democrats in drawing up Congressional districts, has made only a relative handful of races truly competitive during each two-year election cycle for the House of Representatives. That, however, is not the case when it comes to US Senate seats. Since senators are elected statewide, those races are almost always far more competitive.
Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson was first elected in 2004 and the Republican is running for a third term. He is opposed by Democrat Jim Barksdale and Libertarian Allen Buckley. We believe Isakson has established himself as one of the few voices of reason and clarity in Washington. People may disagree with his policy decisions, but his constituents can be confident his motives are not driven to please lobbyists and special interests. He is looking to do what he has concluded is best for Georgians and the nation.
Thusly, we believe Isakson has earned a third term in the Senate.
In the almost 12 years the Republican Isakson has represented the state in Washington, he has been one of the few politicians willing to work with Democratic senators on issues he sees as benefitting the nation. While Isakson is a staunch and loyal Republican, he will work with Democrats on some issues, even though he may not agree with Democrats on most issues.
No matter who is elected president Tuesday, the already deep partisan divide in Washington, our nation and our state is likely to be even worse. In a campaign that has seen more bitterness and outright hate than any in modern times, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will have to govern more than 60 million voters who not only voted against them, but many of whom will actively despise them. That is the sad state of our political system in 2016.
When Isakson visited with the editorial board of the Statesboro Herald in May, he said:
"I don't like all the crazy stuff that goes on, but the country is too important and the decisions we have to make are too critical not to participate. So, the gamesmanship goes on every day. That's going to happen one way or another, whoever's in charge. I want to make sure we get something done for the people of this state."
The senator has his eyes wide open when it comes to understanding the political quagmire in Washington. But instead of becoming a purely political animal concerned solely with preserving his piece of the pie, he will work to find common ground between Democrats and Republicans where he sees it makes sense. If re-elected, come January, Isakson may find even fewer like-minded colleagues to work with, which makes returning him to office even more important.
In increasingly unreasonable political times, the reason and good sense of Senator Isakson is needed more than ever.
The Statesboro Herald supports Johnny Isakson in his bid for a third term as United States Senator.