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Must-Read Op-Eds for Nov. 8, 2012

Updated

WHAT WOULD WILSON DO?

JANE HARMAN

POLITICO

[Woodrow] Wilson was the first president since John Adams to deliver his inaugural address in person to Congress, and his interaction with policymakers didn’t stop there. During the rest of his presidency, he frequently went to Capitol Hill to discuss important issues—and his face time paid off. The best way for any president to show that he respects the needs of lawmakers—a key step towards compromise—is to build personal relationships. Starting with the lame-duck session, it’s essential that Obama identify and court opinion leaders in Congress. This includes not only committee chairs, but also newer members in both parties who may be experts on a given subject. It’s retail politics: meals, plane trips, and golf games. Not stuff Obama enjoys. Wilson did it. They must, too.

CAN OBAMA GIVE US CONFIDENCE?

RON SUSKIND

NEW YORK TIMES

…The re-elected president must find some way to tell us how he, and the country, can rightfully feel optimistic. To manage it, Mr. Obama will have to evolve. How? Speak from the heart and then act. It’s dangerous for anyone, even someone who published his autobiography at 33, fashioning a personal narrative that helped propel him to the presidency, to be so fixated on the storyteller’s third-person view, which looks down from the ceiling. It slows one’s step and adds a level of calculation — of how things will play — that undermines improvisations, the lightning reactions, the twists and surprises of a more dynamic leadership. It’s the difference between writing about history and shaping it. Focusing on legacy, which is the endgame of the story, Mr. Obama has often missed what’s happening before his eyes.

CAN REPUBLICANS ADAPT?

NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

NEW YORK TIMES

…It wasn’t the Democrats who won so much as the Republicans who lost — at a most basic level, because of demography. A coalition of aging white men is a recipe for failure in a nation that increasingly looks like a rainbow. …These trends portend a potential disaster not just for the Republican Party but for the health of our political system. America needs a plausible center-right opposition party to hold Obama’s feet to the fire, not just a collection of Tea Party cranks. So liberals as well as conservatives should be rooting for the Republican Party to feel sufficiently shaken that it shifts to the center. One hopeful sign is that political parties usually care more about winning than about purism.

A VOTE FOR CONTENTION

GEORGE F. WILL

WASHINGTON POST

…The Republican Party, like today’s transfer-payment state, is endangered by tardiness in recognizing demography is destiny. … In 2012 — the year after the first year in which a majority of babies born in America were minorities — Hispanics were for the first time a double-digit (10 percent) portion of the turnout. Republicans have four years to figure out how to leaven their contracting base with millions more members of America’s largest and fastest-growing minority. … Republicans can take some solace from the popular vote. But unless they respond to accelerating demographic changes — and Obama, by pressing immigration reform, can give Republicans a reef on which they can wreck themselves — the 58th presidential election may be like the 57th, only more so.

ESTIMADOS REPUBLICANOS

EDITORIAL

WALL STREET JOURNAL

Had Mr. Romney matched Mr. Bush’s Hispanic percentage, he could have netted an additional million votes or more, or nearly half of Barack Obama’s popular margin on Tuesday. …That’s something broken-hearted GOP voters should ponder as they try to make sense of their defeat. There are plenty of reasons Mr. Romney came up short, and yes, Hispanics are not single-issue voters. But the antagonistic attitude that the GOP too often exhibits toward America’s fastest-growing demographic group on immigration policy goes far to explain Tuesday’s result. It’s also so unnecessary. Immigrants should be a natural GOP constituency. Newcomers to the U.S.—legal or illegal—tend to be aspiring people who believe in the dignity of work and self-sufficiency, and they are cultural conservatives. They are not the 47%.

Must-Read Op-Eds for Nov. 8, 2012

Updated