- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 22, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

At a bipartisan dinner on Inauguration Eve, President Barack Obama delivered a magnanimous speech honoring Sen. John McCain, extending a warm embrace to the man with whom he had dueled in parry-and-thrust presidential debates. Letting bygones be bygones, as Sen. McCain had done in his generous concession speech on election night, Mr. Obama said the Arizona Senator is “an American hero” whom he much admires. Their fraternal attitude is a model for Republicans and Democrats who, despite inevitable and even desirable disagreements, might join forces in the months ahead in order to work towards the common good.

During their campaigns, both men addressed one of the major concerns plaguing our nation: the descent into bitter factionalism. Both understand that in order to overcome the many challenges ahead, it is high time to stop the nasty politics and instead make every effort to enact policies that Americans need. And when there is disagreement, it is unnecessary to impugn the opponent’s motives or character.

Some of Mr. Obama’s words Monday sounded as though he took a page right out of a McCain campaign speech: “Few of us can imagine what John endured during the days he spent in that lonely prison cell, but perhaps we can imagine that surviving such an ordeal provides a unique and renewed perspective about what is important and what is not; about what is worth fighting over and what is not.” He called for a continued effort to find common ground in the days and months ahead.

By selecting Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain as the nominees in the election, the American people have spoken, preferring as leaders those who seek harmony. Election 2008 finally ended on Monday evening when both men stood as one for the same goal: the betterment of America.

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