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Hart: The Election's True Mandate

Velma Hart, CNBC Contributor
Monday, 8 Nov 2010 | 11:15 AM ET

So what did our congressional representatives really learn from last Tuesday’s election? Not much, I fear.

Many of them have already returned to negative and self-serving political theater, and the media, for the most part, is simply fanning the flames.

Tell me, does anyone know the meaning of the word compromise? Who stands to gain from this? No one. I hear everyone saying they are speaking on behalf of the American people but have yet to see any effort to have them speak for themselves, only pundits and legislators.

But if there is any message elected leaders need to take away from last week’s election it’s this: Stop wasting your time (and ours) attacking each other and get to work finding solutions to our country’s problems.

From my perspective, American voters are swinging from party to party because they are disgusted with the lack of performance and/or behavior on all sides. We, the American people, want results and we will hold our elected representatives to the same standards of efficiency and productivity that American businesses increasingly demand of their employees. In the end, the message I take away from last Tuesday’s election is…If you, our elected leaders, don’t perform, we will replace you.

Fuse | Getty Images

And as far as “mandates” are concerned, be careful on how you read the electorate.

From my perspective, Republicans don’t have any more of a mandate to implement the philosophies and policy positions of the extreme right than Democrats do of the extreme left.

For the most part, we are a centrist country and politicians from both sides of the political aisle need to recognize that and work together to find areas of compromise to move this country forward.

So for certain newly elected congressional leaders to even imply that they will seek a “full repeal” of recently enacted healthcare legislation that now protects millions of children and seniors in addition to protecting all Americans from abusive practices by the insurance industry is clearly over-reaching. Here, too, there is room for compromise and improvements, just as there must be compromise on a host of other issues.

"American voters are swinging from party to party because they are disgusted with the lack of performance and/or behavior on all sides. We, the American people, want results." -CNBC Contributor, Velma Hart

News reporters can help move this process forward by using their interview time to hold our elected leaders accountable, by continually asking them to produce details on their action plans, execution strategies and timetables to get the people’s work done. During the President’s press conference on Friday, he reported that clear and consistent growth in the economy is occurring. My hope is that we will soon see bipartisan teams of well meaning and focused congressional leaders who will put together ambitious and well thought out plans to continue to stimulate and strengthen our economy, resolve the ongoing problems of our country, address inequities in our tax laws, and start moving us forward.

Here’s a thought Congress: Don’t tell me or the electorate that you “don’t have time” to tackle tough problems, like immigration or climate change (yes it does exist), or that all we can expect from Congress is political “gridlock.”That is unacceptable and we won’t stand for it. The news media shouldn’t stand for it either.

We elect representatives to Congress to find solutions to our nation’s most challenging problems. If you can’t deliver results, the American people will continue to search for leaders who will.

In the chess game of life, we made our move last Tuesday, now it’s your turn.

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Velma Hart is a CNBC contributor

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