SOTU: A View From The Left

By: Paul Begala Democratic Strategist and CNN contributor (GP)
By: Paul Begala Democratic Strategist and CNN contributor (GP)

(CNN) -- The state of our Union is, in a word: healing.

We're coming back together, America. Of course, things are far from hunky-dory. Republicans are still waging a bloody civil war between the Cro-Magnons and the Neanderthals. And in Washington, some GOP politicians are treating the lawmaking process like the Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge: clogging it up out of pure political spite.

And yet, I think things are improving. I think we are coming together more than we have in the past few years.

Within the GOP, a divisive tea party obstructionist was defeated in a congressional primary in Alabama, while in Virginia, tea party extremists pushed enough moderate Republicans and independents over to the other side to deliver every single statewide office to Democrats, who ran on an agenda of moderation and bipartisanship.

More change came after the government shutdown in October blew up in the face of the Republican Party, with polls showing it got the blame. In response, GOP House Speaker John Boehner publicly rebuked conservative groups for pushing a failed strategy.

Weeks later, Congress passed a bipartisan budget, ending for now the chronic brinksmanship of recent years over government spending.

It's happening everywhere. Republicans and Democrats alike voted to raise the minimum wage in New Jersey, and legislatures in Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island and Minnesota have passed marriage equality.

Even Glenn Beck, one of the most divisive voices in the media, has toned it down. In an interview with his old network, Fox News, he said that while his time at that network was fun, "I made an awful lot of mistakes, and I wish I could go back and be more uniting in my language. I think I played a role, unfortunately, in helping tear the country apart, and it's not who we are."

I don't expect Glenn Beck to become a liberal, but if even he is willing to think more about trying to unite the country instead of dividing us, there is real hope -- and there is real healing.


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