Our long national nightmare is over. Of course, I mean about the midterm elections. We should all take a deep breath and ask if yesterday’s election results will herald real change in Washington.

The problem isn’t so much which politicians inhabit government as it is the manner in which they chose to govern. The process by which PPACA was constructed and passed is an excellent of example of all that is wrong with business as usual on The Hill. The process was replete with hyper-partisan back-room deals, secret meetings, unknown authors and shadowy influences. The substance is a whole other discussion.

Somewhere along the line, we traded leadership for the political equivalent of a handful of magic beans.

To have meaningful health insurance and meaningful health care reform (they aren’t the same) we need to find a different paradigm than the usual D.C. zero-sum game. In a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (10/30/10) former Mayor Adrian Fenty and Michelle Rhee, chancellor of the DC.. schools, may have unintentionally offered a construct on which everyone can agree.

Although they were dissecting their efforts at reforming one of the worst school systems in the country, they may have crystallized the problem writ large.

“Year after year, our schools have been run for the benefit of the adults in the system, not for the benefit of the kids,” they wrote.

Ronald Reagan set the bar in 1964 when he said, “We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness.”

The adults will always take care of themselves, but those adults should always ask, “Is it good for the kids?”

Check out more blog entries from David Saltzman.