Today began the 112th United States Congress, with a newly-Republican majority in the House of Representatives and a narrower Democratic majority in the Senate. It’s no secret that I was largely unimpressed with the outgoing 111th Congress. I can recall no other Congress in my adult life that so blithely ignored the will of the people to pursue its own partisan ends and, as I expected, the people lent them a stinging rebuke last November.

I am cautiously optimistic that the new Congress, with each major party controlling just one house, will spend more time compromising with one another and listening to the voters, and less time trying to force through an unpopular, hyper-partisan agenda. Quite frankly, even a gridlock-mired and ineffective Congress (which is basically what the founders intended) would be a huge improvement over what we’ve experienced the last two years.

What are the main things I want to see from the 112th? I want transparency. I want major bills to be put-together in the public sphere, on C-SPAN, with time for public scrutiny before votes like President Barack Obama (D) promised in 2008. I want Congress to exercise its oversight authority over Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve, rather than silently permitting its destructive money printing. I want a balanced budget—not in a decade, but in the next budget. I want all of our Congressmen to uphold their oaths to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, which means no more unconstitutional federal intrusions into the private sector through bailouts, health care ‘reform,’ etc.

Sorry, have I asked too much?