General Question

ETpro's avatar

How should the US fix partisan gridlock?

Asked by ETpro (34581points) May 4th, 2012

‘Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.’ Thomas E. Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Norman J. Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute penned this opinion piece in the April 27th Washington Post.

It’s a scathing review of the extremism that has subsumed the Republican Party since notables such as Newt Gingrich and Lee Atwater first steered the GOP toward the far right. If you haven’t already read it, please do so before answering.

Mann and Ornstein make the point that the US today faces problems of almost overwhelming magnitude, yet partisan gridlock has us unable to act on even the least controversial of legislative proposals. Facing a GOP that’s increasingly rigidly and ideologically driven, what do we do? Do we just turn the keys over to them and let them drive the economy straight off the cliff as they came so near to doing in 2007? This year’s GOP Presidential Platform is shaping up to be George W. Bush on steroids. Do we vote them all out and risk the horrors of long-term, single-party rule? Can we invent a new and viable third party or parties? Can we return the GOP to it’s former sane, center-right self? Or do we just leave things as they are and let the debt finally bankrupt the nation?

Those seem to be the options from my perspective. Perhaps you have a better idea. How should we fix partisan gridlock in Washington, DC?

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37 Answers

tedd's avatar

If you want to fix the gridlock, (which despite how horrible it seems now, it has been this bad for pretty much the entirety of our nations existence), you need to introduce 1–3 more major/legitimate political parties.

marinelife's avatar

We need to elect people who express willingness to compromise and work with the other side, but my fear is that the electorate does not have the will to do that. We want to elect people who espouse what we want to hear.

dabbler's avatar

Campaign Finance reform…. The dopes in office now are as extremist as they are due to their obligations to campaign benefactors. Those obligations continue once they’re in office because they need to keep findraising for the next election continuously.

People who can get elected just on their good thinking, instead of ass-kissing, are far more likely to be willing to work out reasonable solutions.

Jaxk's avatar

Maybe if we stop the ‘Blame Game’, we’d be able to actually discuss the issues. The Democrats took over congress in January 2007. They had complete and unrestricted control over congress and the the Whitehouse from 2009 to 2011. During the entire period the economy has tanked and isn’t recoving. The Senate is still under the control of Democrats and won’t even allow a vote on anything. During the Democratic reign in congress, we have annased $5.6 Trillion in new debt. Maybe, just maybe, they have something to do with our economic woes. I’m just spitballing here.

LostInParadise's avatar

@Jaxk , One picture is worth a 1000 words. Scroll down to the chart of GDP per capita and median household income. GDP per capita reflects total production. It has been growing steadily. Median household income reflects what the average person is seeing. That chart shows decline under Bush I, growth under Clinton and decline again under Bush II. Two years was not enough time to undo the mess that Bush got us into. Notice that it took about 2 years under Clinton to be able to reverse the mess of Bush I. After two years, the Tea Party has created a gridlock.

At some point, the realization is going to sink in that Keynes was right. This problem has a proven solution. In a consumer driven economy, the way out of recession or depression is government spending. What got us out of the Great Depression was the military spending on WW II. The time to borrow is when the economy is not doing well and interest rates are near zero. Clinton balanced the budget. Bush ran up the deficit.

I will be watching with interest the results of the French presidential election. If Hollande wins and follows through on his stated economic agenda, it will be very beneficial to France. It just takes one nation to set an example. So far the European austerity measures have been exactly the wrong thing to do.

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk I find incredible irony in you starting your comment by saying (and I quote) Maybe if we stop the ‘Blame Game’, we’d be able to actually discuss the issues.…. and then you used the rest of your post to accuse/blame the Democrats of causing the problems.

I won’t bother debating your idiotic “points” about the Democrats… I just wanted to point out your hypocrisy.

The_Idler's avatar

Well I think the chronic inability of the political system to effectively address the horrendous inequality, economic & financial perversion, and general deprivation of large sections of the population may make popular revolution a serious concern for the Government within a few decades.

Obviously, a revolution is extremely unlikely considering the extent and power of your police state, along with the practically limitless financial, legal and media resources of the Establishment. For that reason, a trend towards corporate fascism seems likely.

For that to mean stability, increased standards of living, and social compliance, you need something for people to unite behind. It used to be easy to convince people that your Government was in communication with God, or inspire cultural (or racial) pride in people simply by dominating foreigners or fabricating mythical histories.

In the USA now it is a bit harder though, because the only thing that generally unites the population is faith in money, and with the complex fundamental shifts in the global economy over the past 60 years (and inevitably in the future), it’s basically impossible for any government to boast an ‘understanding’, ‘control’ or ‘guarantee’ of global economics.

When everyone ‘knew’ the world was flat, nobody could question the Church’s suitability for governance.
When everyone ‘knew’ British technology and ‘white’ intelligence were invincible, nobody could question their ability to resolve crises.
When everyone ‘knew’ the “American way” led inevitably to freedom, prosperity and stability, nobody could question the efficacy of their political & economic systems.

Always, as soon as the Establishment’s aura of infallibility evaporates, the massive amounts of power they had gradually accumulated suddenly seem somewhat less justifiable than previously.

Jaxk's avatar


I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that I disagree with your analysis. After WWII the thing that saved us from a post war depression was the rebuilding of the world. Most of the world had been destroyed but we emerged relatively unscathed. Our industrial power provided fully half of the worlds gross product during the fifties. That’s what kept us from falling right back into depression.

The problem with keynesian economics is that is doesn’t last. The stimulative effects only last as long as you keep spending more and more money. Once you try to slow the spending increases you fall right back where you were. Unfortunately we are falling into a position that the debt is spiraling out of control. There’s no more room at the top to continue this experiment. I’d be interested to hear, from any of the liberals, when the debt would get high enough for them to be concerned. As we print more and more money, the money gets cheaper and the effective median income goes down. Increasing our spending won’t drive the median incomes up.

Jaxk's avatar


Nothing hypocritical about what I said. The question (and indeed most of the conversation in Washington) starts with the premise that Republicans are responsible for all evil in the world today. I merely point out that Democrats have had plenty of input and power without any noticeable results. If you start every conversation by placing blame, you’re unlikely to get much cooperation. Things like locking the doors to keep Republicans out of the conversation or even knowledge of what’s being discussed, isn’t the way to encourage bipartisan support. IMHO.

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk So your plan is to point out the true-enough point that we get no-where by playing the blame game…. and then go on to blame the democrats…. to counter them blaming the Republicans… despite the fact no one in the thread has done that prior to you posting, nor talked about who is blaming who in the government.

Seems legit.

Jaxk's avatar


More or less, yes. Although the question quite clearly blames the Republicans, ’‘Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.’’ That is what I was responding to.

wundayatta's avatar

I trust the process. I think the people are getting what they want. What they want, I believe, is to prevent both parties from doing anything that would lead to much change. The people want government to change things as little as possible.

I don’t think most people really know if either side has a good answer. I think they distrust all politicians and so they don’t want any side to be able to do much of anything. Elect a president and let them tinker. Sometimes they make a mistake and let one party have power, but they fix that in two years.

Now, I’m a Democrat, or even further left, but I’m not sure that I want the gridlock stopped. If we stop the gridlock, that would mean that at some point, the Republicans will probably have power, and we know if that happens. they will do enormous damage. So it may be a more sane position to say let’s focus on stopping the Republicans than on trying to actually help anyone.

In the end, it’s about the economy, and the presidential election depends on whether people perceive the party in power to help or do nothing or make things worse. We all know what we think about that. We can argue as much as we like. But this is a matter of perception and glasses half full or half empty, and our perceptions are going to be determined by our politics for those of us with politics. For those without politics, perhaps it will be determined by who has the most ads. Or whose ads are the most persuasive, no matter what tactics they use.

So I’m not sure fixing partisan gridlock is a good idea. It was disastrous under Bush II. Even if it went in favor of my guys, I’m not sure if that would be good over the long term. There are larger issues in play; cycles that are far out of the realm of the political cycle that influence what people want. There are ideologies that move people despite the fact there is no good evidence to support the ideology. People do things over and over even though they don’t get a good result.

It’s human nature, I guess. Hard to mess with. History has huge power. We should move carefully, but perhaps we should not even try to move at all. We will move, whether or not we try to move. Perhaps we should just worry about tinkering with these movements and trying to refine them, instead of trying to make huge changes in the course of a supertanker that has lost its rudder.

Zaku's avatar

Fundamentally, I think it’s an error to have two dominant political parties. It perverts the democratic process from being about actual government decisions in several ways:

1) It has people thinking in terms of two choices only.
2) It has people thinking in terms of “us versus them”.
3) It collapses ideas and candidates together, making it nearly impossible to distinguish individual issues or people on their own merits.
4) It has people avoid voting for non-partisan choices, both in elections and in votes within congress.
etc etc etc…

I think the parties should eventually be abolished, and ideally, our concepts of left, right, liberal and conservative, should be dismantled and if reconstructed, should be done in more intelligent and less partisan ways.

I also think the voting system doesn’t work and should be replaced by something that removes the artificial bias of having to vote for only one candidate. Instant-runoff voting (IRV), also known as the alternative vote (AV) or transferable voting would, I think, go a long way to allowing non-partisan candidates and ideas to get fairer representation.

I also think more intelligent and responsible journalism and entertainment media would help. So would more public awareness of science and psychology, self-awareness, and less tolerance for sociopathy and molestation.

As for the question of the majority of current Republicans, which of course requires me to answer from within the two-party system I just said we should abolish… I think that their extremism is a great example of why two-party-dominated politics is a problem, and I think in the short-term it would fine if all such extremists were voted out. I don’t think their behavior, ignorance, and threats to the environment and civil rights are helpful in any way, except as examples of what should not be tolerated.

CWOTUS's avatar

Oh, please. “Problems of overwhelming magnitude”? That’s hyperbolic even for you.

We have some problems, yes. Most problems that can be resolved with “more money” are not really so overwhelming.

We’re better off with a polarized and relatively inactive government. When the parties agree, and when Congress and the President agree, then we get… well, let’s see… anyone want to start another war in Iraq?

We’re much better off with the bicameral Congress fighting itself and the Congress fighting the President. We should find a way to maintain that as the status quo. The “mainstream” of modern American politics is selling us down the river.

Jaxk's avatar

The truth is, most of our government is on auto-pilot. Whether congress acts or doesn’t act is of very little consequence. The spending is categorized as discretionary and non-discretionary. That merely means congress approves the spending or it is spent without any involvement of congress. Non-discretionary is the bulk of the spending, congress need not be involved. Even the discretionary spending is on auto-pilot. Instead of approving the spending congress has been passing an ‘ongoing resolution’. That means that the discretionary spending continues at current levels (with a cost of living adjustment).

Most of the laws are not passed in congress. We are generating 1,000 pages of new law (regulations) every day while congress is gridlocked. these regulations or laws are passed by the regulatory agencies without any input or control from congress. They are unelected bureaucrats with no oversight or accountability. And if that wasn’t enough, the president issues his ‘executive orders’ which also carry the weight of law. Who the hell needs congress. They have been relegated to academic role conducting hearings or spouting political ads with little or no impact on the functioning of government or the economy. “This is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.” (Oliver Hardy)

ETpro's avatar

@tedd I would like to challenge you to present evidence that partisan gridlock has been just like this all along. I am old enough to know you can’t, because that is so far from true no amount of spin will even come close to making it appear accurate.

Any thoughts on how we introduce more viable political parties?

@marinelife Mann and Ornstein were calling on the real Media, not the propaganda mills, to start reporting the truth to the American people instead of just quoting partisan talking points in an effort to appear unbiased. I think that would be a good start. If the media still believes that they can convince the far right they are unbiased, then we need to replace the reporters because they are clearly unable to understand what they see going on right before their eyes.

@dabbler The five Con Man majority on the SCOTUS (Supreme Corporatist of the United States) has made that an impossibility.

@Jaxk You are such a master of hypocrisy. You want to “stop the blame game” then go on to blame the current administration for this totally false claim that ” the economy has tanked and isn’t recovering”. We’ve produced 4.2 million new jobs over the past 3 years, even though public sector employment has significantly decreased. If we hadn’t shrunk government so much over the last three years, the recovery would now be quite robust. In his entire 8 years, George W. Bush produced just over 2.7 million jobs in his first term, but lost 4.5 million in his second. And much of his “job growth was in the public sector Republicans lie about always shrinking. Bush II is the only president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a net job loss.. And Romney wants to go back to the Bush era economic policies on steroids.

You want this? Why? Are you planning on buying up more foreclosed property at fire sale prices? Or perhaps you work for Goldman Sachs and will get another huge bonus for crashing the economy again and leaving us peons to cover your “losses” and bonus check for the effort. There must be some rational reason you doggedly keep supporting what are most obviously failed ideas.

@LostInParadise Excellent answer. In Europe, Spain, Ireland and The UK have all already followed the Romney formula for recovery. All three are now back in full-blow recession, just as the USA hit in 2007. How many times must we run this same experiment before we admit that the results are what they are? Keynes was right. The Chicago school and Milton Friedman are something-for-nothing dreamers whose ideology has been thoroughly debunked.

@tedd I had to do the same. I just couldn’t help myself. :-)

@The_Idler Well said. Although I wouldn’t put all that much confidence in the ultimate power of the emerging corporatist/fascist police state in America. We are a nation of armed citizens. Even in dictatorships where the secret police are everywhere and most of the population is unarmed, popular uprisings with enough passion have proved impossible to stop. Recently, the Arab Spring has reshaped the political landscape in the Middle East, toppling extremely authoritarian regimes. The corporatist trying to turn America into their own banana republic should not think they are immune to such an uprising. There are lots of countries around the world that would contribute to a no fly zone to stop the American hegemony. This article from an elite group of officers at the National Defense University projects that unless we drastically alter our present course, by 2021 the US will no longer be able to project power around the globe and we will slide into a potentially irreversible economic decline.

Nullo's avatar

Republicans may be the problem, but the Democrats are, no matter how highly they regard themselves, not the solution.

I cannot help but think that maybe the gridlock isn’t all that bad. It keeps them from legislating as well, and we already have lots of laws.

Jaxk's avatar


No hypocrisy here just stating the obvious. We both know that you (the collective you) can find a statistic to prove any point you want. State level public sector employment has decreased (the part Obama doesn’t control) while federal public sector employment has increased (the part Obama does control).

Whether you want to admit it or not we have a problem. The job participation rate is the lowest it’s been since Carter. That means that fewer people are working. The number of people working has flattened and we’ve seen virtually no growth in the labor force for three years. I suppose you can tout the job creation numbers but if there are jobs being created, no one is getting them. I don’t blame Obama for touting the unemployment number going down but unfortunately that doesn’t reflect the reality. It’s not his fault since they have been measured this way historically but with more people dropping out of the labor force than there are people getting jobs, it doesn’t reflect the reality either.

I’m not here to defend Bush. If you think making him look bad will somehow make your guy look better, go ahead. The truth is, the labor force grew each year of his presidency and now it’s flat. It needs to turn back up. I think most of America knows that even if they don’t know exactly how to do it. What we’re doing now isn’t working.

Linda_Owl's avatar

First of all, we should not elect a Republican as our President. The President we have is definitely not perfect, but electing a Republican as President would be a disaster for the American people. There are no magic solutions for solving the gridlock problem in Congress short of limiting each representative & each senator to one or two terms (& like the limitations on the Presidency, these representatives or senators could run again after they were out of office for one or two terms). But keeping on re-electing these people to Congress is an open invitation for corruption. The same goes for the Governors of each state, strict term limits. Also, it should be illegal for representatives & senators to immediately go to work for Lobby organizations. They should have to wait at least one full term before they could go to work for any Lobby organization. I seriously doubt that any of this will happen because Congress is not going to voluntarily restrict itself to only one or two terms. The lifetime appointment of the Supreme Court Judges is also a sore point. They should also be limited to some sort of term limit (especially in view of some of their most recent controversial decisions). Last but not least, the power of the military should be reduced. The US does not have the money to police the entire world & we do not have the right to do so, either. We maintain both the largest budget for the military in the entire world & we have the most people in prison in the entire world (due in large part to the fact that the lines between the military & Law Enforcement are becoming blurred). We need to take care of the needs of the American people before we get involved in any more wars.

josie's avatar

Arrest or execute Republicans. Hitler did it. Stalin did it. Mao did it.
Why not keep up the tradition?

wundayatta's avatar

Damn! What a good idea! All we need to do is move to Germany, Russia, or China, and set the clock back a few decades. Good thinking, @josie.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo I agree Democrats are not, alone, the solution. In the OP one of the alternatives I mentioned was “Do we vote them all out and risk the horrors of long-term, single-party rule?” Since the “Them” in that sentence is Republicans, clearly the single party left would be the Democratic Party. We have one party rule under Democrats here in Massachusetts, and it leads to corruption. It doesn’t matter which party you put in charge, if they know they are set for life, human nature leads the weaker among them to abuse their power.

If you want America to transition into a third-world nation with all the plagues and violence that entails, then gridlock will get us there. If you want an America where we know that our kids will inherit a worse life than the one we enjoyed, and their kids an even more horrible one—then stay the course; because that’s where we are heading. Our national debt is now just short of 100% of our GDP, and we are adding about $1.6 trillion a year to that figure. With gridlock, there is no hope we will do anything to change that. We will soon hit a debt level that will lead to credit downgrades, which will lead to far higher interest on the debt we are servicing, which will add even more debt. When that happens, we will find it difficult to impossible to borrow money. That will take us to an economic crisis of the sort that Germany faced in the 1920s—runaway inflation leading to public fear, anger and eventually the rise of the Third Reich and the Second World War.

I’d prefer not to let that happen in a nuclear age. But the fact that so many respondents to this question are answering in such flippant ways tells me it may just have to play out before anyone cares enough to do anything about it—and at that point, remedial action will be doomed to failure. Shutting the barn door after the horses are out isn’t an effective strategy.

@JaxkWhether you want to admit it or not we have a problem.” With all due respect, why do you think I asked this question, because I thought there were no problems in the USA today? The national meme may still support the Big Lie that Democrats are the tax-and-spend liberals and Republicans are the party of financial responsibility, but that’s bass-ackwards and it isn’t an outlier statistic that shows that. In the last 6 presidencies, when you had a Democrat it office, rublic sector jobs were LOST and private sector jobs GREW at a rapid rate. When a Republican was in office, public sector jobs GREW and at a fairly substantial clip.

But this question isn’t about the GOP of Eisenhower or Nixon. It isn’t even about the GOP of Reagan. That party is gone. Mann and Ornstein stated it very succinctly. “The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

“When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.”

@Linda_Owl Term limits would certainly be a step in the right direction. But it would take a constitutional amendment, and what’s the chance of getting Congress to ratify an Amendment that says they have to exit the gravy train at the next station?

Maybe we could have an Even Supremer Court whose only job would be to determine which justices have stopped concerning themselves with “a GD piece of paper.”

@wundayatta What @josie answered is a prefect example of the flippant treatment of our challenges. To date, honest discussion of our challenges seems impossible. Honest handling of them is definitely impossible in an environment where we can even honestly discuss them.

Jaxk's avatar


As long as you obfuscte the facts, it’s difficult to have any real debate. The president does not control public sector job growth, only federal job growth. And expanding it he is.

As for your quote from Mann and Ornstein, I could say the exact same thing about the Democrats. This is not the administration of Clinton. The Democrats have moved markedly to the left and the Republicans have moved right. The chasm between them has grown larger. We will find out in November which is more ‘Mainstream’.

LostInParadise's avatar

On your last point I am in complete agreement (for once). I do think this is the most important presidential election that we have had in a long time. There is a clear dividing line, more like a dividing chasm, between the two parties.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk It is you, as usual; who is obfuscating. And in typical Karl Rove strategy, you accuse your oposition of being guilty of what you do. I specifically noted that the public sector job losses were mostly state and local level jobs. I pointed out that 72% of them were from 11 states where Republicans seized control of legislatures and state houses in 2010 and voted for huge giveaways to large corporations, tax cuts for their wealthiest residents, and austerity programs to pay for it. Lay off those greedy teachers, firefighters and cops so that our poor corporate CEOs and millionaires can have even more help.

The Democratic party has NOT moved far to the left. It is now center right. It is just that the GOP has lurched so far to the right that the distance from where you are to the center now seems quite extreme.

Nullo's avatar

@ETpro I want them to leave me alone, for the most part. The impression that I get from them is that of a one trying to reassemble the clock that he took apart before somebody notices. I want the clock fixed, and then I want people to quit fussing with it.
There are days when I want to boot them all, roll back all legislation to the Constitution, and move forward from there. I know that it helps when you’re writing; it might also help with legislating. Just as long as we can keep the plethora of agendas under control.
And the Democrats have moved leftwards, though not so ludicrously left as other countries.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo Democrats presided over welfare to workfare. They were ready to sign on to the grand bargin for deficit reduction but the GOP walked away from their own proposal rather than do anything that might help the economy when they were not in charge. No, the Democratic party has NOT moved far to the left of the one that gave us Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Civil Rights Act. It’s moved away from that and toward the center. But the Republican party even of Reagan, that was able to compromise to get important things done, has disappeared. Reagan would be purged from today’s far-right GOP. He would be labeled a RINO.

bkcunningham's avatar

@ETpro, you say Democrats presided over welfare to workfare. What program are you referring to? The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Welfare and Medicaid Reform Act of 1996) was overwhelmingly supported by Republicans. Republicans 230 yeas, 2 nays. Democrats 98 yeas, 98 nays. In the Senate, the vote was 74–24. Guess which party the 74 yes votes represented?

As to the Civils Rights Act of 1964, the vote from the House was 290–130. Exactly 61 percent of Democrats voted for the bill (152 yeas and 96 nays), and 80 percent of Republicans supported the bill (138 yeas and 34 nays). The bill stayed in committee because of Howard Smith, a Democrat who promised to bottle the bill up indefinitely.

In the Senate, the bill passed 73–27. Senate Dems voted 73 yeas-27 nays, and Senate Repubs voted 27 yeas to 6 nays.

The Voting Rights Act reflected the same Republican support and Democrat opposition. According to Politifact, it is true that Republicans were leaders in the passage of these bills.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham President Clinton led up Welfare to Work.

bkcunningham's avatar

Yes, @JLeslie. With major support in Congress from Republicans.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham Ok, so both sides get some credit. I always say Clinton was rather moderate, sometimes conservative, in his fiscal policies. There are a lot of Democrats like him. Now if we could just find more Republicans today who would be a little more liberal in social policies, maybe even a little more moderate fiscally also, they might be more like Clinton, that would be nice, and there might be less animosity in government.

It seems we have better shots with Democrats to be moderate in this day and age than Republicans. Republicans have become so extremeplaying to the “base” of the party. That is not how I used to think of Reoublicans 20 years ago. Too extreme now, it scares me.

ETpro's avatar

@bkcunningham Republicans LOVE to turn the clock back to 1960 and before in their false claim that they are now the party of equal rights. Sorry, but time moves on. We are discussing now, not 60 years ago.

It’s true that before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Republicans were largely supportive of equality and Dixiecrats were against it. When President Lyndon Johnson (Democrat) signed the Civil Rights act into law, he knew beyond any shadow of doubt it meant he could not get reelected. He didn’t even bother to run for reelection. Instead of trying to hold onto political power, he did what he knew was right.

When he did that, the Republican party didn’t say thank you, they cynically crafted a Southern Strategy. They abandoned any pretense of supporting equality and instead welcomed the Dixiecrats into their midst, even those who had been exalted wizards and grand masters of the KKK. The GOP did that. It gained them the solid South. It did NOT gain them the right to have it both ways. The GOP is now full of dog whistle appeals to racism. They welcome step-n-fetchit blacks like Allen West, but only so long as the “boy” “knows his place”.

Bill Clinton signed Workfare into law.

Politifact is one more sad media attempt to act as if the media’s nob isn’t to report, thing, conduct investigative journalism or dissent; it’s just to claim there is no difference in the parties and both are just peachy. They have lost all credibility with me. I won’t even quote them when their “conclusion’ would support my argument. You shouldn’t either, because they sell to the highest bidder.

bkcunningham's avatar

@ETpro, YOU were the one who said the Democrats were the party that gave us Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Civil Rights Act. I was just pointing out that isn’t true.

The Republicans overwhelmingly supported the Welfare to Work initiiatve. That wasn’t in Politifact, that is in the Congressional Record.

You are bashing Politifact because the facts don’t agree with you? LOL The facts remain whether you want to accept them or not.

DaphneT's avatar

Perhaps the partisan gridlock stems from a psychological imperative, such as fear?

And most people know that psychological imperatives are the hardest to bring under control.

So I’ve pulled out my copy of Andre Comte-Sponville’s book, A Small Treatise on the Greatest Virtues. In this book, he states that his goal was to simply and concisely describe the greatest virtues and kept the list to what he thought were the top 18 virtues that any person would/could/should try to achieve in their lifetime. First on his list, Politeness. Short form: Politeness is the basis of all the virtues, it is the first a child learns since a child has no built in moral compass, therefore from learning politeness a child builds their moral compass.

My point being that the current crop of politicians grew up in an age where our most basic of virtues, politeness, was shattered/reshaped and many of them may never have learned the rationale for the rituals and may have been taught that caring about politeness was un-cool. Now I’m not saying they were actively taught, I’m saying they may have been taught by virtue of negligence or ignorance on the part of their parents for that most basic of skills. So that’s a lot of may bees. Another interpretation is that these are the crop of people who were taught the virtue of politeness and developed their moral compass at the same time that you and I did, but these people practice the heinous form of politeness, that being the type that is used to mask megalomania. They can be utterly charming with their politenss

ETpro's avatar

@bkcunningham You are right that liberal Republicans helped pass the civil rights act, but the fact is there were enough Democratic votes alone to pass it in both houses and to invoke cloture in the Senate filibuster. President Johnson knew the Senate and how to get things done there. He is widely credited with making it happen, something John F. Kennedy probably would have been unable to do. And he signed it into law, thus torpedoing any hope for reelection. So I think my statement was fair and accurate.

And yes, Republicans were the driving force in moving welfare to workfare, but certainly not in pushing for welfare to begin with. Workfare was a step in the direction of killing welfare, not instituting it.

wildpotato's avatar

Eventually all Democrats will flee to saner countries, and the gridlock will be freed up for real red-blooded Americans to legislate themselves down the crapper.

ETpro's avatar

@wildpotato That would be one way to fix deal with it.

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