EDITORIAL: Congress needs to get to work

By Observer editorial October 28, 2013 09:44 am

Recent results from a nationwide poll show that Americans are pretty fed up with the political games in Washington, D.C.

The poll showed about seven out of 10 Americans view the Republican Party and the so-called Tea Party in a negative light, while about half of Americans are unhappy with Democrats and the president.

On another, depressing note, GOP budget expert Rep. Paul Ryan and the top Democrat in the U.S. Senate — Harry Reid — indicated last week that any kind of “grand bargain” regarding budget talks is just not in the cards. Not now. Not inside the bitterly divided, partisan atmosphere that exists in Washington, D.C.

History shows that widespread voter negativity typically harms the party in power but the poll
illustrates that voters are just as unhappy with the GOP as they are with the Democrats.

Congressman Greg Walden, in a story in this newspaper last week, touched on the partisan divide that is essentially crippling this nation’s ability to govern itself.

While the poll is instructive from a purely academic point of view, it also shows that age-old tendency of American voters to shrug off voter responsibility. Because, in the end, the fault really rests with the body politic regarding the current political climate in Congress. It is us — the body politic — after all that elected the very people who we now feel are not living up to our standards.

Fortunately Americans will secure an opportunity to set a different course in the next election but meanwhile the political warfare so common in Congress will continue.

At least some of the Founding Fathers worried about what they termed as “factions” taking over our Democratic form of government, and the current political war of the knife mood in Washington, D.C., sure seems to qualify as a prototype of what the founders feared.

Extremist political views appear to rule the day in Washington, D.C., whether it is of the Democratic or Republican flavor and all that really happens is more bickering.

Differences of opinion, variations in policy and disagreements are part of the American political framework but, in the end, the goal is always to find a common middle ground to shape a solution.

What is occurring now has very little to do with finding solutions and a whole lot about holding true to reactionary dogma.

When factions exist, when extremist views take center stage, the business of the nation cannot be accomplished. And when that occurs, the democratic scaffold that binds our nation teeters.

In short, politicians on both side of the aisle need to step away from the insidious influence of factions and do what is right for the nation — it is time to stop fighting and get to work.