Tyler Goodman: Partisan differences
September 30, 2013
Reading the headlines of the past few days, one can't help but notice the immense amount of attention given to Republicans and their concern about the Affordable Care Act. It's not hard to believe after Senator Ted Cruz's 21-hour marathon floor speech that left conservative talk shows cheering and liberal pundits frothing. But is that really where we should be focusing our national conversation?
According to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted the weekend before last, a full 61 percent of respondents agree that it's right to require spending cuts when the debt ceiling is raised because Congress generally lacks spending discipline. That's pretty understandable. If most people agree that we need to restrain some spending, then why are we not finding some common ground to do so?
"I will not negotiate," President Barack Obama reminded everyone last week in a speech that was stunningly partisan in nature. It is true that Republicans are as committed as ever to doing something about the Affordable Care Act. But is completely turning a cold shoulder to any conversation the right thing to do when your country is in, shall we say, a fragile state of affairs. No discussion, no give and take, no concessions. How exactly do you think business gets done, Mr. President?
The deadline to fund the government now is upon us and a deadline to raise the nation's borrowing limit quickly is coming up in the next few weeks. With all of this going on, those on the left should take a second to think before hurling the "you're being stubborn" retort.
In my lifetime, the partisan differences haven't been wider. "I don't know how I can be more clear about this: Nobody gets to threaten the full faith and credit of the United States," President Obama reiterated Friday. Why is the full faith and credit of the United States even in the question? More specifically, what have we not fixed that is causing our government to spend more than it takes in?
Most agree that the process of putting a budget together and the exercise of raising the nation's borrowing limit is an opportunity to evaluate the financial direction of the country. Maybe trimming down what our government spends in a year is a good idea considering it's a lot more than what it takes in and by a large margin. We know the Republicans have something to say about it. But what does the president and his allies in the Senate have to say about it?
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Nothing. They won't give an inch. Is "my way or the highway" really how a democracy is run? Apparently, an agreement to the current Democratic leadership is when the other side gets nothing. Polls last week showed a majority of the American public does not view Obamacare favorably. And the president doesn't want to negotiate. Maybe he should listen to his own words and not threaten the full faith and credit of the United States under his own prerogative.
Several on the left now are pushing the premise that the Affordable Care Act passed both houses of Congress, was signed by the president and was upheld by the Supreme Court as sustenance for its validity as a law. You know what: The three-fifths compromise once was law, and prohibition was once a law. Just because something currently is on the books doesn't mean it has some sort of moral supremacy. The great thing about our democracy is that it is dynamic and moldable in the face of current outcomes. The arrogance of this administration and Senate Democrats is ridiculous.