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April 18, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Blame both parties for dysfunction

Another view?

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Despite the dysfunction in Washington, the large majority of what I see and hear is either: “I blame the Democrats,” or, “I blame the Republicans.”

This is exactly what both major parties want to see and hear because it gives them a green light to continue the dysfunction.

Until enough people’s financial circumstances decline to a point that is unacceptable to them and they start saying, “I blame both parties equally,” it will be impossible to correct the dysfunction. This seem obvious to me and I am at the point where I do blame both parties equally. I await the time when more Americans join me.

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  1. Michael et al:

    President Obama had a Democrat Congress from 2008-2010 with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in charge. He wasted his political capital. He did not forge alliances and build consent with the opposition. He went it alone with the Democrats. In 2010, Americans voted Republicans back in the House. What did President Obama do? He went it alone with the Democrats in the Senate. In 2012, Americans reelected him as President and kept the House in Republican control. What did President Obama do? He morphed his election campaign into The Organization for Action to ensure Democrats take back the House in 2014. Why? So he can pass the political agenda in his last two years which he failed to do in his first six? Not much has changed except this: The President is still in charge. The buck stops with him. So should the excuses.

    Carmine D

  2. As a foreigner (Canadian) who enjoys reading the Las Vegas Sun and Mr. Casler's postings on it, I agree with his conclusion that both parties are to blame.
    I don't observe either party when in power appearing to act on behalf of the poor or the middle class. American "democracy" has devolved into some form of shell game in which the goal is to maximize shareholder value in order to recapture and maintain the wealth of the richest and most powerful. The concept of governing to benefit all citizens has been abandoned in all but lip service.
    Democrats must share equally in the blame with their Republican counterparts. Wall Street owns your government and I expect only some form of revolt will enable the people to transfer that ownership back to the majority.
    While the large corporations and wealthy of your society feast on their current position of opulence, the rest of America struggles to survive on the crumbs that inadvertently trickle down.
    America is no longer worthy of being held up as the example of a successful free market society.
    Keep up the good work, Michael Casler. Eventually your warnings might be heeded.

    Donald W. Desaulniers

  3. I understand that it drives many people crazy that I blame both parties for our troubles. It is especially tough when things are not going real well and the party you favor controls 2/3's of the government.

    To me, at this point, trying to defend either party and arguing over who is more at fault may be interesting to some, but it is counterproductive.

    Congress is awash in special interest money and members cannot get elected or re-elected without it. Many point to Citizens United and seem to ignore that Congress members being held hostage by special interest money was a problem that existed before that legislation. The decision made it worse but reversing it isn't a solution.

    Many say the wealthy are the culprits and they just buy Republicans, seemingly also ignoring that just about every large group and organization of 'any' kind lobbies members of Congress... and not just Republicans but Democrats too. They also seem to ignore the 'fact' that what is needed to be elected and re-elected (doing the bidding of powerful interests with lobbyists) is exactly the same for Democrats as it is for Republicans.

    Americans howl that 'the rich' are running Congress and ruining the nation. They are partly correct. However, it is 'every' powerful interest that lobbies Congress in their interest that is corrupting Congress and ruining the nation.

    It you stop to think about how powerful these interests are, how varied they are, how self serving they 'all' are, and you understand that the 'game' you must play as a member of Congress to remain a member is the 'same' for every menber, regardless of party, you simply cannot believe one party or the other will work for the interests of the nation.

    The system has to be changed with term limits, public financing of campaigns (which would invalidate Citizens United) and lobbying reform. It is the only solution. Read the comments from the guy in Canada. He gets it.


  4. Michael,

    Yes we have problems with a dysfunctional congress, but both parties are NOT equally guilty. The Chairman of the RNC, Reince Priebus, made note of just how damaged the GOP is at their recent CPAC. They ousted Chris Christie and invited a string of losers to bash Obama and his administration, knowing full well, that prior to his first election, they conspired against him. We've had Bobby Jindal refer to the party as "the party of stupid" and as of today some members are comparing homosexuality to beastiliaty. A representive in Alaska refered to Mexicans using a racial slur. They keep voting to repeal Obamacare (34 times) wasting millions of our tax dollars beating a dead horse. It's more than a communications problem, it's their DNA and their policies are arse backwards!

    This current GOP is best summed with an Aesop fable.

    A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion says, "Because if I do, I will die too."

    The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp "Why?" Replies the scorpion: "Its my nature..."

    I'm also reminded of Mary Shelly and her story about Dr. Frankenstein. He created a monster he couldn't control which destroyed him, causing his death.

  5. Vernos,

    I think if you'll review my posts in response to yours, you will find that I rarely argue with the items you accuse the GOP of.

    It's pretty simple for me. I believe the country is being wrecked, in many ways, but especially financially. If we plastered all 3 branches of our government with Republicans, I am convinced we'd still wreck the country. If we plastered all 3 branches with Democrats, I am convinced we'd still wreck the country.

    We have to force a change in Congress where we have members limited to 2 terms, make the only funding for campaigns allowed to be public financing of a fixed amount and address lobbying reform. If we do not do all those things, the powerful forces (not just the rich but many other groups along with the rich) will continue to trade support and money required to be elected and retain office in exchange for seeing their self serving agenda's enacted over what is best for the nation as a whole.

    I understand that you hate and abhore many things the Republican party stands for and others feel just as strongly about the Democrat party. I am at a point where I don't really give a rats ass about any of that. I believe that if we don't force a change in this stupid, corrupted Congressional system, it won't matter (in the big important picture) who we elect.


  6. Michael: Perhaps one day I'll agree with your hypothesis that both parties are equally responsible for our problems. That will happen when: I see Democrats trying to shrink government to the point that "...we can drown it in the bathtub." Or when Democrats en masse sign an oath and give it precedence over their oaths of office. Or when Democrats say, as Former Republican senator Alan Simpson did about in summarizing that infamous oath of Norquist, it means "No taxes, under any situation, even if your country goes to hell." Or when the Senate's Democratic leader openly declares, as did the Republican's leader in 2010, that "the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." Or when the Democrats set new records for the number of bills, passed by the House, killed in the Senate for failure to gain enough votes to preclude a threatened filibuster (400 - in the 111th Congress.) Or when Democrats openly and commonly flout the Constitutional provision that, with very specific exceptions, the Senate will transact its business with a simple 50+% vote. Or when Democrats routinely refuse to accept Republican legislation to correct national problems, and still completely refuse to introduce ANY alternatives. Or when Republican popularity in Congress (most recently at 15% vs 75%) meets or exceeds that of the Democrats (most recently at 38% vs 50%). Or when the popularity of Republican Congress critters reaches 50% of the Republican BASE (most recently its at 25%).

    The Republican part is handily maintaining its popular image as the "party of NO! They have introduced no ideas to fix our problems, they only tell the Democrats "NO! We WON'T agree with your ideas!"

  7. Robert,

    If your view is that the Republicans are most to blame, I'm fine with that.

    Chris Van Hollen and I think a Republican have drafted a bill to quituple I believe small donations to try to blunt the influence of big money, and interests groups with lobbyists. If you'll note, these two, along with every other menber of Congress 'never' proposes 'anything' that would truly blunt the effect of special interests, big money and lobbyists in Congress, such as term limits, public financing of campaigns and lobbying reform.

    Why is that? It is because if they did propose any such thing, they would be slapped down hard by party leadership. The parties like this system and the only nibble at the edges of what they know to be a corrupt system to mollify the public.

    If you want to believe either party has the nations best interests at heart, you are entitled to that view. I believe that isn't the case and unless we reform the corrupted Congressional system, who we elect just doesn't matter much on what I believe are the critical areas.


  8. Teamster,

    Why is the waste, fraud and duplication in government not addressed by either party when the CBO says it exists, many studies say it exists and even President Obama in a recent speech says it exists?

    Why does neither party or any elected official from either party call for term limits, public financing of campaigns and lobbying reform?

    No Teamster, I'm sorry but although I agree that the Republican party is out of step on many issues and is obstructionist, I cannot sign on to the belief that Republicans are the 'only' problem. That just flies in the face of reality. I hope you come to be able to see that one day.


  9. And Teamster,

    Do you really believe that only Republicans are replacing full time workers with part time workers? Come on! The ACA is going to make health Insurance available to many Americans and force it on others with fines. Part of that is good. However, when costs are not really contained and some businesses (with Republicans and Democrats running them) determine they cannot or will not provide government mandated health insurance get around the mandate and fine by reducing full time workers to part time workers, you immediately jump to the inaccurate conclusion that only Republicans do that. Come On!


  10. Mike: I'll agree with you - Republicant's are not the ONLY cause for the dysfunction in Congress. They are, however, quite a major contributor. For example, as you state Rep Chris Van Hollen has introduced legislation to enhance disclosure of campaign contributions - as he did in 2010, 2011, and 2012 - all of which were blocked by the Republican minority in the Senate (that normally means Republicant's filibustered either the basic legislation or, more commonly, simple attempts to bring it up for debate. His 2010 bill had 141 co-sponsors, only TWO were Republicant's. I didn't trace 2011 or 2012, but I suspect that co-sponsorship was in about the same proportions.

    I note that there have been NO Republican't-sponsored bills introduced in the House or Senate with the stated primary purpose of correcting the causes of the 2008 financial melt-down, of creating jobs, of protecting middle-class homeowners. The Republicant's have, however, fought to protect the temporary tax cuts provided the very rich. They have tried 36 times (or is it up to 38 now? Easy to lose count...) to reverse the Affordable Care Act - as though such a move would stand a chance in the Senate or that Obama would actually SIGN such a thing! The reason? They want to burn time for fear that someone might actually sneak a useful bit of legislation past them.

    No - Republican'ts are not the ONLY cause for dysfunction, but...

  11. Robert,

    I don't disagree with you about Republicans, but let's view the entire picture. Do you really believe that additional disclosure will make a difference that matters in a Congress corrupted by powerful interests with lobbyists? I don't and neither does Van Hollen or other members of Congress, R or D. Van Hollen isn't stupid and neither are the others, but they do understand the system they participate in and 'know' that if they proposed meaningful changes, they'd be slapped down.

    Yes, R's support lower taxes for the wealthy and we cannot afford that, but.... if we don't somehow find a way to term limit members of Congress, publically fund campaigns and reform lobbying, all we are ever going to get is more ineffective 'feel good' legislation like Van Hollen and others propose to make it 'appear' they are making an effort when they really are not.


  12. I blame each and every public servant in there. To conduct this countrys' business the way they do is pathetic. Always looking out for themselves over the people who were naive enough to elect them and that includes the President. The U.S. has turned into a charge it and worry about paying for it later and congress is right there with them. The situation in Washington is embarrasing us in the eyes of our allies and even worse our foes, and whats worse is it's done so much damage that it's irrepairable.