Comments about ‘Michael Gerson: House has no functional majority with which to govern’

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Published: Friday, Oct. 18 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Far East USA, SC

It reminds me of the last presidential election when so many were so convinced and were so wrong. How does one become so tone deaf?

I sincerely think it is Fox News and talk radio.

I will give Fox credit. Those on the right are convinced that - If its not Fox, its liberal and that Fox is fair and balanced.

(for those who want to blast me for that statement - List the news sources that you believe are fair)

Then you have talk radio who are hard right.

If those are your only sources, you would have to hate Democrats and Obama.

And have a very skewed view of reality.

clearfield, UT

The people who are living in a dream world are the ones who think we can go on doing business as usual. This first salvo from the few Republicans may look bad now, but can you imagine the "I told you so" on the horizon? And I know they who did this don't want to be given that opportunity to say "I told you so." The damage that could come if this way of funding government with deficit borrowing and spending is not changed, could be worse than anything we faced with this 16 day shutdown. Everyone has now got to be looking at the forest and not the trees. The big picture needs to be dealt with, not just short term, short sighted, quick fixes. Or pretty soon there will not be a "can" to kick down the road.

Louisville, KY

Mr. Gerson,

Your analysis here (and in other pieces I have read) is both insightful and blunt. You will be making no friends on the Tea Party side. But your prescriptions for the Republican Party are dead on. Thank you.

Burke, VA

SCfan - Since 2009 the federal budget has been cut in half. This despite the obstructionists on the right who have even gone so far as to vote against legislation they have previously supported for the simple reason of denying the president a victory. Certainly the current deficit spending is not sustainable and we should be doing all we can do to erase the deficit - even if it means some tax increases. But the hypocrisy of those who caused the shutdown is glaring when you consider the shutdown cost this nation $24 billion. The was caused by those who claim to be interested in lowering government spending. There is a proper way to to change laws and appropriations you disagree with, a way that has been used throughout the history of the nation. It is the legislative way established in the Constitution. Silly side shows, like the one we've witnessed over the past three weeks, do nothing to bring people together and solve the nation's problems. The reduction in the deficit cited above means something positive is at work. Why should we stop it now and replace it with the anarchy displayed by the Tea Party?

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

"The people who are living in a dream world are the ones who think we can go on doing business as usual."

Let's see, based on this criterion, Obamacare is definitely not business as usual. Those who want business as usual want Obamacare repealed so that we can go back to our old system, which was so superior to anything in the world that other countries are falling all over themselves trying to copy it.

Seeking immigration reform is definitely not business as usual. But look who's blocking it. Hmm.

Seeking some reasonable controls on gun sales is not business as usual, but look who's trying to keep things the same.

Want more examples? All you have to do is look at who is obstructing what in Washington. The "business as usual" crowd is all huddled on the right.

Bountiful, UT

It's time to call the way it is: We have three political parties.

Coalitions will emerge between Democrats and Republicans, or between Republicans and Tea Partiers, but there is no functional majority in the House. Nobody knows this better than John Boehner.

The tea partiers have been telling us this for quite some time, actually. "Democrats and Republicans are all the same". (And if you look at our planet from outer space, there are no political distinctions, there are no "nations" on Planet Earth.)

Let the Tea Partiers have honesty & integrity, and distinguish themselves by creating a formal, separate, political party.

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

the t-party...

"...believes in making preposterous demands and blaming their Republican colleagues when these demands aren't fulfilled. Tea-party ideology involves questioning the character of Republican leaders — presenting them as cowards, or co-opted by the establishment, or deceptive about their actual views...".

Please proceed...t-party.

clearfield, UT


I guess it is time to remind you and others of the facts.

Fact: Debt, not deficit, was about 10 trillion dollars when Obama became President.

Fact: Debt, not deficit, is not about 17 trillion dollars in 5 years of Obama being President.

Cutting the yearly deficit, even in half is doing nothing to account for that 17 trillion dollars debt, as it is still growing, even if it is at slower rate.

This is like a family spending a million dollars on a house, then cutting $500 dollars from the entertainment budget per year to try to pay for the mortgage. Our annual budget has become small potatos compared to the total deficit we have run up. And Obama added about 7 trillion to that. No way to justify that kind of spending. Especially with a slow dismal economy and growth rate these last 5 years. And unemployment is still very high . You know that if this were McCain and or Romney, you guys would be howling at the irresponsiblity. Well I howl at both sides. Because both deserve it.

clearfield, UT

Kent C. De Forrest

Business as usual, as I guess you didn't get, is the continued borrowing and spending and never paying it off, and continuing to add more and more to the debt. That is business as usual in Washington D.C. And as I said when responding to ECR, if this were a Republican in office, you guys would be sounding like us. Or you should be, as no sane person can think that continued spending with no payback will work forever. Even Obama said as much accusing Bush of being un-patriotic with the debt he ran up. And Obama was right. Then.

Louisville, KY


There is no doubt that we have a debt problem or that we need to solve it. But there is also no doubt that the Tea Party (as recently evidenced) is poorly suited to the task.

Solving problems in our Constitutional Republic requires broad coalitions (it was the Founder’s intent). That means you need solid majorities in both houses and the president to go along with you OR you need supermajorities in both houses.

The Tea Party’s “my way or the highway” attitude has shown itself to be politically poisonous. They seem incapable of forming firm alliances even within their own party and they have become radioactive for the Democrats whom they demonize daily.

So, the Tea Party may recognize the problem and publish that fact loud and long. But they will be incapable of solving the problem as long as they turn against anyone who does not agree with them 100%.

The way forward will likely involve both cuts (which they will applaud) but also revenues/taxes (which they will hate). But no compromise will mean no solution.

Reagan built a big tent. That is still the way forward.

Burke, VA

SCfan - You know there's more than one way to skin a cat. Let's talk about trends.

When Ronald Reagan took office his first deficit was $209 billion (all numbers are adjusted for inflation) and the deficit was $306 billion when he left office for an increase of 46%

When George H. W. Bush took office his first deficit was $287 billion and the deficit was $484 billion when he left office for an increase of 68%

When Bill Clinton took office his first deficit was $412 billion and the deficit was actually a surplus of $320 billion when he took office for a 77% reduction

When George W. Bush took office his first deficit was also a $168 billion surplus but the deficit when he left office was $498 for a total increase of 396%.

When President Obama took office he inherited the worst economic downturn since the great depression and his first deficit was a whopping $1,539 billion and this year the deficit will be $759 billion for a reduction of 49%.

Isn't that a good trend? Almost as good as the golden Clinton years? Shouldn't we continue in that direction?

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

Joe Blow is dead on. I witness this daily here in Utah.
Might I add that they treat Fox and the Radio like a religion, not to be questioned and all others are simply wrong, no facts needed as faith has replaced logic, there is only one true news source.

Changing the rules on who could bring a vote, was underhanded and I'm sure will disappear before the Dems can use this tactic. Boener took control then did nothing about it.

Salt Lake , UT

Sometimes we just have to put principle above politics - even if it means we don't have a "functional majority".

Phoenix, AZ

"The damage that could come if this way of funding government with deficit borrowing and spending is not changed, could be worse than anything we faced with this 16 day shutdown."

China is rubbing their collective hands with glee. They can clearly see that the US will need to continue to borrow from them ad infinitum resulting in eventual default. At which time China will take ownership of much of America. Obama doesn't care as he is a foreigner anyway. What's puzzling is why Harry Reid and his Democrat friends don't care.

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

But the tea party is a dysfunctional minority bent on throwing tantrums that increase in intensity when they fail using attempted unfair means.

Louisville, KY


Please. Obama is not a foreigner.

He was born on US soil to a foreign father and a US mother.

Ted Cruz on the other hand was born on foreign soil to a foreign father and a US mother. But most agree that he still qualifies as a "natural born citizen".

Too bad . . .

Far East USA, SC

"Obama doesn't care as he is a foreigner anyway."

Well, then surely you would not Ted Cruz as president.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

It's called -- Divide and conquer (derived from the Latin saying Divide et impera)

It works in the Military,
It works in Business,
It works in Politics.
United we Stand, Dived we fall.
etc., etc., etc.,

BTW - The Good Book says it best:
No man can serve 2 Masters.

Republicans and Tea-Partiers should read more from the Good Book.

But go ahead, knock yourselves out.

salt lake city, utah

SC, the point ECR made is an excellent one from a couple of perspectives. The first is modern America has always had a debt and managed to not just survive but grow. The debt has ballooned generally in response to extraordinary circumstances. This is what happened in '09.

"Obama added about 7 trillion to that. No way to justify that kind of spending". Actually there is not just a way but a very wise way. A crushing demand driven recession requires government spending to fill the demand void.

Last point is the slow economy is not a result of the deficit or debt but rather more accurately the cause. It's more complicated than that but to cite the deficit as a reason why you can't spend in times of low demand is exactly backwards.


Durham, NC

Principles = I want it my way, and only my way, otherwise no one can have anything.

At least that is what it sounds like coming from the tea partiers. Their way is the only "principled" way. Anyone who disagrees is a RINO - and they use that term as if it meant something.

If we truly are heading to a three party system with the Tea Party representing the far right, the real republicans represented by fiscal conservatism but still doing what is right for the country, and the democrats on the more progressive side. Purging Tea Partiers into their own party would be the best thing for all groups.

Then the tea party types can have all the party purity test they want.

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