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Published: Monday, Nov. 25 2013 9:45 p.m. MST

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I personally think that it was the arrival of Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House that dramatically changed things for the worse. Prior to Mr. Gingrich congress worked the way Senator Garn describes in this piece. People worked together, they compromised. They fought for the best deal they could get for their side, then they agreed to the legislation and came back to fight another day.

After Gingrich,the ethos changed. It became "either we get our way 100%, or will wreck the system so you get nothing, even if it means we get nothing."

Someone should write a book about Gingrich called "The Man Who Wrecked America"

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"it has become so overly partisan and personally nasty"

Unfortunately, that is what many people WANT. It is what many people DEMAND.
They see compromise and agreement as weakness.

Anything short of seething contempt for your political opponents will earn you rebuke.
People today put party over country and have been convinced that is patriotism.

We are so gullible.

Here comes all the "overly partisan and personally nasty" comments from those convinced that our problems are all caused by the other political side.

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

Before the tea party continuos tantrum?

Semi-Strong
Louisville, KY

Could we please have Senator Garn give classes for new Congressmen and Senators? His insights are just what is needed today.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "People used to ask, 'Why are Ted and Orrin such good friends?' says Garn. 'But that was good for the country.'"

Yeah? How so?

How is it good for the country when elected representatives repudiate the desires of those that elected them in order to get along with a political "friend?"

How is it good for the country when minority liberals demand -- and receive -- compromise from their conservative "friends," but become dictatorial, refuse to reciprocate, and engage in perpetual overreach when they're in a political majority?

How is it good for the country when conservative "friends" connive with liberals to agree to "power sharing" arrangements, that are then hypocritically exploited by cynical liberals to change old rules and make up new rules as they go along, to suit liberal political expedience?

In other words, how is it good for the country that callow, gullible conservatives have historically knuckled under to liberal blather, allowing their liberal "friends" -- who represent a decided minority of Americans -- to rule America?

Hmmmmmm?

rw123
Sandy, UT

@JoeBlow

*Anything short of seething contempt for your political opponents will earn you rebuke.
People today put party over country and have been convinced that is patriotism.*

AGREED.

To others who have posted, let's not be so quick to point the finger at the republicans. Reid and Pelosi have done similar things.

Unfortunately, we are kind of mirroring society, in which today, the prevailing philosophy is that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Kudos to those who seek office and steadily perform their duties, striving to work with others whether like-minded or not. There are some out there like that. But they seem to be fewer than before.

We should require better from our politicians. We elect them from within the body of our citizenship. In this government, we can have whatever kind of governance we want, just by pushing the vote button. Why do we elect these people?

As I have seen in historical documentaries, FDR was a great president for his time: he knew how (and was willing) to work both sides of the aisle to get the cooperation that was indispensable in winning World War II.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Roland Kayser – “Someone should write a book about Gingrich called "The Man Who Wrecked America"

Agreed!

But when they won the House (after decades of Democrat rule) most Republicans took exactly the wrong lessons for which they have been paying the price ever since.

People want straight talk and a reasonable agenda for getting things done (e.g., Newt’s Contract with America), not nastiness and intractability. Newt has all of these including intelligence (something Republicans in the last decade have cared less and less about – e.g., Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry… list is too long) and it made him great and a disaster at the same time.

Chris Cristie appears to have some of these qualities, combined with an ability to work across the aisle, and talks a lot about politics being about relationship. Assuming his girth and baggage doesn’t derail him early on, it will be interesting if in 2016 Republicans are more interested in winning or in continuing their purge of mudbloods.

one old man
Ogden, UT

JoeBlow makes and excellent comment and here comes Procurafiscadorial to provide some excellent proof of exactly what Joe is talking about.

Semi-Strong
Louisville, KY

Procuradorfiscal,

You paint far too dark of a picture. Unless you are dealing in an environment where one party controls both houses of Congress and the Presidency, you need friends to help get your legislation to the floor and to get a passing vote. You need friends to help sculpt your legislation into something that will actually pass vs. something that will just keep going down in flames. Also, you need friends to help moderate legislation you don't like - to put the brakes on a bit.

Ultimately, your friends are your sphere of influence. If you have none (other than those who already think just like you) your influence is very limited. Please reread Senator Garn's remarks. He was not talking about capitulation. He was telling about how he learned that the Senate is like most other workplaces - you have to be able to get along and work together.

BTW, note that liberals could have the same fears you do about their priorities be co-opted by their favorite liberal Senator having conservative friends.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Roland Kayser – “Someone should write a book about Gingrich called "The Man Who Wrecked America"

Agreed!

But when they won the House (after decades of Democrat rule) most Republicans took exactly the wrong lessons for which they have been paying the price ever since.

People want straight talk and a reasonable agenda for getting things done (e.g., Newt’s Contract with America), not nastiness and intractability. Newt has all of these including intelligence (something Republicans in the last decade have cared less and less about – e.g., Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry… list is too long) and it made him great and a disaster at the same time.

Chris Cristie appears to have some of these qualities, combined with an ability to work across the aisle, and talks a lot about politics being about relationship. Assuming his girth and baggage doesn’t derail him early on, it will be interesting if in 2016 Republicans are more interested in winning or in continuing their purge of mudbloods.

Ralph
Salt Lake City, UT

The advent of 24-hour for-profit news stations certainly make the political arena more caustic as well.
I don't know which is worse, Fox News or MSNBC news, but they are just two sides of the same hateful coin.
Fair and balanced is neither fair, nor balanced.
The news media should strive to be "respectful and thought-provoking", not "disrespectful and anger-provoking" which makes much more profit for the media companies, but is harmful to our country.

Pagan
Salt Lake City, UT

'Since Democrats took control of the Senate in 2006, Republicans have mounted 380 filibusters' – By Sarah Jones – 12-09-12

'“Since Democrats took control of the Senate in 2006, Republicans have mounted 380 filibusters. This far exceeds anything we’ve seen before in the Senate. By comparison, in Lyndon B. Johnson’s six years as Senate majority leader, he faced just one filibuster.” - Article

‘When Democrats reclaimed the Senate majority in the 2006 midterm elections, cloture filings shot up from 68 in 2005-2006 (From Dems) to a record 139 in 2007-2008.' (From Republicans) - Article

**'The Rise Of Cloture: How GOP Filibuster Threats Have Changed The Senate' - Ben Frumin and Jason Reif - Talking Points Memo – 01/27/10

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

It is worse than what is stated. You only have to read the post by procuradorfiscal to see that even within the Republican party itself, there is great disrespect of anyone who doesn't think in line with those who portray themselves to be the keepers of conservative orthodoxy.

It is sad when we have a society that rebrands civility and manners as a bad thing - branding such acts as being "politically correct". Comments that used to be viewed in bad taste, are now common. It used to be a good thing to be a gentleman…. now we honor the lowest life has to offer.

There was a story published about a year ago about a german fighter pilot during WWII who was coming in behind a B-17 for the final kill, when he notice the plane was not fighting back. In the pilots mind, what he was about to do went from fighting a war, to murdering a defenseless crew. Long story short, he flew off the shot up wing of the B-17 and escorted it back to safe airspace. After the war, the two pilots found each other, and became friends.

If they can, can't we?

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "Please reread Senator Garn's remarks. He was not talking about capitulation."

He was talking about capitulation. He was just painting lipstick on that pig, couching it in much more flattering terms than it deserves.

Sen. Garn, rather than fight against the liberal menace, joined up, that's all.

Ralph
Salt Lake City, UT

"Liberal Menace"

Atta boy, Procuradorfiscal. Keep up God's work.

U-tar
Woodland Hills, UT

Those were the good old days, when no one made much of a fuss about all the money you were spending.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Re:Roland
Many would agree with you.

From Washington Spectator 2011:
"Mickey Edwards, a former representative from Oklahoma who served with Gingrich in the minority leadership, told me that Gingrich "made the Congress a much more partisan institution."

As minority whip in 1989, Gingrich turned up the heat. "He started to force procedural votes on wedge issues that were not intended to pass but were intended to embarrass members of the other party," Edwards said.

By 1993, Gingrich was presiding over discreet meetings in Capitol Hill restaurants with Bob Walker, Tom DeLay, Dick Armey, and Bob Livingston, a group that Republican staffers called "the Jihadists."

Newt changed the way committee chairs were selected," Edwards said. "His insistence was on how often you voted with the party. How much money you raised for the party. Not how much seniority you had."

Gingrich eliminated budgets for all 28 legislative service organizations.

Gingrich also shut down agencies that threatened his agenda, such as the Office of Technology Assessment. And he set out to intimidate directors of other offices, such as Robert Reischauer in the CBO."

The changes Republicans made to House rules in 1995 made Newt Gingrich the most powerful speaker since the end of the previous century."

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