Boehner: There’s Not as Much Common Ground as There Used to Be

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That Congress is bitterly divided is no secret. Unable to compromise on fiscal policy and intent on torpedoing each other’s political positions, Democrats and Republicans demonstrated this in October when they committed to a strategy of mutually assured destruction. As the fiscal year rolled over and Uncle Sam’s credit limit dried up, both parties decided to play a game of high-stakes chicken, pitting an apparently unstoppable force (the will of conservatives to effect fiscal reform) against an immovable object (the will of Democrats to enact the Affordable Care Act and maintain social programs.)

As a result of the impasse, parts of the federal government were shut down for 16 days as policymakers tripped over themselves, dug idealogical trenches, and unproductively lobbed rhetorical grenades back and forth. Congress’ approval rating tanked to just 11 percent, slid further to 9 percent by November, and has since recovered to just 13 percent. According to Gallup, a full 65 percent of Americans say that they are “dissatisfied” with the way the American system of government is working, and a record low of just 17 percent of votes believe that their own representatives in Congress should be re-elected.

The divide between Democrats and Republicans has only been agitated and widened by a clash (call it a difference of opinions) within the GOP. Many people on both sides of the political spectrum place fault with ultra-conservative factions within the Republican party that engaged in tactics that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said led to “a very predictable disaster,” meaning the shutdown and the subsequent fallout.

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