Is there no hope for compromise in Congress? Are the Republicans and Democrats so divided, so far apart, so bitterly opposed to working together that they cannot do business?
The failure of the not-so-super committee indicates the answer is yes. A months-long effort to strike a deal on spending cuts to reduce the deficit collapsed in recriminations and regret Monday.
David Gergen, an adviser to presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, said this is a sign that Washington has “gone nuts.”
“It’s difficult to remember a Congress that has put the nation so much at risk in the service of ideology and to hold onto office. Partisans on both sides are grievously failing the country,” Gergen wrote in a CNN piece.
As he points out, there have been deep divides on issues and ideas in the past, but deals were made, progress continued and the country was not put at risk, nor was a shaky economy allowed to tremble to make partisan points.
South Dakota’s congressional delegation weighed in Monday afternoon. Rep. Kristi Noem and Sen. John Thune blamed the Democrats, with Noem also decrying the failure of the parties to work together. Sen. Tim Johnson said he was disappointed with the politics being played but he didn’t take a shot at the GOP.
Is there no hope? Has the political center collapsed and all that remains are two angry, foolish sides perched on mountains shouting at each other? Has Washington, in fact, gone nuts?