Congress throwing away the keys to problem-solving

I have been waiting for a prominent person to step forward and compare the politics surrounding climate change to what Congress just went through with the government shutdown and debt limit. Just in time, out of the woodwork, comes former Vice President Al Gore with his droll approach to the subject.

“Congress is pathetic right now, Gore said during an interview on “Take Part Live.” He continued:

“There are some awful good people in Congress trapped in a bad system. The truth is our democracy has been hacked; big money now calls the shots. That may sound like a radical statement, but less and less to people who have been paying attention to what’s been going on there.

“Some of the same people who stood up with a straight face and said it would be perfectly fine for the United States of the America to default on its debt…or they would say we don’t need to default because we’ll just pay the Chinese bondholders instead of paying the social security checks or giving paychecks to the active duty military. That’s ridiculous; it’s nuts.

“But they’re the same people who’ve been saying that the laws of physics don’t apply and that global warming pollution does not cause global warming and that mother nature is not sending a us a signal with all of these extreme weather catastrophes …”

Climatologists and many others have expressed frustration about the public’s lack of understanding regarding climate change. Their frustration involves people who ignore the science, media outlets that fail to communicate the facts and government officials who refuse to address the problem.

Is this the same type of frustration that many people are feeling over the recent government shutdown and debt crisis?

Blogger Jo Romm of Think Progress blames Tea Party extremists in Congress for both economic and climate-change brinkmanship. His latest blog is cleverly titled, “Now we have ‘default deniers,’ but the real danger remains a climate shutdown.” Romm writes:

“Unlike the budget and debt crises, climate change is not a problem that allows 11th-hour solutions. When a livable climate shuts down, it can’t be fixed for a millennium.

“Tea Party extremists shut down the US government. Their economic brinksmanship made clear many were ready to shut down the global economy by refusing to pay our nation’s debts.

“And their ability to wield power nihilistically greatly increases the chances of a climate shutdown — a debt they want to leave our children and all future generations, but one that is far more dangerous than the fiscal debt because it is both catastrophic and irreversible.”


Columnist Richard Reeves
points out that the tea partiers often invoke President Ronald Reagan’s words, “Government is not the solution; it’s the problem.” But unlike Reagan, who was adept at compromise, the tea partiers really do believe that government must be stopped. Reeves writes:

“Perhaps those tea party guys are smarter than they look. After all, these men and women in Congress came to Washington determined to cripple big government — or even destroy it. They, 30 or 40 bent Republicans, were mad as hell at where the country is going and how it is governed. Now, with a minimum of sabotage, millions and millions of Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike, share their hatred of Washington.”

While many mainstream Republicans express embarrassment and regret over their part in the government shutdown, Tea Party supporters are reveling in their ability to cripple the government, even as they plan their next steps, according to Reeves.

If Gore, Romm and Reeves are even partially right, members of Congress will continue to find it difficult to use the tools of science, logic and negotiation to solve the nation’s serious problems.

4 thoughts on “Congress throwing away the keys to problem-solving

  1. Readers can Google “Koch ALEC Tea Party” to find a major source or the deniability epidemic. Add the names of your favorite politicians for even more information.

  2. Is kind of interesting . always considered myself a Reagan republican . Remember those years of Reagan and republicans being called extremists , war mongers , racists , etc etc . Now the left seems totally in denial and claim Reagan was better because he compromised. Talk about denial.

    Good grief .

    Global warming is real , it is happening ,but our air is getting cleaner , our rivers and lakes are also , and we are headed in the right direction . More needs to be done, and our economy and poor need not suffer. But blame the Tea party for Global warming ? The democrats just pulled an ad claiming Jan Angel was stopping mammograms and cancer screening , now she is causing global warming .

    I miss the democratic party when people of all faiths , races , and creeds were welcomed . God was not booed at their conventions and our problems got serious attention and not just the blame game and promoting fear of the world coming to an end by those who made a fortune promoting it .

  3. Richard Reeves, who wrote a book about President Reagan, still disagrees with many of Reagan’s policies and would still consider him extreme on many issues. But Reagan was not really against the government; he just wanted a government on his terms, according to Reeves. When Reeves brings up Reagan in contrast to the Tea Party, he is not praising Reagan but rather pointing out how politics has reached a new level of anti-government sentiment, a whole new extreme.

  4. Oh yes I totally agree Chris. Reeves states himself he is a liberal and wonders why he gets letters claiming he has a liberal bias . Of course he does and disagreeing with Reagan is a given.

    My point is the lack of compromise on the far left also , and those using Reagan today to attempt to further speak to only one side of the political problem , the right side . They have always claimed it was the fault of the right.

    There is an obvious left side that has lost its grasp on reality also, puts ideology over science ,and assumes government has to be used regardless of consequence ,quite extreme and my way or the highway politics.
    Yes the extremes have seemed to be running the show , and I agree with that as being a problem .

    I could use Clinton as you have here to show how extreme Obama and the left is also .

    Bill Clinton achievements of welfare reform , balancing the budget, don’t ask and don’t tell , would be considered balancing the budget on the backs of the poor, bigoted and extreme by the same folks who think there is only one side that has caused our government dysfunction. Negotiating with people claiming that your attempting to starve the poor, make people sick with dirty water and dirty air claiming the earth has only a few years left and promote feel good policies that do little or nothing , while claiming the other side is not willing to discuss the issues to me just gets frustrating and appears to only exasperate the problem of one side is the bad side .

    Compromise is not doing it ONLY the lefts way such as the Health Care Act now in place . One Party total support , one party totally not supporting it . The last time I believe such major legislation was so one sided was when Congress passed the 14th Amendment .

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