'Corrosive' Partisanship Drives DC's Gridlock

Divided government requires compromise, critic opines
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2011 9:27 AM CDT
President Barack Obama sits next to House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, left, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Saturday, July 23, 2011, in Washington, as they meet to discuss the debt.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – Washington's hyper-partisan gridlock is far worse than the usual political squabbling; in fact, this political breakdown "could be as corrosive to the political system as the possible financial default looming could be to the economy," writes Dan Balz in the Washington Post. Voters have chosen divided government "because the public doesn’t fully trust either party with the reins of power"—but divided government requires compromise to function, and partisanship isn't exactly greasing the wheels of compromise.

"Neither side is blameless for the current state of the negotiations, but it’s clear the president is closer to having public opinion on his side when it comes to the terms of an agreement," says Balz. Both sides have tried to use recent elections to claim mandates on their positions, but Balz points out that there have been repeated waves of power for both parties over the years. So with see-sawing elections, "That leaves it to those in office to govern," Balz concludes. "Only real leadership and real compromise can resolve the way out of this crisis." Click here for his full column.

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