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Letters: Blame game

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  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Oct. 18, 2013 4:16 a.m.

    Exactly right Craig.

    We would rather find a way to blame the other side than to actually understand a problem, what really caused it, and how to fix it.

    Yes. Our politicians/parties makes some major mistakes. And should be called on them. Just be consistent.

    I find that our politicians/parties talk like they are night and day difference, but govern very similarly. It amazes me how politically divided we are.

    Generally, our elected officials are good, patriotic people who want the best for America.
    - including both Bush's, Clinton and Obama

  • embarrassed Utahn! Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 5:23 a.m.

    "thinking seriously" is something all Utah voters should do every election. Based on what I see, people vote based on two criteria here, with no need to look further. "Thinking seriously" is a great suggestion!

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Oct. 18, 2013 5:39 a.m.

    There are theories and then there are facts. It is nice the be fair minded and to give blame to everyone for the nightmare we just awoke from but the facts don't bear out that fair assessment.

    Early in the year, the House passed a budget and the Senate passed a different budget. The way the process has worked over the past two centuries in our country is that representatives from the House and representatives from the Senate get together to negotiate there respective budgets. Both sides take tough positions and serious, sometimes emotional, negotiations take place. It's hard work. That's what legislators get paid to do.

    But over the past year the House has rejected 18 different offers from the Senate to sit down and negotiate. In July of this year Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Boehner met to discuss the coming deadlines and Speaker Boehner agreed that the House would pass a clean CR and not hold up the necessary debt ceiling increase but then he, and his partners in the House, changed their mind, broke their promise. He admitted that to George Stepanopolis, it's recorded on video. Those are facts.

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 6:53 a.m.

    Craig, I share your sentiment, but worry that any replacement might be worse than the incumbent, if that's possible. It's hard to imagine, given the incumbents' performance in the latest debacle, but there seems to be no end to how far out on the wing some people can go to out-extreme the incumbent. Mike Lee being the prime example. Is anybody left in the middle? Oops, I shouldn't have used the word "left," at least not in this forum, right?

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 7:31 a.m.

    Joe Blow

    You say Craig is right. Yet you do a pretty good job of blaming the Republicans yourself. Maybe try blaming both sides, which is the truth, and blame many Presidents and Congresses and then everyone can sit down to talk with a clean slate. Otherwise it will continue to be finger pointing politics. And as I think Craig alluded to, the ulitmate responsiblity is we the voters. I'd vote out every incumbant, but the trouble is that when asked, most people say they like the one Congressman or Senator they have. And that is why they got elected in the first place. Term limits was our salvation when it passed. However, unfortunately the Supreme Court let us down. I wish they would have overlooked the Constitution on that one, as they seem to do on other issues. The country would have been much better off.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Oct. 18, 2013 8:06 a.m.

    "Yet you do a pretty good job of blaming the Republicans yourself. Maybe try blaming both sides, which is the truth"

    You must not read many of my posts. Read my first post on this thread. Did you feel I was blaming the GOP?

    Oh yes, there is plenty of blame to go around. And, as an independent that votes both ways (heck, I voted for GW once) I have no problem blasting both parties.

    Now, I will correct verifiable misinformation when I see it. But, I dont see that as blame.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 8:14 a.m.

    Not only do we need to seriously consider it -- we need to DO it!

    But as Curmudgeon points out, we need to be very careful what we find to replace them.

  • 2 bit Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 8:48 a.m.

    It seems like our political "leaders" only care about who gets the blame.

    Every leadership training I've received emphasized that blame is the LAST thing a leader should be concerned with when trying to solve a problem. Whenever the conversation turns to placing blame... it's his job to get it back on track and away from the blame topic (because once the group starts focusing on blame... fixing the problem goes out the window and CYA becomes everybody's first priority).

    You would think people their age, supposed "leaders" with integrity... would know that. We should focus on electing people who are real leaders, instead of the best looking, best talker, best blame placer, best campaigner, etc.

    Any leader worth his salt knows placing blame is a useless investment of time and effort. But those in politics think it's "Priority #1".

    I get why the media takes that angle. It's kinda their job to blame somebody and make a story out of it. But you would think our political leaders would have at least a modicum of leadership ability and resist the temptation to score political points first... and run the nation as almost their last priority.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    Unfortunately Craig, they were not elected to represent all the people (at least in the House) but only the gerrymandered and most motivated primary voters.

    Two amendments to the Constitution would make most of our dysfunction disappear:

    1.Make congressional districts resemble recognizable geometric shapes.

    2.A pure Balanced Budget Amendment – by “pure” I mean one free from any ideological and arbitrary limits on government spending. If the people want full-on socialism, fine… just don’t make my grandkids pay for your new hip.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    The problem, as I see it, is a turf war. Instead of abiding by the authority delegated to each part of government, the Senate and the President have each carved out the authority that they want.

    The President has no legislative authority. His job is to execute the laws passed by Congress. If he's has a snit, he can veto bills passed by Congress, but that is the limit of his "legislative" authority.

    The Senate cannot originate any revenue bill. ObamaCare is a revenue bill, according to the Supreme Court which declared that it is a TAX and a tax is revenue to the government; therefore, the Senate has no authority to originate a tax bill. They can confer and they can add amendments, but they cannot subtract anything from a revenue bill from the House.

    The House is given the responsibility to levy taxes because it is directly responsible to those who pay the taxes - the people.

    When the President learns his duty and the Senate learns its duty, the House can then represent the will of the people who have clearly stated that they do not want Obama's and Reid's ObamaCare tax.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:18 a.m.

    ECR: Even if we all accept your version of the "facts" as truthful, they are nonetheless not ALL the facts. They are just a bunch of cherry-picked facts that you chose to support your position.

    The GOP can likewise come up with an entirely different set of "facts" that will show (if just taken by themselves), that the President and the Senate Democrats are solely to blame for the recent shutdown.

    That is the main problem. Each side wants to just look at a small subset of facts that support their current position and totally ignore any facts that don't. Everyone just ends up talking past each other, don't talk with each other, and the problems remain unsolved.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:29 a.m.

    I refer you to your post on the Michael Gerson piece today. You went off on Fox News, and talk radio. If not for those outlets, the conservative message would never get out. We conservatives hear the liberal/Democrat line all the time. Both Fox and radio tell us what the Democrats are saying and doing. However, on the mainstream media outlets, the conservative message is rarely given anything other than contempt and blame. Which is the reason for this letter "the Blame Game." And the reason a lot of people believe that Ted Cruz and others are such bad intentioned people.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:35 a.m.

    Tyler, I hope you get your first wish. This would give the House to the Democrats and defuse the tea party for good.

    On the second one, it would be a disaster, as has been explained so many times I'm surprised anyone still takes this idea seriously.

    As for blame in the recent shenanigans in Washington, the blame on this one falls squarely where the majority placed it, with the tea party and the wimpy GOP leadership. Throwing a tantrum when you can't get your way through constitutional means (legislation in both houses, Supreme Court challenge, election results) and holding a gun to the nation's head (and the world economy's to boot) are tactics that deserve to be thoroughly criticized, which even Orrin Hatch is doing now, although during the mess he was sure standing up for the tea party. What courage.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    Tyler D

    Gerrymandering has been used by Democrats and judges to try to make districts represent a certain constituency (such as black people) for decades now. It has worked both ways for Republicans too. As for "motivated" voters, those are the people I think should have the most say so. Not voting is in itself a vote, and part of the process. You can't pick and choose your Congress and complain that it isn't representing the people just because it isn't the party or ideology you like. There would be none of this complaining about gerrymandering if the Democrats were in majority. At least not by Democrats. I do agree that it would be a good idea to make congressional districts more sane looking. However, then you would once again have liberals and judges complaining that minorities are being locked out, which is what started the whole thing in the first place.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    JoeCapitalist2 - You may think I just "cherry picked" facts but what I was trying to illustrate was that in the case of the shutdown the blame is entirely on the Republicans. And not allo of the Republicans. The Speaker and the rest of the House Republicans let their names be run through the mud because a handful of irresponsible, immature Tea Party legislators decided the make trouble. If the Republicans can similarly illustrate that the President and the Senate Democrats are solely to blame for the recent shutdown, then I would gladly listen to or read their points. I would be happy to debate them on those issues.

    Certainly both parties are guilty of not communicating well but this recent issue lies squarely on the shoulders of the Republicans - the Tea Party members for taking up the action and the moderate and responsible Republicans for not standing their ground against the trouble makers. Speaker Boehner was more worried about getting a majority of Republicans to vote for something than he was for doing the right thing. In the end, a majority of House Republicans voted against the action that a majority of Senate Republicans voted for.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 10:19 a.m.

    ECR and JoeCapitalist2...

    RE: "the shutdown the blame is entirely on the Republicans"...
    "recent issue lies squarely on the shoulders of the Republicans"...
    Etc...

    Still only worried about who gets the blame... you don't get it do you?

    We are trying to move on PAST that. But you guys won't move off establishing who gets the blame. As if that fixes something.

    You will probably never get it, so I give up.

    The rest of the adults in the room are going to discuss actual solutions to our problems. You two can keep bickering about who gets the blame.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 18, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    @Kent C. DeForrest – “On the second one, it would be a disaster, as has been explained so many times I'm surprised anyone still takes this idea seriously.”

    I have yet to hear a good reason why (but I’m open if your argument is sound).

    As long as the amendment was done intelligently with allowances for things like war, national emergency, perhaps even some degree of “monetary policy” during tough economic times – these are all things that we should be having a national discussion.

    What needs to stop is making transfer payments (Medicare, SS, etc…) on the credit card. We should pay for what we want.

    No less than Jefferson thought this (and the slavery compromise) was the major defect in our Constitution.

    @SCfan – “You can't pick and choose your Congress and complain”

    I agree with your point (about how it started) but that doesn’t make it right. But my point is we are not picking our congressmen… they are picking us. That’s my complaint.

    Fix redistricting and let the chips of democracy fall where they may… no one group deserves disproportionate representation.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    The Blame Game is the most popular and effective weapon in politics and just about every other competition that organizations participate in. Religions blame evil on the Devil. Business blames failure on the employees, Doctors blame death on the will of God.

    In every case, the blame game is the way of distracting your critics from the real cause of your failure.

    Personal responsibility for activities and actions is only popular when applied to individuals, never to groups. Groups never seem to take responsibility upon themselves.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Oct. 18, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    The blame game is the last resort of people trying to escape responsibility and accountability for their choices and we haven't seen anything yet but we will when things continue to decline in America.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Oct. 18, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    "You went off on Fox News, and talk radio. If not for those outlets, the conservative message would never get out."

    didn't exactly go off on fox news.. I stated "Those on the right are convinced that - If its not Fox, its liberal and that Fox is fair and balanced."

    By your comment, I think you proved my point perfectly. You actually seem to agree with me completely.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Oct. 18, 2013 11:13 a.m.

    2 bits said, "Still only worried about who gets the blame... you don't get it do you?"

    I totally get it. I know there is disharmony in Washington and I know that the blame for that can be shared by all. But NOTHING can compare to the fiasco we've just been through that was manufactured by the far right wing of the Republican Party. And Craig McKenna's letter, written on the heels of this costly circus act, is attempting, through soft and reasonable language seemingly targeting the larger issue, is nothing more than an attempt to share blame for this one specific irresponsible act.

    Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, political opposites, have both pledged to never shut down the government again for any reason. Ted Cruz has stated he will use any means necessary, even a shutdown, to get what he is after. Which one of these three "doesn't get it"?

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 11:21 a.m.

    Tyler D

    Interesting point that you say the congressmen are picking us. Hope you believe that applies to the Senate and President too, because it's the same power that dictates who we get for nominees. Money. I'd be happy to see some logical congressional district lines drawn that all people and states would have to adhere to. However, it would take all 50 states to agree, and probably a Constitutional amendment to accomplish. Not likely we will ever see that.

    ECR

    I do have to say that it is ironic that you talk about irresponsible and immature Republicans on a site that is trying to help us all get beyond the "Blame Game". Think you might be part of the problem?

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    Too funny now that the tea party and republicans realize that they fooled very few (faux groupies), they want to put it behind them and not discuss the facts that led to this and move on.

    Boener lied, then changed the rules so that only he or cantor could call a vote, yep it was Obama...Not.

    Opinions are not facts, the radio uses very little in the way of facts.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 12:28 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    "The Senate cannot originate any revenue bill. "

    True, but they can offer amendments, which is what they were doing to the CR Republicans were sending them at the end of the month. Both chambers control the budget.

    "but they cannot subtract anything from a revenue bill from the House."

    The amendment process allows them to subtract things too. Either way, them making any change to a bill requires a further vote by the House.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 18, 2013 12:42 p.m.

    @ECR:
    "Those are facts."

    Here's some actual facts, not made-up ones...

    The House is tasked per the US Constitution with originating government revenue raising bills (Article 1.7). That would seem to include appropriation bills. So, if the Senate disagrees with the House funding bill, the bill, with Senate disagreements, should be sent to a joint committee for resolution and the committee should not emerge until an agreement is reached. The Senate should not be creating their own revenue (appropriation) bills. Harry Reid should know that. The president had no say, zero, nil, nada, in the bill except to accept Congress' bill or veto it. So, you see, if there is a government shutdown the onus falls to the president. Neither the House or the Senate can shut down the government simply because these two bodies are in a different branch of government. The government can only be shut down by order of the Executive (the President) in the Executive Branch of government.

    And here's some more facts... the House sent several funding bills to the Senate which Harry Reid would not even act on.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 12:53 p.m.

    atl134,
    I think the point was...

    #1. That funding bills come from the House (not the Senate) according to the Constitution.
    #2. That the Senate Leader (Harry Reid) announcing to the media and the House that the Senate would not read or vote on anything the House sent them... was bad for compromise and bad for progress, and added to the log jam instead of relieving it.

    But regardless... it's over now. I hope both sides learned something from it. So we don't have to go through the same thing in 3 months.

    A sign they didn't learn anything from it... the Senate went on vacation, and the House has conducted no business and had no votes since Wednesday.

    Is there any doubt we will be in bicker-and-blame, posture-and-protest mode right up until the NEXT crisis??

    We need new leaders. Ones that will see their job as a JOB... not a game, or a competition.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 1:17 p.m.

    Craig's letter talked about "voting out all incumbents" certainly a sane response to the past few weeks of insanity. However not one comment has followed up on that suggestion. Let's see Craig is from American Fork that would probably mean that he suggests voting out Jason Chaffetz who voted against the compromise...an understandable response in my mind. Or is he suggesting that we vote out Jim Matheson who voted for the compromise? Just "vote them all out" is so non specific. We still have a looney in our neighborhood driving around with a "Fire Pelosi" bumper sticker. Like anyone in Utah could unseat a California rep by putting on a bumper sticker!

    No I suspect that Craig suggest a vote that amounts to a shot across the bow of all Representatives to get their attention. Two problems there: 1. The current districts allow a 91% retention rate in the House due to district drawing cleverness. 2. Lots of people loved what Jason or Jim did and will most likely vote to retain them.

    I suggest Craig just stick to the "Don't Tread on Me" poster in his window and leave it at that.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 18, 2013 1:45 p.m.

    Isn't how ironic that while the comments started off well enough, they quickly slide right back into the silly partisan chatter... only one side to blame.... the other blameless.

    Its kind of like when you have kids that get into a fight... and both parents do all they can to shield their kids from responsibility, rather then holding their own responsible for their actions. Its always the other ones fault... regardless. It your team losses the game... its the refs fault... its not that the team had a bad game plan.

    Many talk about others needing to be responsible, but seldom take responsibility for their own or their peoples own actions. What would be ever so much more meaningful is for each side to address their own culpability..... but that will never happen. Its all about winning - and not being responsible.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 18, 2013 1:50 p.m.

    @wrz – “The House is tasked per the US Constitution with originating government revenue raising bills (Article 1.7)”

    There’s a lot of confusion on this issue.

    First, Obamacare had nothing (zero, nil, nada) to do with the annual appropriations bill. The House Appropriations Bill was not providing (or reducing) any funding related to Obamacare as the law has its own dedicated (not reauthorized every year) revenue stream.

    The House chose (unprecedented in history) to address a previously passed law by adding amendments to the annual appropriation bill targeting Obamacare (e.g., delay implementation, eliminate medical device tax, etc…). There’s a constitutional process for passing, amending and repealing laws on the books and this is not it.

    Imagine if Pelosi (dealing with a Republican Senate and President) chose to do this to a Republican favorite law – FOX et al would be going ballistic and calling for her impeachment.

    Again – Obamacare… nothing to do with appropriations. This was all the House (as Boehner admitted in his This Week interview on October 6th).

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 2:00 p.m.

    You should get blamed if you blog for years about shutting down government as the tea party and Heritage foundation. That failed tantrum is their permanent legacy.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Oct. 18, 2013 3:17 p.m.

    Let's see if this letter passes the smell test?

    "Barack Obama" is the President of the United States -- ALL of us,
    Even if you didn't vote for him, or agree with him.?

    HE has the votes.

    BTW - if this about the ACA (or Obamacare if you will) and the radicals who shutdown the Government to get their way [Obamacare repealed and unfund everything it they don't get their way?]

    I remind the letter writer --
    It was also about the votes in the House,
    in the Senate,
    and in the Supreme Court,
    which ALREADY passed it into law.

    Same smell test.

    [Me thinks it fails the smell test.]

  • rabbut Ogden, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 4:51 p.m.

    It was new members of congress who got this whole thing started, such as Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. I don't see how voting out incumbents helps when it is the new members who are causing the problem. Also, to cast blame equally is ridiculous and shows a bias toward fairness instead of toward truth. Democrats wanted a clean bill to vote on and if that is too much for certain radical rightists, then perhaps the problem lies with the extremists. I find that it is almost entirely Republicans across the board saying that their is equal blame, but there is no evidence of this and I haven't seen anything factual, informed and substantial to back up this claim.

    This was a Republican shutdown instigated by new congressional tea party members functioning on the hope that economic sabotage was enough to further entrench themselves as conservative heroes, which is not good for the country, but plays well in their gerrymandered districts.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2013 5:20 p.m.

    It's not "over". The Senate has no authority to originate a revenue bill. Article 1, Section 7 states: "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills."

    What is an "amendment"?

    Look at the "Amendment Process" in Article V. It is not a "minor" process. Harry Reid cannot remove something from the Constitution nor can he add something to the Constitution unless a suprer majority of the House agrees and 75% of the States agrees. Does he think that he can "amend" a bill from the House simple by removing the words that he does not like? Where did he learn to read?

    When we are taxed, we have the full expectation of having full representation from the House. We should not have to worry that Harry Reid will table a bill from the House or that Obama will shut down the government rather than face the fact that the people have rejected his ObamaCare TAX!

    Either we have a Supreme Law of the Land, or we do not. Obama and Reid reject the Constitution. Many posters have also rejected the Constitution.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 18, 2013 10:41 p.m.

    @Tyler D:
    "The House chose (unprecedented in history) to address a previously passed law by adding amendments to the annual appropriation bill..."

    All previously passes laws need funding of some sort or another. That's a prime responsibility of the House.

    "There's a constitutional process for passing, amending and repealing laws on the books and this is not it."

    Tell that to Obama who delayed the business mandate for a year. All the House asked for was the same treatment for the individual mandate.

    "Imagine if Pelosi..."

    I try to imagine Pelosi taking a long walk on Fisherman's Wharf.

    "Again 'Obamacare' nothing to do with appropriations."

    Then, why was Harry Reid so upset about the House bill that defunded Obamacare? You're not making alotta sense.

    @rabbut:
    "It was new members of congress..."

    They went to Washington to do with will of their electorate. That's good statesmanship.

    "This was a Republican shutdown..."

    There's no Republican in the Executive Branch. The Executive Branch leader (Obama) is the only person who can shut the government down. No one in the House or Senate can issue a shutdown order. Get a clue.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Oct. 19, 2013 9:21 a.m.

    @Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah

    It's not "over".

    Either we have a Supreme Law of the Land, or we do not. Obama and Reid reject the Constitution. Many posters have also rejected the Constitution.
    5:20 p.m. Oct. 18, 2013

    ========

    ACA (Obamacare)
    Was passed by the House,
    passed by the Senate,
    signed by the President,
    and upheld by the Supreme Court,
    (and doubly-supported by the public with Obama's re-election I might add).

    It's over.

    It is THE law.
    If you don't like it, get the votes and change the law,
    but your holding the Country hostage to get what you want IS un-Constitutional in each and everyway.

    It's over.

    Maybe next time you'll come up with a BETTER plan, and play by the rules (i.e., the Constitution).

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    Mr. Obama's mantra in his "post-partisan" world is: We won, do it my way. Compromise means do it my way. He has made it clear that he is not every Americans' president, he is the Democrat voters' president. The founders concern was the tyranny of the majority which Mr. Obama exemplifies. With a sovereign debt at $17 trillion and rising, future generations are being sold into economic slavery so that the president can continue to buy votes with entitlements.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 11:50 a.m.

    re: Mountanman 10/18

    "The blame game is the last resort..."

    Agreed. That and governing by crisis is getting really old.

    re: JoeBlow 10/18

    **didn't exactly go off on fox news.. I stated "Those on the right are convinced that - If its not Fox, its liberal and that Fox is fair and balanced."**

    Concur. Its amazing to see so many convinced and conditioned there is only 1 "pure" source for news. That said, I wonder what the base thought when Fox News Sunday (on 10/13) said the GOP lives in a bubble controlled by Conservative Southern White Men.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    per Open Minded Mormon (earlier this morning)...

    If memory serves, M R posted numerous times that he was behind SCOTUS upholding the legality of ACA.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Oct. 21, 2013 4:16 p.m.

    "stupid is as stupid does" ~ Forrest Gump

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 7:43 a.m.

    Time to get out of daily Hannity blame when your side blows up and will not take accountability for action planned for months. Lets blame everyone is also a recent spin.