Republicans and Democrats fundamentally disagree over serious issues and how the country should conduct its business, but in times past they were both able to put aside their differences and come to a consensus on how to govern.
That idea of consensus building and governing for the good of the American people seems to have become a thing of the past with the new Republican Party more out for sound bites and headlines than good governance.
From the Tea Party’s brinkmanship to Donald’s Trump’s extreme ideas on immigration, today’s Republican Party seems more focused on grabbing headlines and winning elections than actually governing.
In 1995-1996 the federal government shutdown for 27 days for the first time as President Bill Clinton and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich played a game of brinkmanship that had the whole country holding its breath.
Never before had politicians put their ideology ahead of the American people. The entire government of the United States was put on hold while two powerful men butted heads. Then, in 2013 it happened again as conservative factions attempted to defund Obamacare and Democrats refused to blink.
Fast forward to 2015 and history is about to repeat itself. This time it’s over Planned Parenthood and that’s something that simply would not have happened if Ronald Reagan was president.
Conservative Republicans are threatening to block a spending bill that would keep the government open because they want to defund Planned Parenthood over a series of anti-abortion videos released this summer.
Senior leaders realize the danger a government shutdown would pose to the American people, but rebellious lawmakers are intent on playing their game of chicken with the country’s economy, according to U.S. News And World Report.
Ron Reagan, the former president’s son, told Politico Magazine his father would never have considered such a dangerous action.
“The idea of shutting down the government because you’re peeved about Planned Parenthood, that’s not a thought that ever would have crossed his mind. The idea of a few million dollars going to an organization like that that does a lot of good work for people should be a pretext to shut down the government would just be unthinkable to him.”
In today’s media world ruled by Twitter and Facebook, sound bites make headlines and politicians are more interested in winning re-election than governing for the good of the American people.
Whether it was Reagan or Kennedy, the great politicians of the past would never have resorted to the brinkmanship of today’s leaders.
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) September 17, 2015
Michael Reagan agreed, telling Politico the fortieth president was a skilled negotiator who knew the value of reaching across the political aisle.
“My father was quite the negotiator, my father was quite the person who found a way to work with people instead of a way not to work with people. He didn’t walk into negotiations with Tip O’Neill yelling and screaming at Tip O’Neill.”
[Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]