What did we learn from the shutdown?: Other Views

Not much, perhaps.

5:06 PM, Oct. 21, 2013  |  Comments
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GOP must earn back public trust

The Republicans in Congress own most of the blame for Washington's latest dysfunction.

They forced the partial government shutdown and irresponsibly took the nation to the edge of a debt default.

For now, America has avoided a self-inflicted blow of scary proportions. The Treasury department continues to pay the nation's bills.

But another standoff is only a couple of months away. (...)

Trust in Washington is badly broken and can't be fixed with more stopgap measures and grandstanding. It's way past time to get things done, starting with an actual budget that sets spending priorities.

Wisconsin has three members of Congress on the conference committee tasked with working out a smart and workable 2014 budget. This includes House budget leader and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, along with U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, and Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh.

Unfortunately, Ryan and Johnson just voted against legislation to avoid default. The bipartisan agreement may have been flawed and thin. But it also was badly needed for the good of the economy. (...)

Would these guys really have preferred defaulting on America's debt and risking another recession? Thank goodness they didn't get their way.

- Wisconsin State Journal

Tea Party was right

Tea Party supporters are supposed to be disheartened by how the great shutdown saga turned out. We're back where we started, following an expense of political capital that achieved nothing, with polls showing damage to the Republican "brand." Worse, the balance of power in our representative government has permanently shifted toward the executive branch. (...)

The short attention span of the electorate limits the shelf life of every scandal to a news cycle or two. (...) No one is ever held accountable for anything. Top officials from the White House on down cheerfully admit their enormous departments are completely out of control - they learn about scandals by watching the TV news, just like you and me.

Certainly all of that is terrible and infuriating. But dispiriting to the Tea Party? Nonsense. Everything that happened over the past few weeks has been pure vindication for them. (...)

The shutdown didn't bring the reforms we were hoping for, but at least people did stand up this time. It wasn't just a bunch of empty talk and promises to put up a bit of resistance during the next budget battle, or maybe the one after that, or perhaps a few elections from now. There is a significant element of the current political class that was willing to stick to its guns, make some difficult votes, take some heat, and stand by their principles even after failing to get what they wanted. It's too bad there aren't more of them. But maybe there could be. It takes a lot of hard work, organization, spirit, and time to generate a political class willing to vote against its own collective interests, by reducing its power. That sounds more like a challenge than cause for despair.

- John Hayward, Redstate.com

Shutdown highlighted need for government

One of the important take­aways from the government's limited shutdown was this: While lots of people like to complain about the federal government, there is little agreement on what less government should look like. (...)

Americans now realize, thanks to the extremists in the U.S. House who were successful in achieving their shutdown goal, that the federal government provides numerous services and operates many, many institutions that the public relies on and wants. For years, some candidates have argued that government is the enemy and that entire federal agencies could be closed.

The United States certainly needs to get its finances in order. We're spending too much money, and government revenues are out of sync with the level of government Americans have come to expect. The solution is a combination of spending cuts and additional revenue. Those decisions, painful as they will be for both parties, need to be made in consultation and compromise.

We've seen this month how an economy in the early stages of recovery was shaken because a few Republicans were allowed to run amok.

It remains to be seen if a year from now Americans will remember all this when it's time to vote. But maybe they will finally realize that the government isn't the enemy. The true enemy is those who demonize government and consider it a victory when it is shut down.

- Des Moines Register

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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