It's absolutely outrageous that the government partially shut down early Tuesday morning. Those watching C-Span at that time did not see statesmen and stateswomen. They saw partisans trading slams and barbs at each other. This hyperpartisan talk even extends to the president of the United States.
Gov. Chris Christie, the Republican leader of New Jersey, who may be a candidate for U.S. president, offered some advice we agree with. Politicians, he said, need to start talking to each other, rather than at each other. What he means is that pols need to sit down and talk things out with other pols, free of rancor and with shared respect. That is impossible to do under the current, preferred policy of talking at each other, whether on C-Span while "debating," or on ideologically friendly cable news shows, or talk radio, or with partisan rants on websites.
Get together pols, work this out. Declare off limits the recent flurry of talking-at-you slams. Set two guidelines:
The first is that it was completely unacceptable for Republicans to use the debt limit ceiling to try to attack Obamacare, which is the law of the land.
The second is an acknowledgment that Obamacare is a law badly in need of reform. Its unveiling has been handled in a mediocre fashion by the administration, which has also handed out exemptions to the powerful, including to business and Congress itself. A key problem is that no one really knows what Obamacare entails, and how it will work. There have been more than 20,000 pages of regulations added to the law.
But it's the law, and Republicans need to accept that, and drop it from debt limit talks. At this point -- even if the shutdown has ended -- pols from both parties need to get together and talk to each other. Hash out a permanent debt limit deal. After that, work on improving the health care law.
That's what we pay these pols to do.