February 17th, 2014
02:28 PM ET

Zakaria: Both sides not equally at fault in Washington

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Fareed Zakaria

Watching the machinations in Washington over the last two weeks, it is now impossible to talk about how both political parties are to blame for the country's gridlock.

Consider what just happened on immigration. Now a majority of Americans support granting citizenship to illegal immigrants – by 81 percent in the most recent CNN poll – as well as enhanced border controls. The leadership of the Republican Party in both houses of Congress talked about a comprehensive reform package that would create a lengthy waiting time for citizenship – 13 years – and couple this with tougher enforcement.

Immigration was supposed to be ripe for common-sense reform. The public is for a compromise solution, policy wonks have proposed ways to make it work, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports it, the country's leading technology firms have been clamoring for it, senior Democrats and Republicans are all in favor. And yet it couldn't get past the central problem in Washington today - the extreme and obstructionist faction within the Republican Party - that cannot take yes for an answer.

The next time someone blames "both sides" for Washington's paralysis or issues a bland call for "leadership" to get us out of it, remember the case of immigration.

Watch the video for the full Take or read the Washington Post column.

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Topics: Fareed's Take • Politics

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soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. JB

    Another thing to keep in mind when people claim this is a Do Nothing Congress, it's not entirely accurate, They just don't do anything productive for the good of the Republic. They've made self interest, and graft leading to gridlock, into an art form. On the other hand the Congress isn't really to blame, it's us; we wanted people to do all that government stuff for us, and they have, but only to serve their best interest, (whoever is going to pay them the most for the vote) and now everyone seems surprised. Worst part...I bet 2/3, or more of them, get re-elected, because it too harrrrrrrd to select a new face that doesn't have $$$$ MILLIONS to market themselves on the idiot box.

    February 18, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Reply
    • Lazee boy

      The writing was on the wall at Obama's first meeting with Congress as POTUS. He said to the Republicans "I won – you go sit in the back seats"
      And he's been using his pen an d phone ever since............and all America's got from him is a free ride into 3rd world statehood!

      February 18, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Reply
      • banasy©

        Aren't you going to mention the Repubkican party's meeting on January 20th, 2009? You know, the one where they swore, among other things, to block anything Obama tries to do? Do you think that Obama wasn't aware if that meeting prior to his first meeting with Congress? Or the level of hostility he faces every single day?

        February 18, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
      • Rob A

        You obviously have not the tiniest clue as to what a third world country really is!!!!! Don't allow yourself to be panicked by the right wing nut jobs. Oh by the way with regards to immigration... what is the right going to do when Florida and Texas turn permanently blue??/

        February 24, 2014 at 11:16 am |
  2. al

    Zakaria looks constipated.
    If bottom of the barrel "news" organizations did not blindly support the D's with lies and smears,there would be no gridlock.The tide is turning,another '94 is in the works.

    February 18, 2014 at 7:15 pm | Reply
    • Lazee boy

      Bravo Al. Amen to that.

      February 18, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      Lol. Sure, okay.

      February 18, 2014 at 7:57 pm | Reply
    • lee

      white republicans/so called conservatives are looking for a re-run,an era when whites dominated the world.Those days are gone ,never to return,and quite frankly you are running scared because of all the nastiness that you have sprewed on the rest of the world.You think the rest of the world will now exact revenge on you, its really funny to your asses squirming,LOL!!

      February 19, 2014 at 11:33 am | Reply
    • Yankee Mike Bravo

      "If bottom of the barrel "news" organizations did not blindly support the D's with lies and smears,there would be no gridlock.The tide is turning,another '94 is in the works."

      Please specify a lie. Please specify a smear.
      Please explain how the GOP expects to win a majority of votes when it's waging a war on women, a war on the poor, a war on the middle class, a war on gays, a war on immigrants, a war on non-Christians, a war on education, a war on pensions, a war on the environment, a war on Social Security, a war on Medicare, a war on Wall St. regulations, etc., etc., etc.

      February 21, 2014 at 4:24 am | Reply
  3. chrissy

    Lol we can only hope @ banasy! And @ JB, absolutely! They have the work ethics of a toad and im sure thats giving them the benefit of the doubt! And most definitely "we the people" gotta take the blame since we keep voting them in time after time after time! Most of them have gotten so comfortable in their jobs they dont even care if we see their inaffectiveness!

    February 18, 2014 at 7:16 pm | Reply
  4. Sunshine

    Not difficult to understand. Even Poland's Walesa is confirming this.

    The U.S. elected a COMMUNITY ORGANIZER as president. The guy has no clue how to run a company, even less staff. He has no clue how to weed out good staff from the bad, as long as staff goes along with him. And you trust him with Iran, Syria, Egypt... the world, what else can go wrong?

    He is mocked and hated in almost every country, even in Islamic lands. He's managed to drag the U.S. down in the dust either through sheer incompetency or dishonesty, and this regardless of any sector.

    You voted for him, knowing full well his agenda, now suffer. Well deserved.

    February 18, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Reply
    • Lazee boy

      Like Fareed Z is going to do anything else but blame the Republicans! He's just as big a devious liar as his boss! Talk about bought and paid for! Phtttt!

      February 18, 2014 at 7:42 pm | Reply
    • Lazee boy

      Sunshine – it's always good to see intelligent comments from true patriots on here. Well said!

      February 18, 2014 at 7:49 pm | Reply
      • banasy©

        True patriots do not put party before country.

        February 18, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
    • banasy©

      Tea tested, Rush approved.

      February 18, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Reply
  5. chrissy

    Lmao @ banasy, you go girl! Guess sunshine is from a different country or she would know that the POTUS doesnt have the authority to "weed out unproductive members of congress" huh?

    February 18, 2014 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  6. chrissy

    Of course i highly suspect all those posts above are all the work of the same person (you know who i mean anyway im sure) lol. He never gets tired of that sad old game he plays does he? Sad sack! Lol

    February 18, 2014 at 8:14 pm | Reply
  7. banasy©

    Chrissy: I was talking to Lazee, mostly; It applies equally to Sunshine, however. Every time one hears "community organizer", you know that's a Rush talking point.
    It matters not. They've got no-one to offer. If they did, we'd have a GOP President, wouldn't we?

    February 18, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Reply
  8. chrissy

    Absolutely @ banasy! When the GOTP comes up with a viable candidate this is how its going to be. No point crying over spilt milk just suck it up and move on already! And if our POTUS doesnt have a "working team aka congress" then he can only do what he can only do! All other POTUSs have HAD the benefit of a team behind them and many have done a worse job! Look at the outcome of the 8 years prior to Obama! I wouldnt say GWB was a resounding success and he HAD a team.

    February 18, 2014 at 9:47 pm | Reply
  9. chrissy

    Oh and if you have to pick between "community organiser" and the "village idiot" which would you have running the country?

    February 18, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Reply
  10. chrissy

    Oops meant to say "until" the GOTP comes up with a viable candidate.

    February 18, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Reply
  11. Lance Chambers

    So, no more immigrants. So when the economy start to grow in a serious manner where is the labor going to come from? If there aren't any people to fill the job I guess the US will lose more jobs to foreign countries. Just what the 1% are seeking. Anyone see a pattern here?

    February 19, 2014 at 2:54 am | Reply
  12. chrissy

    Lol @ Lance Chambers, you cant be serious! The (real) unemployment rate is 12.5 and UNDEREMPLOYED is 23.1 in the US so i doubt we will run out of people to fill jobs! So no, i dont see a pattern here.

    February 19, 2014 at 4:21 am | Reply
  13. JJ in DC

    The simple reason for the "problems" in Washington is that the problem with a representative government is that it is representative. People one either side of the political spectrum who believe that democracy is about my way or the highway elect representatives who act that way (how else do they get re-elected.) The problems of DC do origniate here, they are sent to DC and largely do what they were elected to do.

    February 19, 2014 at 9:43 am | Reply
  14. chrissy

    @ JJ, are you referring to their special interest groups? Like those that are contributing large sums of money to their campaigns, all of course to insure their favortism? If you are then i wholeheartedly agree.

    February 19, 2014 at 10:24 am | Reply
  15. chrissy

    Doncha just love it when people play the race card?

    February 19, 2014 at 11:50 am | Reply
  16. chrissy

    Amen @ BOMBO and thats how it should be! If they enter illegally they should be deported! And thats how it SHOULD be here also. Do the crime you do the time! But....if people are trying to do it LEGALLY i dont understand WHY it should take 13 years? Snails are faster then that ya know! Dang!

    February 19, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Reply
  17. Rich

    "Now a majority of Americans support granting citizenship to illegal immigrants – by 81 percent in the most recent CNN poll – as well as enhanced border controls."

    A little more detail please about exactly what question was posed to them. I have not seen any recent poll results approaching these numbers. What I have seen is that many Americans support some sort of path to citizenship; Zakaria makes it sound like everyone supports just granting citizenship outright.

    Also, how many of those polled are Mexican-Americans who have a somewhat biased opinion in this?

    Let's admit it. Democrats are so strongly behind citizenship for these immigrants because they want the votes and they expect that they would receive the lion's share of them. Take that away and I can guarantee you they would not be so gung-ho about it.

    February 20, 2014 at 10:04 am | Reply
  18. chrissy

    Lol @ Rich, i cant and wont speak FOR anyone else, but for myself, i believe the SHOULD be a process! And it SHOULD be followed! More often than not, laws are created and unless its something that fits into the everyday here and now, it gets forgotten! And by that i mean it isnt enforced! There should be a process that is WORKABLE! Not one that is created to ignore the problem and just hope it goes away...or shelve it til it becomes someone elses problem. And thats the way im reading this, because 13 years just seems like a ridiculously long time! Unless theyre hoping it becomes someone elses problem? And if thats the case then im thinkin....why bother at all????

    February 20, 2014 at 11:17 am | Reply
  19. chrisrapier

    Who's to blame? Obviously the people that elected these people to represent them. Seriously, the problem isn't rooted in Washington DC – they problem is rooted in a public that has decided that ideological purity and stagnation is more important that compromise and progress.

    February 21, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Reply
  20. Allan Kinsman

    I love it when we do the same things the parties do. They point fingers at each other. Let us face a fact the system is and has evolved away from common sense. The American revolution came about for a number of reasons. Some of them came about due to a strong leadership of men and women wanting to influence their worlds because of an unjust situation. In human history injustice has been a serious mover not always accomplishing it's goal. What our focus should be away from finding out how many angels dance on the head of a pin and let congress balance the budget so individuals can get back to pursuing their happiness. If they won't do it we should use the vote to make it clear whether republican or democrat or independent their job is to protect and defend America not keep their buddies rich and get themselves there in doing it. Their job is to keep us solvent when they undertake this many arguments will vanish.

    February 24, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Reply
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