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 (85 Responses)
  1. chrissy

    Whoa! 13 years? That sounds like a ridiculously long time! Why would it take that long, seriously?

    February 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
    • j. von hettlingen

      The GOP have good company when it comes to the number of years a foreigner has to live in the country, where he seeks citizenship. Switzerland requires at least 12 years of residence, before the applicant can be considered.

      February 19, 2014 at 8:09 am |
  2. chrissy

    Ok after reflecting on that post, i realized i should consider the source. That source of course being Congress. Considering THEIR track record of getting ANYTHING accomplished i see why they would think all other government agencies might be as incompetent as they've been! Lets hope that again, they are wrong.

    February 17, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
    • Allan Kinsman

      I agree, as long as congress comes up with the idea perhaps we should run it past someone who can solve a problem.

      February 17, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
  3. bobcat2u

    What's amazing to me is how one party can be so splintered in to so many groups and believe that they can effectively govern. On the other side you have a unified group who show a great deal of empathy towards the masses. Personally, I believe the latter has a much better grasp of the needs we face today. But then again, that is just one man's opinion.

    And hello chrissy, long time no see.

    February 17, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
  4. chrissy

    Well HELLOOOOO @ bobcat! So very, very nice to see you my dear friend! And yes i agree, time for them to get it together and realise that teamwork is the key. There is no "I" in team and Together Everyone Achieves More! And as easy as it was to elect them to their positions it will be equally easy to replace them!

    February 17, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
  5. bobcat2u

    You're right chrissy, they were easy to be put in there. It's up for debate though on how easy it will be to correct those mistakes. Since so many people want to vote along party lines regardless of the candidate, it seems we will be stuck with obstructionists for a long time to come. I'm beginning to believe it's just a pipe dream to expect cooperation from our parties.

    February 17, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
  6. chrissy

    I hear ya @ bobcat. And its so dang easy to educate yourself on candidates these days. You would think people would take advantage and research BEFORE they vote wouldnt ya?

    February 17, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
  7. chrissy

    Guess its still easier to sit around and blame ONE guy than to take the responsibility for dumb voting habits huh? Lol

    February 17, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
  8. bobcat2u

    Yeah, you said it all right there. I had gone over to TJI and I see JR has been having a good ole time. It's a sad commentary when a person is having a conversation with himself using multiple alter egos. Has any of the rest of the gang shown up here ? I really miss all you guys.

    February 17, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
    • banasy©

      I miss you too, Rawr. I don't find myself over here very often because I have encountered the same problems I had at TJI: inability to post.

      February 17, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
  9. chrissy

    Occasionally @ bobcat. Would you like me to text the other 2 members of your fanclub and tell them youre here and ask them to join us? Lol. I know theyve missed you lots. Oh and btw the *tool* posts here too!

    February 17, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
  10. chrissy

    And my grams used to say "its ok to talk to yourself, but its when you answer yourself people should worry lol!"

    February 17, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
  11. bobcat2u

    Wow, my fan club has grown by leaps and bounds. I thought I was the only member. LOL. It would be great to see everyone again.

    February 17, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
  12. chrissy

    Lol i looovvve playin comedy cupid!

    February 17, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
    • bobcat2u

      But you do it so well chrissy. lol

      February 17, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
  13. banasy©

    Congress makes me utterly sick. A middle-school council would be more efficient with less divisiveness. Vote ALL of the perpetual campaigners out. They're useless.

    February 17, 2014 at 8:31 pm |
    • bobcat2u

      Totally agree. This has absolutely got to be the most obstructionist congresses in the history of this country. There has got to be some way that we the little people can get a term limit discussion going that will result in a vote. After all, the government is supposed to "For the people, "By" the people."

      February 17, 2014 at 8:42 pm |
  14. bobcat2u

    Hey banasy, It is so good to see you too. I haven't done a lot of posting on CNN in a long time now. I've been over on the Yahoo site aggravating the hell out them over there. You think there were a lot of strictly anti Obama people on TJI ? That's a drop in the bucket compared to Yahoo. But hopefully your posting issues will straighten out so we can all get together again.

    February 17, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
    • banasy©

      I may have to head to Yahoo. There are people who suffer from acute ODS everywhere. I just laugh at the hypocrisy if it all.

      February 17, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
    • bobcat2u

      I definitely have been having a ball messing with them over there. One thing over there though, is a lot more juvenile name calling. It makes them even madder when I ask if they are able to conduct a grown up conversation. It cracks me up.

      February 17, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
  15. chrissy

    Lol ty @ bobcat! And ya know aint it just amazing how many people believe Obama has control over every miserable thing in the world??? Too bad he didnt know he was Superman BEFORE he ran for POTUS huh? What a downgrade for a job sheesh!

    February 17, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
    • bobcat2u

      I know chrissy. I can just imagine the progress that would have been made if he had a sensible congress to work with.
      Over on Yahoo, the media is stirring the pot again over when the president first initiated the stimulus package. The Obama haters are out in droves over there. So of course I had to stir them up a little. A little thing I call fun.

      February 17, 2014 at 8:53 pm |
  16. dazzle ©

    I heard you guys were hanging out over here. How are you? We just got back from a skiing weekend in Vail and I am glad to be home. Don't get me started on Congress.

    February 17, 2014 at 9:07 pm |
    • bobcat2u

      Hello dazzle
      I'm glad you were able to jump in over here. It seems like forever that I've talked to you. Hope everything is well with you.

      February 17, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
  17. chrissy

    Yea ive seen quite a bit of that Obama hatin lately! And the least surprising part of it is....most of them NEVER voted even! Kinda hard to take complaints seriously if the complainers refuse to be participants and do their duty to their country ya know?

    February 17, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
  18. chrissy

    Lol @ dazzle when did we END with congress? A viscious cycle ya know! Hopefully people will be more educated the next go around huh? Vote responsibly i mean. It isnt hard to get the downlow on the candidates these days so maybe people will be sick enough of the "business as usual" batch we've had and vote in a group who have some good work ethics, instead of "no work ethics at all!"

    February 17, 2014 at 9:20 pm |




















    February 17, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
  20. bobcat2u

    The first big step will be to get that T-party out. Then start on the career people that are as old as Methuselah. Then find some way to enact term limits. Then we will be on the right track. I think too, if some of those perks and enti tlements were removed, it wouldn't be as attractive to the wannabe lifers.

    February 17, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
  21. chrissy

    Question for you @ bobcat. Doesnt one have to be a "natural citizen" to run for POTUS? And natural would mean "born in the US" correct? If that is true how can that tea party tool, Ted Cruz, even consider running for POTUS???

    February 17, 2014 at 9:40 pm |
  22. Ferhat Balkan

    The GOP is made up of ignorant greedy people. They'll say no to anything, as long as their deep pockets are filled with $$$ and the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. They make as much sense as their affiliated FOX News. I'm sick of it.

    February 17, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
  23. bobcat2u

    You know, I've been asking the same question chrissy. It's amazing that with Obama, it was the most illegal plan ever conceived. But now with this T-party darling, it's not the same. Hypocrisy at it's finest.

    February 17, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
    • banasy©

      The same reason McCain was able to run. Mom is an American citizen.

      February 18, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
      • bobcat2u

        That's true banasy, but look at all the grief that was given over the "allegations" of him not being born in the US. Gotta love that double standard.

        February 18, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
      • bobcat2u

        Correction : All the grief Obama was given.

        February 18, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
      • bobcat2u

        Meant to say All the grief Obama was given.

        February 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
  24. chrissy

    Lmao @ bobcat i hear ya! But ya know i think his fan club has dwindled drastically lately!

    February 17, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
  25. BOMBO

    I'm throwing the BS flag Fareed. The 81 percent figure from the CNN/ORC poll refers specifically to the response to a leading question worded "residents who have been here for years, speak English and are willing to pay back taxes." The exact same poll gives a much more even split on dealing with generic illegal immigrants.

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics...

    February 17, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
    • banasy©

      Do you have much of an illegal immigration problem in Canada, BOMBO?

      February 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
    • BOMBO

      There is some banasy, any industrialized country has people sneaking in. There is practically no talk, however, of giving citizenship to anyone who sneaks in regardless of how long they've been here. That debate is simply not happening here.

      February 19, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
  26. chrissy

    Lol @ BOMBO, have you ever been a participant in these polls even? Because ive never been asked nor has anyone i know been asked, to EVER participate. Leads me to believe that ALL polls are Lies, damn lies, and statistics....lol.

    February 17, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
  27. chrissy

    Lol @ bobcat, i just read all that crap about the stimulus. Funny though, not one word about GWBs bank bailout stimulus! Amazing isnt it? And that was FREE money to the very ones who were responsible for the economic recession that we have all (with the exception of a piddly small group...1% i believe) that is! How disgusting is that? Sheesh! If ya wanta slam one Prez on presidents day you might as well slam em all!

    February 17, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
  28. chrissy

    Oops shoulda read have all "experienced" that is!

    February 18, 2014 at 12:22 am |
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