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Charles Linderman, Carrington, N.D., Published October 12 2013

Letter: Chance to make changes in 2014

Recent stories about the government shutdown depict Republicans versus Democrats as if there is a standoff between two opposing hardline viewpoints. Several editorial cartoons show an elephant and a donkey displaying equal ignominy. That does not square with fact.

The blame is on a group of hardline tea party Republicans in the U.S. House. They consider “compromise” to be a dirty word. They are the ones who said they would shut down the government if they can’t get their way. That is called extortion. President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress have made no such threats.

Their next extortionist threat is to destroy the United States’ credit rating and threaten the world economy by refusing to let the U.S. pay its debts. Raising the debt ceiling does not increase the debt. It makes it possible to pay bills that are already accrued. The president cannot give in to such despicable tactics. If he did, what would the irrational tea party demand next?

Recall that many Demo-crats had great disagreement with President George W. Bush. Yet Democrats did not resort to extortion, even when they won majorities in the Congress. There were many moderate Democrats in the Congress, like Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota and Stephanie Herseth of South Dakota. Many of these moderates were replaced in the 2010 election. In 2012, more votes were cast for Democratic congressional candidates than for Republicans. The Republican majority in the House is a result of gerrymandering, not voter preference. We are now reaping the weeds sown in those elections.

I don’t know how this fiasco will end. But I do know the longer-term solution. All U. S. House seats will be on the ballot next year.