August 6th, 2008
05:47 PM ET

What's better: gridlock or one-party control?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/06/art.capital.flower.gi.jpg caption=" Senate Democrats are hoping the 2008 presidential election could give them a big majority."]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

All eyes in political circles these days seem to be focused on the race between Barack Obama and John McCain, but the battle for the Senate could end up having as big an impact as the presidential race.

Democrats could win a filibuster-proof majority of 60 seats in the Senate in November. If they do, it will be the first time that's happened since 1977. The so-called "Magic 60" would mean a fast track for the Democrats' agenda. They already enjoy a substantial majority in the House, and if the polls are accurate they stand to pick up more seats there as well come November.

Add to that the possibility that Barack Obama becomes the next president, and the stage is set for a Democratic deluge: Legislation, judicial appointments, you name it – will go through Congress like bacon through a goose.

The good news is the federal government might actually get something done. This would be in sharp contrast to the gridlock, finger-pointing and obstructionism that have paralyzed our government for years. The bad news is: what if they don't do the right things? Our Washington politicians have a long history of disappointing us, and as a result, a lot of people think gridlock is better than no gridlock.

However, the nation's problems have become so large and far-reaching that we may no longer be able to afford the luxury of a government that does nothing. If the Democrats hit the trifecta in November, I guess we'll all just have to pray that they don't make things worse than they already are.

Here’s my question to you: Which is better: gridlock or one party controlling Congress and the White House?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Dennis from Buffalo, New York writes:
We have had gridlock and an abuse of power for the last 8 years. I'm willing to try one-party rule for the next term to see if least something can get done. With so many pressing issues being dumped on whoever gets elected, the last thing they need is to have to deal with the idiots pulling a filibuster.

Amy from Jacksonville, Florida writes:
Gridlock, no doubt. When Republicans figure out that they can't just stomp their feet and throw a fit because they can't get their way, they can start actually negotiating and Congress can find a balance on all these issues. We are in trouble right now because the government became too one-sided.

Jesse from State College, Pennsylvania writes:
Thomas Jefferson once said, "To render us again one people acting as one nation should be the object of every man." Though he was also wary of a one-party control of government, it is important in these times that bills get passed to help the citizens of this country who are not being listened to. Gridlock by both parties in Washington is leaving the lower and middle classes behind.

Chief writes:
Gridlock is better. At least with gridlock, the Congress can't damage the country any further with more laws paid for by the lobbies. Instead of passing more laws, how about if we try enforcing the laws already on the books for a change?

Mike from St. Petersburg Beach, Florida writes:
The problem isn't the system, it's the man. The founding fathers set it up this way in case a guy like Bush slithered his way into the White House.

Ondrya from California writes:
Dear Super Old Dude, Is this a trick question or what? Why would we want like one-party control and stuff? Something might get done for a change, and who wants that? Getting stuff to go through Congress like bacon through a goose...that's like so gross!

Filed under: US Congress
soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. Bruce in OR

    Gridlock, at least smacks of checks and balances. One party, played the way it has been under Bush, has yielded nothing but rubber stamp governing.

    August 6, 2008 at 1:37 pm |
  2. Judy from Arizona

    I'd rather have gridlock than to have the republicans making bad decisions that won't help working people, and benefit the rich and corporate America.

    August 6, 2008 at 1:37 pm |
  3. Tearched Scott Chicago, IL


    I think that one party control would be better than gridlock. The problem with gridlock is the fact that nothing can be done when you don't have enough votes to get things legislation passed. The more gridlock there is the less that can be done to help the country. Right now millions of americans are without jobs including myself, if there is not a change we can be doomed to go from a recession straight to a depression and that is where the GOP is sending us!

    August 6, 2008 at 1:39 pm |
  4. Real Change

    Haven't we really had one party control for the last 8 years? What's the difference between the Democrats and Republicans? Both seem eager to spend the country into the poorhouse! What we need are new ideas from third parties.

    Rob, San Diego, CA

    August 6, 2008 at 1:39 pm |
  5. circy in New Mexico

    Considering the fact that Congress seems paralyzed and clueless, maybe 10 to 12 parties would be better, like the Italians have. Actually, since Congress seems totally inept, I keep wondering if they are really people, rather than robots.

    August 6, 2008 at 1:39 pm |
  6. Sue -Idaho

    Considering our past experiment with "one party control" by the GOP I think it's evident, we need to have a mix, however, given the Republicans current members and their ideas, I'll take Democratic control for a few years and then make the change, maybe if we keep throwing the bums out everytime they come up for election, they will get the message, were not going to put up with this crap anymore.
    Note to Dems, if you take over, you had better do the PEOPLES business, not the CORPORATIONS Business.

    August 6, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  7. Anne

    I'm not sure it matters. Gridlock gets nothing done. One party controlling everything means half the population will be angry.

    However, I'd sure hate to see another four years of Bush in McCain form controlling everything. Maybe gridlock is slightly better.


    August 6, 2008 at 1:40 pm |

    Well, Jack, we have had almost eight years of the republican
    control of everything and it has been a diaster, so think
    eight years of Democrat control would be a good change.
    When you have mixed the president has the power to
    veto whatever does not suit him or his party. And, this
    process has had a priority for too long, not allowing any
    good accomplishments for our country.

    August 6, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  9. Scott - Wichita, Kansas

    I hate whenever one party controls both Congress and the House, Jack. Yes, things get done, but more often than not it's the wrong things, regardless of party. If we have a Democratic Congress, we need a Republican President, and vice-versa. What we really need is a set of politicians who stop whining like little kids and do some work for once!

    August 6, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  10. julie from Los Angeles

    Republicans had their chance by controlling the White House AND Congress and they blew it.

    We know gridlock doesn't work.

    I'd like to give Democrats an opportunity to clean up the country.

    They've done it before with Roosevelt and Clinton. I think they can do it again this time, too..

    August 6, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  11. Robert C Lowenthal

    Gridlock certainly has not worked. We see that everyday now. But this kind if gridlock was not always the case when one party was in the White House and the other controlled Congress. First, it's an election year and getting elected (or reelected) is more important than the health of the country. Second, the quality of the majority and minority leaders in both houses is nowhere close to what it has been in the past. We saw one party controlling both the White House and Congress from 2000 to 2006. That didn't work either. It's not the parties, it's the people. Throw out ALL the incumbents. New people are better at getting the message from the voters.

    August 6, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  12. Ben from Charleston, South Carolina

    Gridlock. And lots of it. It's called "checks and balances". That principle is one of the pillars of our government and society. "Gridlock" ensures debate between all sides of an issue.

    August 6, 2008 at 1:43 pm |
  13. Spencer/ Newport News, VA

    Although I hate traffic jams Jack, gridlock is good for Congress. Gridlock ensures that legislation is being reviewed and thought through thoroughly on both sides of the floor. I don't care how long it takes for a bill to get passed. I'm more concerned about if the bill is in the best of the nation as a whole. This is a democracy, and politicians need to stop complaining and do their jobs. There are two branches of government for a reason and that's for checks and balances. Although, I would love to see a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President. Republicans have way too much baggage with them and are always being lobbied. They are not looking out for the middle class of America, just the wealthy.

    August 6, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  14. Beartrack Truckee,CA

    Neither is good. The current do nothing, unbelievably corrupt, congress is the best argument for at least a third party. Maybe more. Then compromise must be done and maybe something good will come from them someday. Like impeachment.

    August 6, 2008 at 1:47 pm |
  15. Conor in Chicago

    That's a duel edge sword Jack.

    With gridlock nothing gets done and both sides sit around and eat caviar blaming each other and living off of our tax dollars.

    With one party control you get things like the Bush Presidency.

    Either way we are screwed until we support a third party if you ask me.

    August 6, 2008 at 1:48 pm |
  16. Tom in New Hope, MN

    Right now politicians are winning their office and the very next day campaigning starts for the next election without anything being accomplished in between elections. This has to stop if this country is going to be fixed.

    We need to fix this country in a bi-partisan manner which will require give and take on both sides. The politicians have to get it in their heads they are in office it benefit the country not themselves.

    We need term limits in congress. Power corrupts and it is rare that those in congress over long periods of time do any good for the country. If they did good for the country we wouldn't be in the mess we are in. Term limits would minimize those who seek to block progress purely for their own ideology. This won't happen however because congress won't legislate against themselves.

    August 6, 2008 at 1:48 pm |
  17. A Kraft Naples, FL

    what is the difference...Congress and the White House have done nothing worthwhile....we need a THIRD party and to hell with this broken two party dumb system

    August 6, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  18. Dave of Oregon

    Ultimately, gridlock is the preferred position when nothing gets done and things get worked out over time, but given the present situation, Nancy Pelosi has essentially given Bush that gridlock, so to speak. How can she advocate gridlock when everyday it seems something very bad comes out concerning this Bush administration. Ron Suskind's book is revealing to the extent that it places further pressure on Pelosi to seek discovery on this Bush administration. But it seems that Pelosi will continue to seek gridlock on this matter! And Bush was seen as the "what me worry? kid! Maybe that actually is Pelosi!

    August 6, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  19. Terry, Chandler AZ

    Jack, of course neither is aacceptable. What is needed is a president with real leadership skills. Including charisma, intelligence, a person who has earned success and acceptance into college (not born into automatic acceptance of the US Naval Acadamy), a person who can inspire and motivate. One of the two candidates qualifies.

    August 6, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  20. Mark - Asheville, NC

    It is very hard to answer that. In 1965, we had one party control – LBJ was President, and he had a packed Dem Congress. This was the period in which most major Civil Rights laws were passed and The Great Society was launched. From my point of view this all worked perfectly (except for Vietnam), but that was in another world – long ago and far away.

    But now, with this Congress, it's scary to imagine what might come from this bunch with a president of the same party. We had that situation for the first six years of the bush regime, and look what happened! True, this was Republican one party rule, but I am not so sure that I would want Obama to be head of a Dem rule – there is no telling what they would do. This isn't the 60s anymore.

    August 6, 2008 at 1:53 pm |
  21. Ed Reed

    I've always been a fan of divided government because it forces compromise, practicality over ideology. You only have to look at the mess we're in to see what happens when one party controls all branches of government, hubris and craziness.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    August 6, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  22. Randy, Salt Lake City

    Neither. Gridlock means nothing gets done. One party means laws get passed that only helps corporations. Either way, the public gets screwed.

    August 6, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  23. Jackie in Dallas

    It is better to have a balance of power, not all one party controlling the congress and White House (not to mention the Supreme Court). The safeguards in a checks-and-balances can be waylaid though, leading to gridlock if the "always vote for the party line" mentality is not broken by some new blood in all three branches. I'm with Tom in New Hope on that, although adding a third party that has serious membership numbers would help too.

    Partisan control has led to too many messes in our history for us to ignore any longer.

    August 6, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  24. Joe, Clinton Ma.

    Neither one seems to work. Politicians are only out for themselves,
    and the hell with the people. A third party is needed to show these
    corrupt individuals how Government works for the People.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  25. Mike Smith, New Orleans LA

    Gridlock would have to be the better alternative. We had six years of one party control under this current administration, and look how much damage they did. Gridlock at least guarantees "First do no harm."

    August 6, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  26. Grant from Lava Hot Springs, Idaho

    Just as I always feel safer when Congress is in recess, I always feel better when the President wields the veto pen when it is in the best interests of the country. The first six years of the current administration worked under the tacit understanding that if you pass my legislation, I (the President) will sign all of your bills-and no vetoes struck down any legislation. Now look at the mess we are in. We must demand that the President of the next administration have the fiscal responsibility to veto pork barrel spending and work to balance the budget. This has happened in the past when the President was a member of the party that was not in the majority in Congress. Not gridlock, just sanity, is needed.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  27. Michael, Lorain, Ohio

    To truely fix the problems Congress needs to stop being so stubborn and start following the will of the people. The president and both parties in Congress are to blame for this never ending lame-duck government that gets paid for doing nothing!

    August 6, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  28. David, Orlando, FL

    Gee, I dunno. I remember a time when there was no gridlock. Honorable men and women disagreed but compromised and moved forward. But I’ll vote for one party control as long as it’s a third party.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  29. Joe in DE

    Neither is necssary. One party control at least places responsibility squarely on the party in power and gives the electorate a clear understanding of the situation.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  30. Robert Postuma

    Of the 2 evils, gridlock is preferable.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  31. Kent, Illinois

    One party controlling Congress and the White House. It is time the Congress and President are on the same page when it comes to actually caring about the problems of this country and its people.............

    August 6, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  32. Mike McKibben, lady lake, Fl

    Neither. The Republicans showed us what can happen if only one party ran the show. They have created a mess of epic proportions. It is time that these people stop playing political games, and start working together to solve the problems that the last 8 years have created. Republicans have good ideas, and the Democrats have good ideas. Take the best of what each has, and develope policy that works for all Americans, not just the top 3%. I see these ideas in Obama, and I see a FEW good ideas with McCain.

    We can't continue down the path that we are currently on. New ideas must replace the current line of thinking that has led us to this cross road. No matter who gets elected, we must have the checks and balances in our government restored. This is how the Father's of this country intended things to be, no one branch of gov trumping the other, working together for one basic cause.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  33. Allen L Wenger

    These are not the only 2 choices. Let's go back to a time when politicians worked for the good of the people, worked with the other party to compromise and get things done. If the Democrats and Republicans cannot do that, then get rid of them all and create a party or parties that will work together. The political monopoly that Democrats and Republicans have is destroying our country.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  34. Russ - Johnston, IA

    Gridlock. If the Dems get control of the House, Senate & the White House, guaranteed within 4 yrs they will be as corrupt as the Repubs are now, and the public will be sick of them. One party control is never good...absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  35. deano, Peoria, AZ

    Look at how screwed up we have gotten after two administrations under one party control. Total control provides too much power and that is always bad when dealing with politicians. Why is one or the other, one party or gridlock the only choice? We have been known to have bi-partisonship in the past. Is that gone??

    August 6, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  36. Janice Illinois

    Jack Having parties in government just distracts from being Americans. We should do away with this, it just divides us and conquers every issue. Simply do away with two words Democrats and Republicans and we would all be what we are Americans.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  37. Jason, Koloa, HI

    If the party is Democratic, then one party control is the answer. I can't wait to see Democrats reverse the policies of the never-ending Bush Nightmare.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  38. Tina (Texas)

    Gridlock. A one party system is like communism. There should be a law that one party should not be in complete control with that sitting president.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  39. Greg in Cabot AR

    My dad always said "do something, even if it is wrong, at least you have a 50-50 chance of being right".

    The Repubilcans had total control of the House, the Senate and the White House for 6 years and it seems like they did everything wrong.
    Instead of admiting they screwed up, the Republicans resorted to gridlock manuvers to "blame the Democrats" for lack of progress in fixing the mess they created and buy them some time.

    They hoped things would get better before the next election or that voters will forget who is responsible for the war in Iraq, the sour economy, the mortgage crisis, the high cost of gas, high unemployment, a weak dollar and ........on.....and....on......

    Ram-rodding legislation and bullying opposition because you have total control doesn't work any better than obstruction if you don't get your way.

    Our government has survived and thrived on compromise for over 200 years but the past 8 years have nearly distroyed that record, let's hope things change with this election.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:13 pm |

    tampa, fl definitly one party rule, a new independent party that controls congress and the white house. all incumbants should be looking for work next election, then they will see just how bad they screwed up our economy when they find there are no jobs.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  41. Michelle, Washington DC

    Well, grid-lock accomplishes nothing but a GOP dominated Congress and President got us into Iraq and left the economy in shambles. So, it really depends who controls both branches. Here's to the Democrats bringing some sense back to Washington in November, God-willing. (See, we believe in God too.)

    August 6, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  42. Jackie in Dallas

    Kent in Illinois:

    Aren't you presuming that the one party controlling Congress and the White House will actually care about the problems of this country and its people? That's what we had for six years under Bush, and I don't see our country in better shape because of it! In fact, we have a record deficit, are in debt up to our eyebrows to a country that is openly our enemy, our middle class is fast dying because of taxation, we have a record number of jobs being shipped off-shore, and record unemployment even among college grads, our oil companies and some choice few other corporations are making obscene profits with no oversight, and more and more people are losing their homes, their jobs, their savings, their pensions, and their healthcare.

    Compromise is the word we need to re-teach our Congress and President!

    August 6, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  43. Lucas, Pawling NY

    Gridlock's not so bad Jack. It kinda gives the issues at hand a bit more airtime and draws attention from the general public.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  44. John in Nevada

    Jack, as seven-and-a-half years of stagnation have taught us, clearly gridlock is not a viable option. A visionary president and a legislature made up of a majority of representatives from the president's party, and whom the voters have carfefully considered and elected, is obviously the ideal formula for progressive leadership.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  45. sarah, indiana

    hey jack, here is a crazy idea, let's abolish political parties and then we do not have either problem. dems and repubs both cling to their party lines and ignore the will of the people. so get rid of the parties, which in turn deletes the party lines, and inevitably ends both gridlock and one party rule. problem solved.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  46. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    I have always told my students, vote for the party not the man, because it is PARTY that organizes and controls Congress, and through Congress, the budget and policy. Therefore, I submit, divided government "so called" is no goverment at all; It is gridlock. So put me on the side of one party control.

    Paul R. Schattman, Ph.D. a.k.a. Pablo in Arlington, Texas

    August 6, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  47. Jed in Redding, CA

    We need Democrats in control of the house, the senate and the white house to undo what was done over the last eight years and to start making real progress. But they too will pass legislation that will not ultimately be to the benefit of a majority of Americans. I predict this if Obama gets the white house: for four, maybe six years the Dems will be in charge and stuff will get done. But then there will be a conservative swing and the GOP will take over. Gridlock will rule for a while and only the most milquetoast legislation will come through. Better? hardly, but that's how we roll.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  48. Rebecca

    kids of hippies holding a sit-in at the capitol building would be better than either...

    one-party system... so silly... it'd be great to see Lieberman and McCain on the same ticket! LOL!

    that gridlock stuff seriously sucks though, so obviously not about American citizens and tax-payers and also so obviously about the DNC and GOP.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  49. Emma, San Jose, CA

    Gridlock is important if we do not have a president who abuses executive power. Otherwise gridlock can be disruptive to a well-run government.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  50. Willow, Sheldon Iowa

    It wouldn't matter if it was gridlock or one party control IF the elected officials would do what their constituents wanted. If they get 5000 emails about something, that elected official should try to do what 2501 of them want done. He should go to Washington determined to stand up for his constituents, and work across the aisle to do what needed done to help everybody. Unless its a bridge to nowhere, then all the other elected officials need to straighten him out.

    If all the constituents are complaining about lack of health care, that elected official's duty is to work to provide health care, in any way he can. Price of gas too high? That can be worked out in a bipartisan effort, because the other guy's constituents are emailing him too. Its time for the constituents to stand up and demand attention. In a perfect world, eh?

    August 6, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  51. Deb (Bow, NH)

    Talk about a Hobson's choice – in one scenario nothing gets done, and in the other we're afraid too much will get done because of the lack of 'checks and balances.' However, with gridlock, everyone involved can blaim what happens (or doesn't happen) on everyone else. At least with one party in control, we'll know who is responsible if we don't like the results.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  52. Paul

    Jack, while the thought of a Democratic landslide gives me the tingles, we seem to have forgotten that the best governance in one of compromise–you know, that word politicians and the media have either forgotten or turned into a bad word. Unfortunately, today's politicians disdain compromise in favor of making their opponents look bad to score political points, and we as Americans suffer from their ignorance and hubris.

    Hebron, IN

    August 6, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  53. Marilyn from Louisiana

    Nothing works.....Congress must stop being so stubborn and start thinking what the "American People" really want. They can be replace as fast as they were elected. Time has come for the American people to make a stand and let Congress know "we" mean business. Congress must stop thinking about themselves, corporations, etc.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  54. cy gardner

    It depends. We saw what happened when the one party in control is the GOP. Lies, incompetence, FEMA ruined, we're the only country in the world that buys prescription drugs in bulk and pays RETAIL!!!!, $4 gas while Exxon clears over ten billion dollars every 3 months, the constitution despoiled, CIA agents outed for spite, environmental, labor and immigration laws not enforced, etc etc etc.
    If we could get one party who will push to free of us of our oil dependence, tax the wealthy instead of paying them to screw us, protect workers and consumers, regain the respect of the world, respect the constitution, work to establish universal health care like the rest of the civilized world has, etc etc etc. Well, that might not be so bad. cy gardner arlington va

    August 6, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  55. Derick, Greenlawn NY

    Partisan gridlock is the worst thing for everyone, because government can't afford to be static in a rapidly changing world. The vetoes and filibusters that allow Democrats and Republicans to foil one another do absolutely nothing to better our nation. The Republican oligarchy of 2001-2006 proved that one party dominating 2 branches of government can be catastrophic, but our economy and foreign policy are in such shambles right now that we have no choice but to trust Democrats can use that power more responsibly.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  56. EmmaOhio, Ashtabula, Ohio

    One party controlling the Congress and the White House is better than Gridlock. Fortunately, both parties are having ideological wars within their party. The free market extremacists who hijacked the republican party in the 1994 Gingrich lead revolution has destroyed this countries economy and the republican party. The democrats are again faced with the same new democrat free market extremacists, so they will self-destruct in four years as they have learned nothing in the last eight years. Why is it none of these democrats remember history. We became a rich nation with a dual economy. Most democracies in the world today have a dual economy. It is time to call these politicians while they are at home and give them a history lesson. The solution is a dual economy, stupid.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  57. Annie, Atlanta

    Neither, but those are our only choices. The only reasonable option is what you've been telling us: if our elected officials aren't doing the job for us, vote them out. There's a couple of deadbeats here in GA that fit that bill.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  58. Lisa in GA.

    Jack, what makes sense to me is most of the country is democrat.... democrats are for democrats and republicans are for themselvES. i think the one -party system of democrats will work out better. I believe even the republicans thinks so at this point.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  59. Marie Canada

    Forget about Gridlock Jack the Republicans have shown their true colors over the past 8 years and the best medicine is to throw everyone of the bums out on their ear.

    Then if the Democrats screw it up throw them out in the next elections. Sooner or later politicians will get the message to either deliver or go somewhere else and try and make an honest living.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  60. Mikey P

    Hmm, one party control, wasn't that the Bush/Chaney leadership. That really didn't help much.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  61. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    the solution to grid lock is easy. Dump the Incombent. Vote out every imcombent in every race from local town, cities, counties, states and federal. The elected officials need to understand that it is not the NRA they answer to, it is not the AARP, the NAACP or any Political Action Committee or Lobbiest, it is We The People. Fire them all and impose strict term limits so they will not be able to profit from their employment from any organization. Then maybe We the People will have things done that benefit us.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  62. angel in Louisiana

    Gridlock or one party control? That's like asking if I want to walk off the bridge or jump. Either way, I get wet.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  63. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Does it really matter? We know what will happen with Republican control. But considering that the Democrats have given Bush everything he wanted – and more – what difference does it make. Gridlock with nothing getting done is beginning to look pretty good to me.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  64. Dee in Chicago

    There's an old joke that goes something like "you can take your hand off your wallet cuz congress is out of session." Whether one party controls both or control is split as long as we keep sending the same special interest waterboys and political dinosuars back to the senate and house our wallets will continue to be picked, our rights will continue to be trampled upon and our needs will continue to not be met. Having said that however given the abomination of Bush and the republican controled congress – I'll take grid-lock.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  65. Ken, Millington Mi

    Hello Jack. I didn't know that geese ate bacon lol. This is a real good question. certain amounts of gridlock/ friction between parties is good . What we can't afford is to not work together in a bi-partisan way to make america better. theres been way to much partisan politics so nothing gets accomplished because each party has huge egos and wants all the power to pass there agendas without any compromises.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  66. Rosalynd Florida

    I am for one party control and for this election I am for Democratic control of 60+ in the Senate. in a gridlocked congress nothing gets done there is only finger pointing. We need Change.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  67. Monty Squier

    Gridlock is better.
    Look at the dictatorship we’ve paid taxes to for last seven and half years.
    Look at what one party did to the United States, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
    Party is not the right word.
    It was an insane and insidious orgy of deceit.

    El Paso, Texas

    August 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  68. Linda Richards

    It depends on the Party. Republicans had their chance and blew it big time. It's hard to believe it could get any worse. Give the Democrats a chance. Maybe they'll bring law and order back to the White House. That way, if the new President breaks the law, they can impeach him; unlike Bush who is above the law; courtesy of the Republican Party.
    Linda in Woodbury, NJ

    August 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  69. Keith - Cleveland

    What the hell, Jack; SOMETHING is better than NOTHING, which is what we've been getting. The old adage: "Do something, even if it's wrong."

    Just as long as the incumbents are gone and we get new blood in congress, I don't really care anymore.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  70. Chuck in Kansas City

    I sorta liked things better with a democrat in office and a republican congress. Not that I was all that happy with President Clinton, but the checks and balances seemed to work

    August 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  71. Dilibon Kojak Brooklyn, NY

    One party in charge! When the party reaches to high in malfeasance, it could stay a long time in the tranches away of power until next time. As of today, the republicans deserve some good 25 years of politics for walking to close of the line between legality and illegality!

    August 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  72. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    To me what would be best is to have a congress that worked for the people in the US not lawyers that pass bills filled with pork and meaningless legislation that is way outside of the Constitution. Of course this would mean that they would need to change or better yet, we could change them with term limits of one term, no retirement or medical benefits if their approval rating is below 80%. Then they would be in the same boat as the rest of us.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  73. Larry, Ohio

    jack,absolutely gridlock.We need the checks and balances!!!!

    August 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  74. Ron- San Diego

    Hi Jack:

    Your question is very inapproriate. I doubt you would have asked it if there was a republican controlled House of Representatives.

    Ron San Diego

    August 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  75. Jan Davis, Knoxville, TN

    One party control, that being the Democrats in power for the sake of the average American and for the possibility of peace in our day. Gridlock is getting us nowhere fast except to make the fat cats richer! Thanks Jack for your great program!

    August 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  76. Pat,Lexington, Ky.

    I'm not nuts about either of your choices. I suppose gridlock is better than less or no dissent – dissent is what we're all about! It would be so great if all of our congressional representatives would vote according to what's best for their constituents and forget the party labels. But that would be like voting with a conscience, so, like you have said, we'd need to start from scratch and send all new people to D.C.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  77. john from indiana

    Jack never one party control. How about 2 term limit for any member of congress. Fresh new people every 2 years.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  78. Patricia F Pine Plains NY

    Gridlock results in nothing getting done. One party control mean things get done, but by that one party. We know the Republicans had control, and because of their "Absolute Power" which "Corrupts Absolutely", let's hope that the Democrates can avoid this if they take control.

    How about this – Elect only Indepentants to the Congress. Not too sure how that would work, but if the name of their party is any indication, they may be fair. I hope.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  79. garrick

    Hi Jack
    simple gridlock gridlock gridlock nothing gets done like this.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  80. John McCutchen


    I believe it is wrong to assume that split control of the Congress and the Executive Branch leads inexorably to gridlock. However, I also believe the problem goes much deeper. After 8 years of Bush/Cheney misrule, we desperately need a change of parties so that we can repair the damage done

    August 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  81. Fred Regina

    Neither is a good option.

    In Canada we have four federal parties and currently have a minority government that requires the support of another party to maintain power. This means that it is very hard for one party to be able to dictate a damaging agenda.

    Perhaps this is why I still have free health care, a house that has increased in value and a pension plan that I don’t have to dip into to make ends meet.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  82. byron in vernonia, oregon

    It depends on the situation. If things are going relatively well, gridlock isn't so bad. It means any proposed changes will be thoroughly debated and made by overall consensus of both parties. On the other hand, if we, as a society, need to act quickly and decisively to push through needed reforms, it might be better if one party dominates (like the democrats during the Great Depression). We do have congressional elections every 2 years in case there is an abuse of power, but that also depends on a functioning free press and everyone in government adhering to their constitutional oaths (something that seems to have failed us in the present situation).

    August 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  83. Jay in Texas

    Looking back at the 2006 elections when Democrats took "control of Congress" and then broke every major promise they made to the American people to get elected, I don't think it matters. The political parties don't control Congress or the White House anyway. Giant corporations do.
    Brownwood, Texas

    August 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  84. Brian - Trinidad

    You are wrong about the options.It's not gridlock versus one party control.America has experienced tremendous growth and prosperity under Presidents who were able to lead with the country in mind and not the party.Elect the right person – going back we had Reagan,Clinton,Kennedy,Eisenhower – and you don't get gridlock. Elect someone with a mind of their own and not a lapdog of the party.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  85. Nancy in Colorado

    Considering that right now the bacon is stuck in the goose, it would be refreshing to have a REAL majority in congress. As far as to why the low poll numbers for the whole congress, it is unfortunate that the Democrats are counted in the same pot with the Republicans. It is because of the Republican obstruction of everything the Democrats bring to a vote that nothing gets accomplished. And then there is the President's veto to finish things off.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  86. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    The USSR 'enjoyed' one party control for about 70 years, and lots of stuff got done. The USA 'enjoyed' one party rule from 2000 – 2006. Both were disasters. Considering where we are now I choose gridlock any day.

    You might want jto check your facts, however, on the 60% majority being veto-proof. I think that the 60% number is the percentage of senators needed to override a filibuster. It is also the most overused rule in the Senate, and is the single cause of virtually all of its gridlock. Well, that and the stupidity of its leaders.

    August 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  87. Ebba

    We need "choice voting" and "publicly funded elections". Each candidate from each party (hopefully many more than two) will be given the same amount of air time, travel time, debate time etc.... Then, when it is time to vote, give your favorite candidate a 3, next favorite a 2, and the next a 1. This would give smaller parties a chance, and the people a choice.

    August 6, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  88. Eddie

    Considering we’ve had a Republican White House since ‘90, and a Republican majority until ‘06 resulting in the country going down the tubes after the halcyon days of Clinton’s run, a Democratic White House and Congress can only do better. Given how the rancor is only increasing over time between the GOP and Democrats, gridlock is getting us absolutely nowhere. Checks and balances be damned until they learn how to work together again.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  89. John, Fort Collins, CO

    I'd like to see the Bull Moose Party added as a viable choice. A presidential candidate with the qualities of Theodore Roosevelt would be a blessing for the country. He was able to see a hundred years into the future and do what was best for all generations.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  90. tony, oregon

    Wrong question. Better asked is how to gain consensus on the important issues so that we move together in solidarity to address the nation's primary needs and common interests.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  91. Ron democrat turned independent

    wouldn't it be nice if we had a judicial panel that would penalize the parties when they made knowingly false statements about each other, or about issues. maybe then we could have reliable information which to base our decisions on

    August 6, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  92. Jim C


    One party control is fine as long as the majority party doesn't treat the other like the republicans have in the past under Bush his first 6 years. If that party in control does not do what the American people want we can change the congress every two years.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  93. George on Nantucket Island, MA

    One party = fascism

    August 6, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  94. Nathan in Covington, KY

    We don't need gridlock or grease in Washington politics. What we desperately need is balance – more moderates in office who reflect the true majority of Americans – and a willingness to compromise.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  95. Nancy, Tennessee

    We are told to pray for our leaders. I've prayed and prayed that George Bush will wake up and smell the coffee and do something right for a change. Since he doesn't seem to be coming around, I can't wait until he is out of office along with as many of the Republicans in Congress that we can vote out. Surely, we will get someone in Congress that will lead the way to a better economy. Where's Jesse Ventura?

    August 6, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  96. Tom, The Heart of Democracy, Avon, Maine


    Big business has such a stranglehold on "government" that even if you loaded the government with all Democrats there would still be a battle to have the middle class heard.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  97. Cornell Cannon

    I can't believe I am saying this but one party controlling may be better. Republicans and Democrats have proven unable/unwilling to work together for the good of the country. We see nothing by fillibusters, vetos, and mock outrage while nothing gets done. It's time to risk giving one party the opportunity to control the agenda so our "leaders" can be about the business of fixing the serious problems our nation faces. That one party would have a clear mandate. There would be no doubt who is in charge of the agenda. And there would be no doubt whose fault it would be if things get worse. Those factors alone ought to scare the ruling party into taking their responsibility seriously.

    Cornell Cannon – Stillwater Oklahoma

    August 6, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  98. KS

    Well it's 6 of one and half a dozen of another Jack. When something should have been started 30 years ago it wasn't and now something has to be done and Congress can't agree on what to do and when they do agree there are so many time limits and other restrictions that it will take another 30 years to meander our way through the fat to get to the meat of what they did.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  99. Pat S. Denton, TX

    The question really is whether Democratic controlled executive and legislative branches would be better than a Republican majority legislative branch and sitting president. So, what is "better than"? The Democrats had their opportunity in the Vietnam era and blew it just like the Republicans did. It's the 'drunk with power' syndrome. Perhaps its time to think about a mixed ticket like the old days – before any of us were around: whoever comes in second gets the vice presidency. Then, if we could only inject into politics the practice of morality instead of rhetoric and a little dignity and respect for themselves and their contsituents. It's all an argument that the two party system is broken. But can a third party fix it?

    August 6, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  100. Bob in OK

    At least under republican control, the people still have control of where their money goes. Yes, corp america is too big, but I have a choice not to do business with them. Under Dem control, the government will take my hard earned comepensation whether I like it or not. Don't think the big corp won't pass on the added corp tax to the consumer. More taxes means more money out of my pocket from every direction.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  101. Hans-Erik Iken

    Since the republcans are in the pocket of their funding friends in this case a majority of Dems would be preferable and then at least something would get done to better the state of the nation.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  102. Shafi Alam

    Gridlock makes the government ineffective even if it wants to do something to alleviate the nation’s problems. Smart American people are not going to vote to be in the trap of the gridlock. The new democrats growing up from the grassroots will be much better than the past ones.

    Shafi Alam
    Austin, Texas
    Now Tokyo, Japan

    August 6, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  103. Matt

    I would much rather have the gridlock with occational consensus than a one-party government. Most of us feel the government is corrupt as is and some may vote for McCain for that reason alone- blocking a party tyranny. Considering Obama voted party lines 96% of the time, I have little hope for anything but hundreds of programs being introduced, taxes to pay for them, and a harder time struggling to pay for the unintended consequences. Thanks, Jack. You made my day.

    Matt – Ft Wayne, Indiana

    August 6, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  104. Judith Davies

    San Francisco, CA

    With one party controlling all avenues of government in any country there is no longer a democracy, just a ticket to absolute run away power that could be worse than the trader's blunders at #1 Wall Street. Girdlock should be overcome on both sides and can be if the people stand up and insist on officials doing their jobs! We need to take more responsibility as citizens and stop being intimidated by our legislators!

    August 6, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  105. Ingrid, new york

    in theory gridlock is better, at least it provides some checks and balances- can you imagine if the republicans were still in power, the rich would have gotten more tax breaks, as would the oil companies.

    unfortunately politics and power rule rather than a clear vision from either party. there is no real intellectual discussion, no real study and debate of the issues, it becomes all about what who can get for whom and from whom. the few times something is actually debated and a bill is decided on, there is so much junk attached to it, the main issue is lost.

    so gridlock is better than nothing, but...

    August 6, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  106. James K Chambliss, Destin, Florida, 32541

    Mr. Cafferty, I think it's high time the voters of this country state very plainly that gridlock and one-party rule will NOT be tolerate any longer. The GOP tried the 'Permanment Majority' and it got us 8+ years of the worst form of mismanagement that would Imperial Rome blush. Gridlock did us no better with good people trying to help out the country regardless of the asile seat and getting nothing but the Finger and the shaft. It's time a truly Independent and Moderate third party keep the GOP and the DNC as well as the Liberals and the Conversatives on a very short leash. Put those two parties on the minority and give the people what they really want: government of the people, by the people, for the people and for all time!

    August 6, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  107. Vera From Arizona

    Well Jack:

    At this time we are in the worst economic situation since the depression.

    We are killing and mameing more of our precious American people since the Vietnam War.

    We are suffering the biggest energy crisis since 1979.

    This 61 year old Republican Grandmother is willing to give the Democrats a chance.

    Could they possibly do worse?

    August 6, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  108. Patti - Lapine, Oregon

    While one party control has it's drawbacks, the current system of the Dems and the GOP and all the petty, backstabbing, infighting, my way or the highway that leads nowhere, has reached it's long overdo end. I'm so tired of the politicans we elect to run our government who seem to think once their in Washington that they can vote by their own conscience instead of the will of the people. I'm tired and fed-up with the greedy, take what they can and to hell with the American people politician who sells out those who elected them. The two party system allows for gridlock but also allows nothing to ever get accomplished. When are we ever going to have enough of this.....

    August 6, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  109. Carolyn, Atlanta GA

    We wouldn't have this problem if we weren't trapped in a god-awful two party system. Americans can pick from 57 varieties of Heinz products but when it comes to our government, there are only two major parties in a constant battle over who can be least productive and more corruptive. You can't bring "change" to Washington until you separate from the same old nonsense of the Republicans and Democrats.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  110. steve

    dear Jack: I think one party control is an excellent idea,as long as the brain-dead republicans aren't it! The republican party should have died out with the rest of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  111. Jerry--- Roselle, Illinois

    At least something will get done in Nov. and Joe Lieberman
    can join the Republicans for good. as he'll be out of favor with

    August 6, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  112. Helena, Boise, ID

    One party with the threat of gridlock hanging over their heads, if they don't do the right thing.

    We're tired of the bickering. This year it will be one party so we can get something done.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  113. Terry in Fayetteville, NC

    Most of the high officials in federal government should be locked in shackles and chains for pardoning each other and taking prosecutions "off the table" without constitutional authority. Putting them in gridlocks may be the best the average citizen can hope for.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  114. Ruie - Michigan

    Dear Jack: We can only pray that if that happens Democrats will break this cycle of retaliation that has gotten us into the mess we're in. Democrats and Republicans have got to put the past behind them for the good of the American people.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  115. Suzanne, Memphis, TN

    Thanks to the devastating administration of George Bush, we'll have to have a one party system for awhile to clean up his mess. We need to restore the Constitution, and get to the bottom of a myriad of wrong doings.

    So the Dems will clean it up, and bring our troops home. In a few more years if the GOP behaves themselves, we might let them back in.

    Reformed Republican

    August 6, 2008 at 4:53 pm |
  116. Bruce, Georgia

    Would a McCain presidency and Democratic Congress be gridlock? I do not neccessarily think that it would. It could work out quite well with good compromises like the Clinton presidency and Republican Congress.
    However, am I afraid of an Obama presidency and Democratic Congress being like the Bush presidency and Republican Congress - NO!!
    I think the democrats are the best choice for the country right now and the stinking corrupt Republican party needs to be sent a strong message from the voters.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  117. Peter

    Both have their pros and their cons so i say lets just stay with the 2 party system

    August 6, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  118. Dave from Toronto

    The U.S. two party system is the reason Washington is a joke. It's either gridlock or dictatorship, and neither work. With a credible third party in Congress, the Democratics and Republicans will be held accountable for their generations of misdeeds.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  119. Kim - NE

    Wouldn't make much difference if Dems & Repubs could make more effort to play together nicely. Isn't that what we tell our kids?

    August 6, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  120. lip

    Its always the same old rhetoric. Democrats think they are God's chosen people and likewise, the Republicans think the same thing. A few of your respondents said it like it is...they need to stop pointing their fingers, trying to score political points and get the peoples work done. Likewise, people out there need to stop encouraging them to point their crooked fingers and help them stay focused. Division will never satisfy the problem. It will simply make it worse. As long as there are idiots out there constantly complaining about the other party and claiming there party is the best solution to everything, we will continue along the same tired road we have been traveling for the last several hundred years.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  121. Oscar in Texas

    Ideally, gridlock is a good thing because it should force compromises on legislation. Sadly, Democrats have pretty much bowed to the Bush Administration, Congressional Republicans and corporate interests the last decade rather than actually negotiate anything (i.e. Iraq, FISA). This is why we need third parties in Congress and maybe even the White House.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  122. Constance, Silver Spring, MD

    The country swayed too far to the right, and now we are suffering for it. I don't like going all the way to the left either, but there is a middle ground for most Americans and I would like Congress to follow our lead.

    August 6, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  123. Jason Kolles from Minnesota

    How can things be worse? Of course things will be better with Democratic control of the Congress and White House. Things need to change drastically in this country and there really is nowhere to go but up. I'm tired of the Right claiming that the world will crumble under our feet if a Democrat is elected. Get a clue. As I recall, we all did pretty well in the 90's.

    August 6, 2008 at 6:03 pm |
  124. Jorens, Riga, Latvia

    One party ruling would be more effective, there is no doubt about it, but as you sad Jack, you guys gotta pray they do the right thing, because in other way.. I mean look at Russia for example – does it look like they are doing the right thing?

    August 6, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  125. Barry - Indiana CFL

    If congress would send bills to the floor that follow the constitution, then gridlock would be bad. Since they never do that, gridlock is a relief. We can actually keep the rights we have left for a little while longer.

    August 6, 2008 at 6:47 pm |
  126. jim

    Jack Grid lock is what happens in traffic. Nobody goes any where, Gets mad, makes obscene gesters and costs exrta internal gas.

    August 6, 2008 at 6:47 pm |