Why won't our leaders focus on the problems that are destroying our country?
May 10th, 2012
03:55 PM ET

Why won't our leaders focus on the problems that are destroying our country?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"America's problems are still big. It's most of our leaders who have gotten small."

That's a quote from a terrific piece today on Politico by Roger Simon.

He hits the nail on the head in describing a Congress which used to do things, but now specializes in not doing things.

Simon writes that Congress today is about making sure nothing gets done.

Because if something actually gets done, then one party or the other will take credit for it.

What a sad state of affairs. Our leaders, who used to be able to reach across the aisle, will no longer budge.

And those who are seen as bipartisan - people like Republican Senators Dick Lugar and Olympia Snow or Democratic Senators Jim Webb and Kent Conrad - are being voted out or are not bothering to run again.

Simon describes Congress as collapsing "from its former state of sluggishness to one of paralysis."

Even when it comes to issues that both sides support, like low interest on college loans, they can't get it done.

According to The New York Times - this week's Senate vote on student loans was the 21st time Republicans have successfully filibustered a Democratic bill since January 2011.

Meanwhile, our country is drowning in troubles - from skyrocketing deficits and more than $15 trillion in debt, to high unemployment, an ongoing housing crisis, and record poverty and food stamp use.

But the people we elect to represent us turn a blind eye to things that, if left unattended, will bring us down. No foreign enemy will have to fire a shot.

Here’s my question to you: Why won't our leaders focus on the problems that are destroying our country?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: United States
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. Virginia - Atlanta

    The Republicans will lose if people really understand their positions so they need to distract the public, the Democrats are too naive to recognize what is happening and try to explain their side, giving more fodder to the Republicans and on and on.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  2. Ann from Charleston SC

    While not everyone agrees on which problems are destroying our country, our leaders cannot focus on them because the boys with the deep pockets have our leaders' hands tied behind their backs.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  3. Russ in PA

    Because our "leaders" largely created the problems. If the US had remained on a free market gold standard and had not established a Federal Reserve, there would not have been the endless wars, and the endless spending. Government does only one thing well: grow. And grow at the expense of citizens and freedom.

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    May 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  4. Jayne in NH

    Nothing of substance is getting done because there is no bipartisanship. Neither side should get 100% of what they want and, despite the notion of the Indiana Republican Senate nominee, compromise doesn't mean Democrats do whatever Republicans want.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  5. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    it's simple Jack....If they were to focus on the issues destroying our country they would be forced to focus on themselves and they don't like what they see in the mirror...

    May 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  6. Bill of New Mexico

    Our leaders wish to be re-elected.

    Cutting entitlements and the military (as well as increasing taxes) will not get them re-elected.

    Just might be the time for each one of us to consider what we are facing; and prepare.

    Once in a while the pessimists are correct.

    Good luck!

    May 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  7. Rick - Annapolis

    Focusing on REAL issues would mean that they might have to make serious decisions that one special interest group or another would dislike, and that might cost them votes. They are far more interested in keeping THEIR jobs, and pushing THEIR agenda, than in caring about what might to be done to solve the country's problems. Besides, it's so much easier to go off on meaningless tangents to divide the electorate and keep us at each others' throats and off theirs. High time we kicked the whole lot of them into an unemployment line.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  8. ken, atlantic city, nj

    The politicians know the voters are dumb so they continue to screw them. Why should they do anything to help main street if the voters continue to elect and re-elect the same idiots and expect different results.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  9. Eric - Houston

    Unfortunately, we have such a split in philosophy in this country that some leaders on both sides of the aisle believe that the other side's solutions is what is destroying the country and because the problems have become so serious they believe they must finally stand firm in order to save it. Therefore they will no longer support compromise or those willing to do so. Then of course there are others that only want to get elected and are unwilling to try to fix anything.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  10. Charles, Lansing, Michigan

    Ever since President Obama was elected the Republican leadership has been dedicated to making him fail. They have blocked everything he has attempted in Congress, witho;ut any regard to thew effect on the country. It appears that a majority of the voters are buying into this which will eventually destroy the country.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  11. Barbara Leavitt

    This is fairly simple Jack, IF they "focus on the problems that are destroying our country?",,,,,,,,,,they will then have to explain just WHAT their plans are to 'FIX IT'...........which will put the American people into a state of
    shock, especially the Republican plan. All for the rich. The Democrats go too far in the opposite direction. What a quagmire they have created for us. Shame on ALL of them. And to refuse to work together to fix it is the biggest sin of all. It seems to me the Republicans would rather see us, OUR country, go down than let it
    seem president Obama may have some good ideas.......not all ~ granted.......but this party of 'NO' is disgraceful. I'm 64, voted Republican all my life but no more.
    Barbara Leavitt
    Henderson Nevada

    May 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  12. clephas

    Mostly because it is easier to play social issues than to fix the long-term problems that plague this nation... like its continued reliance on fossil fuels for transport of vital goods and our daily energy needs, the need to reform the tax code, the need to at least internalize our debt (get our debt out of foreign countries if not pay it off immediately), and other such problems.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  13. Patrick

    Special interest groups have more influence on our representatives than the people they are supposed to be representing. Too much power has been given to the Federal Government, short circuiting the republic. Yes, the United States is (was) a Republic with local representatives. Oh, and many leaders are corrupt.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  14. tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    Because that won't determine how people vote. Americans don't know that Europe went the Republican route of austerity and is now suffering a double dip recession. They don't know that the president rescued the auto industry as surely as he rescued Captain Philips from Somali pirates. They don't know that the president has saved and created millions of jobs. What they know is dependent on whether they watch FAUX News or CNN. They either know that the president was born anywhere but America, or they know he was born in Hawaii.,

    May 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  15. Karl from Flint, MI

    Very simple, Jack. The Republicans created the problems we now face with economic policies that were totally against the American people and they refuse to compromise, for whatever their moronic reasoning, to keep from destroying the non-entities they see when the look at the voting public. Now, thanks to the Supreme Court, they can get all the money they need or want and the rest of the country can go to hell in a hand basket. Keep reelecting these traitors and you are destroying your own future. Americans get what they vote for.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  16. James

    Because they are stupid that is why. Until the citizens of the country start to take the fight to all politicians nothing will change.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  17. Julia, Fayetteville, NC

    I WISH I KNEW THE ANSWER TO THAT, JACK. If you get input on this that solves the problem, please somehow highlight it. I use to think they wanted to keep their freakin jobs but now, I don't know. It will be interesting to read what comes in on this question.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  18. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Two reasons that I see Jack. One, they want to get re-elected and two fear. The riots in Greece are childs play compared to what will happen here but they'd rather see us have another major depression rather than do the right thing. These people, including the President are pathetic leaders.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  19. Doug Ericson

    That is the question, isn't it. Loser Wars, Wall Sreet creep into the Home Mortgage Market, unbelievable waste and corruption, have led to a Government whose main interest is in protecting itself. The Goverment keeps wrapping rubber bands over and over all their old faults while continuing to do the same old stupid things over and over again. Once one of those rubber bands snap, ( Greece ), its all going to uravel like an old golf ball. Then History will repeat itself. New ponzi schemes will grow out of the dust. Thats the way it goes here on Earth. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  20. Amy ( fiverrules ) - somewhere in Illinois

    To solve a problem one would need to form an opinion based on a valid and full array of facts, act on a set of values in accordance to those facts, and hold themselves accountable for the results. None of which supports anyone who endeavors to remain a professional politician living off the nation

    May 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  21. Susan-NJ

    The politicians don't want to focus on the problems because they created them and don't want to admit there is a problem.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  22. Mark in BC NV

    It's simple Jack, power corrupts! Nothing is going to change, left or right, liberal or concervative, democratic or republican, unitl we have term limits for the House and Senate members. Why does the presidency have a term limit but Congress doesn't?

    May 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  23. Martha Brooks

    Because that would mean actually doing something about the REAL problems! Heaven forfend! Much easier- and gets you more face time on TV – to concentrate on nebulous, divisive "social issues" that mean diddely-squat to most of us. News Flash, guys...we really don't care whether gays can marry or not, or belief system others embrace, or none at all. They, and us, should more worried about jobs, wars, terrorism, etc.

    Martha, Rew, PA

    May 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  24. Kevin in CA

    To really solve our major problems requires intestinal fortitude and a departure from big money controlled political party planks ... and that isn't going to happen.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  25. Dr. George Italy

    The current leaders of America cannot focus on ongoing destructive problems because these issues appear much too difficult to solve, and all attempts in the past 15 years have failed. Innovative ideas are lacking and there are no charismatic leaders. The brain matter needed is absent.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  26. Gary in San Jose, California

    They won't focus on the real problems because those won't get them elected. Can you imagine how the public would react to an honest conversation about our current financial position, the root causes, and the list of painful solutions? They'll just keep kicking the can until these big problem jump up and bite us in the butt. The solutions, then, will be even more painful.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  27. Kristen

    They can't focus on the problems that are destroying our country. They are so wrapped up in partisan politics and getting re-elected that focusing on real problems would be political suicide.

    Olympia, WA

    May 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  28. David, in hot and sunny Tampa

    Two reasons come to mind Jack, 1. The crisis siege mentality that keeps these bozos in office. 2. Follow the money, it's what makes government go round and round. A never ending supply of palm grease and quid pro quo.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  29. Paul From Round Rock, Texas

    Jack it sure seems that thier goals are to destroy our country for what ever reason they have. When you get down to it they all have forgotten how to compromize not only on the big things but on everything. All we can do is vote them all out all of them and vote in firm term limits.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  30. Brad, Portland, OR

    Because those problems are hard to solve and require bipartisan support, and the Republicans aren't willing to compromise.

    Remember, Obama tried to negotiate an agreement to reduce our budget deficit by trillions of dollars, but the Republicans just walked away, unwilling to consider any tax hikes or even the plugging of tax loopholes for their wealthy corporate masters. I think Obama offered the Republicans some outrageous deal, $10 of spending cuts for $1 of revenue increases, and the Republicans refused to even consider it.

    It's a lot easier for Republicans to pass a Defense of Marriage Act or some such nonsense and play to their base than to compromise to solve real problems.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  31. Wilene Rushing

    They don't want to hear people's complaints when they start taking away benefits.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  32. calaurore9

    They are too busy having fundraisers and pandering to lobbyists.

    C. in Ma.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  33. Kevin in CA

    Because they honestly have no clue how to actually solve them. Hence, mindless recitation of party planks as the answer to all questions and problems.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  34. Mark in Topeka

    We live in a subsidized society where many of our most important goods and services, such as medical care and schools, are largely paid for by people other than the users themselves. People don't want to pay the full price, because they haven't needed to in the past. Our economy is living on a drug called deficit spending, while many individuals are existing on a similar drug called consumer debt. The $10 per hour wage has become the drug of choice for many businesses, accompanied by the removal of health and pension benefits from most of their employees. Responsible leaders are being voted out by ideologic purists on both sides of the aisle. Perhaps it is time for a new political party to build a coalition of moderates. Then we could get down to the business of solving our problems.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  35. AJ in Austin TX

    Simple, Jack,

    The Obama administration and democrats don't want to focus on important issues like the lousy economy and sky high unemployment because that would make the president vulnerable by exposing how lousy of a job he is doing. Instead, they're going to focus on gay marriage, phony 'wars' on minority groups and the ever so phony Buffett Rule. Obama is the master of misdirection and with the media in his pocket, he can get away with all of this nonsense.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  36. wayne, va beach, va

    They don't have time, Jack. Getting re-elected takes up a lot of time.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  37. Karen, Idaho

    Congress has been taken over by the religious bigots whose only goal is to force their idea of morality on the rest of us. They can think of nothing but what goes on in the bedrooms of consenting Americans. As long as these people propose law after law after law about gay marriage, contraceptives, birth control, abortion, etc,etc,etc, there is no time in the day to work on America's problems. They say Nero fiddled while Rome burned–is there some sort of deja vu message here?

    May 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  38. jk in MN

    Because they are more concerned first about what their lobbyist/campaign funders want them to do (these needs are seldom what's best for America these days) and secondly one party in particular (the GOP party does not want the country to succeed with a democrat in the White House and democratic control (if you call it that) of the Senate. News flash Congress – if you worked like this in the private sector – you wouldn't stay employed long!

    May 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  39. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    Maybe one party is trying to destroy our country as it is today, and trying to go back to past centuries, where putting people in their place was a way of life.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  40. 1grasshopper

    Because they have money, when it sffects them then they'll do something about it. They are to busy filling their paockets.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  41. Ted

    Jack..you have not been paying attention to the presidents speeches..Everything is fine.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  42. Dan in Albuquerque

    Jack, it's primarily because of the Tea Party and Norquist supporters. They joined forces in taking over the GOP to make sure nothing president Obama tried would work. The record 500-plus filibusters and partisanGOP add-ons to proposed bills guaranteed there would be no compromise, and therefore little progress. The solution lies in the November vote.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  43. Ben

    Yardley, PA
    Well, I think it is because politics has little to do with governing today. Politics has become about staying in power. It is like a perpetual competition for your job. And keeping your elected post has become the objective during their terms in office, instead of actually governing in the interest of the country. Given the polarization today across income, race, religion, guns, gender, etc., it is a lot easier to stay in power by taking an extreme position because the politicians operate on the swing margin (tea party, LGBT, whatever you see the margin to be). It is a downward spiral, because the more polarized it gets, the harder it is to accomplish anything, which means the easy path is more poloarization.

    What is needed are term limits, extended terms for the House (2 years is absurd), with overlapping term expirations so that there is continuity. Somehow we need to make make politics less about getting and staying elected, and more about serving the interests of the country. How about a long term national plan as well, instead of session to session politics?

    May 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |

    Because in order to do that, the candidates would actually have to have some brains. It's much easier to talk about inflammatory hot-button issues like race, gay marriage or how the candidates treat their dog. It's pathetic.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  45. Kim , Dodge City, Ks

    Painfully simple answer, Jack. Because they believe our problems, are not more important than their problems. They can not comprehend what it is like for mainstream Americans to watch their elected officials, both Republican and Democrat, willfully destroy America because they can't compromise any better that a three year old. Oh, and by the way, I hold Grover Norquist and Mitch McConnell responsible for the lack of civility in Congress.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  46. Josh from New Orleans

    Our leaders do represent the American people. We are greedy, self-centered, and looking out for our own self-interests. Our leaders in Washington, especially the Tea Party, view compromise as a sign of weakness.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  47. Ed from California

    They are, Jack. The 1% are fighting like hell to keep their hands in the till. And as long as the 1% can buy congressperson, or a senator and some supreme court justices, their country won't be destroyed by the 99% of us, who are just trying to eek out a meager existence. We all should thank Bill Clinton for starting the ball rolling downhill, NAFTA and the ending of Glass-Steagall. Good job, Bill. next time, keep your pecker in your pants so we all dont't and continued to be screwed by you and you old sect tearure, Bob Rubin.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  48. Randy

    That's too easy...the rich and corporations just looooove the status quo.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  49. Loren, Chicago

    As John Kass of the Chicago Tribune points out, Senator Lugar lost because he had lost touch with the electorate, much the same as our leaders have. There is a fundamental problem in our government and that is what is the role of government in our lives. The last thirty years have seen a fundamental shift from individual responsibility to collective responsibility through the federal government. The problem is that the additional obligations being undertaken by our federal government are being overlaid on top of its existing responsibilities, with no consideration of whether the existing can be pared, resulting in increasing budgets and deficits. The fact of the matter is that the focus of a majority of our politicians is on their reelections and that means not making the hard choices about the role of government in our lives, which means special interest groups are paid more attention to than the needs of taxpayers. This is compounded by a imesaurably wrong decision by the Supreme Court allowing unlimited political spending by corporate interests that further fuels the self-interest of our politicians. Follow the money and you understand why our politicians no longer care about solving our country's problems.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  50. EdfromMd

    When money changes hands one guy get richer and another guy gets poorer, maybe "our" country is working exactly like they want it to.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  51. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack; Because they are the ones who are destroying this country. At one point in my life, I signed a blank check, and it said, "Pay to the order of the United States of America in the amount of and including my life-–I'm starting to regret signing that check.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  52. Noel Sivertson Roswell NM

    I think the Democrats would love to begin fixing the problems. The Republicnas don't want the problems fixed untl they drive Obama out of office. Our nation's problems are the only weapon they have and they ain't gonna give that up.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  53. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I sincerely believe ever since the tea party members got elected to Congress there has been a decline and a refusal to cooperate and compromise with the Democrats. A good example of this is Sen. Lugar replacement in the Republican Party. He has already made a statement that if he gets elected the Democrats will have to come to him, meaning there will be no compromise and they must have their way. I never heard of a party pledging to one man Glover Nordquist and yelling about not being able to get anything done on the deficit. How can you tie one hand behind your back with a pledge limiting your options on what you can do on deficit, then expect to get things done? Plus there are so much hatred between the two parties that it reminds me of the Israel, Palestine, peace talks.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  54. Carolyn in New Jersey

    Because they are the problem, Jack. Our hopelessly split federally-elected leaders trying to solve the problems of the nation would be like Archie Bunker trying to smooth race relations. Except Archie had a heart beating beneath his gruff exterior.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  55. Bob Kansas City, Mo.

    Our leaders won't do anything because it will cost them a shot at reelection, instead of a balanced budget amendment we need one to end this ongoing three ring circus-TERM LIMITS for congress. If two terms is good enough for a president then one n' done is appropriate for reps and senators.....then there'll be no need to spend months on end shilling for donations to fund name calling and finger pointing along with misleading ads from shadow groups which is what they seem to do best.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm |

    And what might those be? How do teachers get the attention of young students,
    Every tank show host on cable news, every congressman and lady constantly shout that our schools are a failure. That teachers get paid way to much and are breaking the country with theiir pensions and health plans.
    I for one would like to hear some praise for our school system and teachers, afterall, you are all products of that system.

    How about it Jack, do you have it in you? Anyone/ something good.
    I have two daughters who are teachers and they two of the hardest working people I know and I am so proud of the that when I hear a question like this it makes me want to meet the questioner up close, real close and teach them a thing or two. METALWOTKER in ILLINOIS

    May 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  57. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    Because the banksters don't want them to and because the Federal Housing Receiver has not yet realized that he can pay off his bondholders at 100% by selling the GSEs to the Federal Reserve, let the Fed write down the mortgages to market value – thus decreasing the money supply while increasing family liquidity and allowing home sales (and purchases) to begin again. He is currently limited by the requirement that Fannie and Freddie repay bondholders at face value, so his options for writing the loans down himself are limited to forebearance rather than forgiveness. That is the only problem still destroying the country – the growing debt takes care of itself by letting tax rates return to Clintonian levels or forcing the GOP to compromise rather than letting that happen. Obama growing a spine solves the tax and budget issues quite easily.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  58. Richard Oak Harbor, Wa

    Since World War 2 Congress has been focusing on problems that were destroying our country, now in the new millenium our country is still moving forward at a pace which has more momentum than Congress can make new laws for or against. How many new laws do we actually need?

    May 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  59. Riley ODay

    They only want reelected. Fixing the problems may make them look bad at election time. So do nothing and blame the other party. They really are terriable people. If not terriable they would not want to be part of something so bad.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  60. Mark in Houston

    Jack; the fault lies squarely at the feet of those who elected them. Easily manipulated, gullible to false promises, and unwilling to look at facts, we are buying snake oil and then complaining because it produces no cure.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  61. EZ

    Gee, Jack, I'm really surprised – you didn't blame this on Obama! Actually, it IS Obama's fault, indirectly – on the day he took office, the Republican Party decided en masse that they would NOT work or cooperate with him or the Democrats, and would instead spend the next four years attempting to unseat Obama and retake Congress. They've even admitted it and publicly announced it. In a way it's understandable, since the only record they had to stand on after 8 years of Bush was overall failure, and the destruction of our economy.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  62. JM from DFW

    Once Obama was elected, Mitch McConnell objective was to make him a one term President. Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party had one objective in mind ... our way or no way. His comments set the tone for Obama's first term ... sabotage his commitment to America.

    As our nation becomes less educated, our number of fools increase.

    God wants a relationship with his creation, and I am thankful for his grace and mercy.

    Our nation wants a relationship with it's government, however, collaboration is not possible ... Mitch McConnell said so!

    May 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  63. Tom in Desoto, TX

    Solving problems doesn't pay as well as PAC's and lobbyists.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  64. Gigi Oregon

    Because we the people have not marched on Washington and the Media is not showing the polls on "Our Leaders" who have NO credibility. They should have their pay cut off, today. And be forced to pay back their salary for the last four years. They are guilty of a type of treason against the prosperity of our nation . They have allowed corporate America to rob the labourer, Insurance companies charging high premiums that Doctors taking advantage of, insider trading, accepting bribes from corporations etc. etc. etc...They don't have to focus, they can just turn a blind eye knowing they can get away with it. And Corporate America and "Our Leaders" can just keep rolling along. There is a long line of hungry wolves out there ready to take the defeated chair. "Our leaders" leaving...probably are the ones with a conscious.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  65. gg canada

    there would be no problem if all the goods at wal-mart said[ made in america]

    May 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  66. Paul in NC

    Because some of those so-called leaders would rather see our country destroyed than see our president succeed. There is a solution; oust all Tea Party congressmsn and get rid of the super majority rule in the senate. The log jam will disappear over night and Congress, good or bad, will return to business as usual. Who ever thought we'd end up longing for a return to the 70's ?

    May 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  67. David Gerstenfeld

    Jack, I take it you were being facetious in using "our leaders" in your question. Leaders in our government is a thing of the past. I had high hopes for the mandate the president received in 2008 & in 3 years he has destroyed that myth. Mitt Romney is not the answer. Those that could possibly lead us out of this situation aren't running for office. They wouldn't be able to get the financial support to have the freedom to say what we nead to here. The only 'leader I can think of is Bill Clinton !!
    David, Las vegas

    May 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  68. bob, ontario, canada

    Jack, it always seems inevitable that when elections at any level of government are held, the key issues always get shunted off to the side and somehow minor issues take over the debate. As you pointed out, major troubles such as government deficits, a need to create more jobs locally, health care, etc., take back seat to such burning issues as what flavor of ice cream should we purchase?. In a way the people are responsible for letting the politicians ignore the major problems and avoid committing themselves to solving problems as you have already pointed out. It's a neat way to get into office, sort of through the proverbial back door.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  69. Bob Melbourne, FL

    Jack, you did a great job of painting the republicans as the problem. That said, you failed to mention all the bills (jobs and student loans among others) passed by the Republican controlled House that won’t even be brought to the floor for consideration by the Democrat controlled Senate. So are the Republicans to blame for that too? Who’s idea was it any way to federalized the student loan program in the first place? Jack, if your kid is on drugs, do you try and ease them off or do you take the drugs away? Spending money we don’t have is the opiate to the liberal Democrats and their addicted.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  70. ricklondonsyndication

    What was Osama Bin Laden...chopped liver?

    May 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  71. Ray in Knoxville

    Jack, what we are seeing now is the culmination of the 30 year effort by this unholy alliance between big business and evangelical Christians to undo the progress of the 20th century. Simply put, if they can get into power with an unchallengable majority in congress, then they can turn America back into a country where rich white men dominate. If the country suffers suffers in the process, well so be it.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  72. Rob in NC

    Can we stop using the word "leaders"? Leaders implies that they are leading, or doing something. 3 reasons exist: A) lobbyist and pacs control our government now B) they are SOOO far above the "little people" these problems don't matter to them C) They are more loyal to their party than the people that put them there.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  73. DaleW in MA

    The reason our leaders won't focus on the big problems is because they don't like to look in the mirror. Our problems center around money, what with the haves and havenots both vying for political bandwidth. With Congress having their hands out for anything from anybody, they don't have the time, intellect nor morals to address the problems and sell themselves to the highest bidder in order to stay in office with their cushy jobs. Term limits would go a long way towards grounding these idiots back into OUR everyday reality.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  74. Jenny Sills

    Congress is not interested in doing what is best for the country. They only want to bury President Obama. It does not matter how well the man is doing, he is still their enemy instead of their PRESIDENT. Any and all of the sane Republicans and Democrats seem to have been replaced by tea party radicals and their liberal counterparts. You cannot govern without compromise and no one seems to want to do that anymore.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  75. Steve in Orlando FL

    They aren't focused on solving the country's problems because that isn't want keeps them in power. What keeps them in power is catering to the biggest campaign donors, who represent the extremes of the political spectrum and do not understand or care about the legislative process because it means nothing to them. The "super-PACs" and super-rich are the ones giving the big campaign dollars and so their voices, not the voices of the American people, are the only ones being heard, and their agendas amount to social warfare. Two things would help: 1) term limits on congress (but congress won't allow it) and 2) campaign finance reform (but the supreme court won't allow it). Somehow, we have ended up in a democracy that doesn't represent the people.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  76. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    We need to limit terms. That would cull the deadheads out. Let's also level the playing field, revoke their health care and let them rely on what they've given us. Revoke their retirement and let them sweat through nights of concern, confusion, and doubt. Take the perks away. We elected them, they damn well better stop taking advantage of those who vote.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  77. Jenna Roseville CA

    Why won't our leaders focus on the problems that are destroying our country?

    The Democratic Leadership HAS BEEN focusing on the problems that are destroying our country and the Republican Leadership has spent the past 3+ years ADDING Problems to our nation in the hopes of destroying it.

    We need to vote OUT every single Republican and we need to vote IN Democrats and Independents to replace them.

    These are serious times and we need serious leaders, what we don't need are a bunch of grown men and women stomping their feet and acting like spoild children who have had their favorite toy taken away from them because they have been bad.

    Enough is enough!

    Roseville CA

    May 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  78. Gary H. Boyd

    The captain and crew of America's ship of state cant agree on the time of day let alone a course through the mine field they know is out there so they remain tied to the dock. The only problem being, the ship is sinking.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    May 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  79. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    The problem – Republicans. By their own words, they vowed not to work with this President and they most definately have not! Had they gotten out of the way and the President was permitted to start his jobs program, this county would be in so much better shape with many more people employed. And today, the R's voted to give the Pentagon back the budget cuts they agreed to earlier and, to pay for this reinstatement, they propose taking the money from meals on wheels, food stamps and other programs that help the most needy Americans. There are simply not words !

    May 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  80. 2011 Eyes

    Because they're to busy trying to fool the people about the cause of the destruction they created. Maybe they need a dose of the unemployment line.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  81. Pete in Georgia

    First, you must face reality and admit that MOST politicians exist for one reason and one reason only : TO GET ELECTED..................over and over.
    Anything and everything else is so far down the list that it's beyond recognition.
    We are cursed in this land with a plague of egotistical, inept misfits who call themselves public servants.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  82. Jenny Sills from Rome Georgia

    They would have to admit that they have no more answers to the country's problems than anyone else and that (gulp) Obama may have actually done something right to solve them.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  83. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Possibly this is the Armageddon that we all fear, the implosion of mankind because of absolute ideologies and the undaunted willingness to choose hatred and contempt on one another over compromise and compassion for each other. If I hear that continual lie from these politicians and christian leaders of how America is a Christian country again I am going to puke.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  84. Dan from Stewartstown PA

    Our leaders won't focus on the problems that are destroying our country for one very simple reason. The reason is that in order for them to get elected or reelected, they need to get money from the big moneyed special interest groups who's greed (free market society rather than free market business) is responsible for the majority of the problems that are destroying our country.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  85. John J. Grimes Watertown, Ma.

    Perhaps because they are too busy focusing on obstructing the opposite political party at every turn or just thinking about getting re-elected in the next election. They certainly aren't thinking about the people who are paying for all of their inactivity.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  86. Mr. D

    Do you mean try to actually "fix" things? Why do today what can be put off until tomorrow (or forever). If you looked under the carpet in Congress it would be unbelievable the issues that have been swept there. It's time to replace Congress with a passel of janitors. " Bipartisan, bicameral, consesus, etc. are hollow words in these hallowed halls.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  87. Lisa s N.J

    Why would our supposed leaders what to discuss Federal spending, budgets, deficits, debt, housing,wars,our downgraded credit, our economic collapse, or the insane amount of money spent on political elections. When you in the media let them focus on gay-marriage and high school pranks. We have serious problems in this country and we need to be told the truth and move forward with a plan like Simpson-Bowles.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  88. Renee, Illinois

    Simple, they don't work for us anymore. They work for the people who fund their campaigns, you know, the same people who made sure the Supreme Court passed the Citizen's United crap that's helping to dissolve our democracy and turn it into a plutocracy (for those of you who don't know that means a govt. run by the wealthy). And with the help of Congress, and whether they want to admit it or not the help of the tea party, they're succeeding.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  89. kymsec

    That's the thing about integrity. A person of character stands on his or her principles regardless of possible fallout. President Obama stands for what he believes in: rights for all Americans regardless of legal, sexual inclination. I stand with him. The self-described moralists among us should look up the word... Integrity.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  90. Thinkforyourself, OK

    THE TEA PARTY is FOCUSED on these issues and WE are trying our best to elect into office those who will see to it that it gets done.
    We are trying to stop the SLIDE of AMERICA into the ABYSS of Marxist Socialism via the Democrat PRogressive Party.

    JOIN US IN THE FIGHT. You have everything to gain and the country to lose.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  91. Mycroft Lake Travis Texas

    Well Jack some our leaders like President Obama is trying to fix our country, whilst others, namely Republicans, put their party and egos in in front of our country by sabotaging and obstructing our Presidents efforts. When November 3 comes around this year I am going rejoice Democratic Sweeps across our country. What will the Republicans say, oh yeah we've heard it before, we've learned our lesson. I didn't believe them last time and to tell you the truth , if they were on fire I wouldn't...well you know.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  92. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    Because no one wants to listen to a president who has tried to reach out to the other party and work with them on a compromise which would benefit the American people and satisfy both parties enough to get the measure passed. Republicans and Democrats treat Congress like Burger King, always trying to have it their way. Obama should be applauded for making an effort to extend his hand to the GOP leaders in Congress, and the Tea Party Republicans should be voted out of office.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  93. r.landschoot

    those having gold make rules, and those making rules get closer to gold. Voters are re-electing those in power because powerful control media, which dictates news opinion,( Iincluding you, Jack) If media was balanced Ron Paul would have recieved more publicity. But, Obama and Romney are chosen pair. Meanwhile, food stamps and welfare keeps rising, while multimillion campaign dollars fill coffers.. Where's publicity! Bob L ocala Florida, =

    May 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  94. H.R

    When Obama took office in Jan. 2008 our Country was like a car stuck in the mud.
    The Democrats are pushing to get it out and the Republicans are pushing against getting it out.
    They said they would do "nothing" to help the Country so the President would fail.
    They vote against or filibuster every bill that is brought before them.
    Between them and the Supreme Court, we are dead if we put in the righty;s ever again.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  95. Lee Williams, Lecanto, Florida

    As much as I feel my choice of representation is doing the best they can under the circumstances and I continue to vote for him or her nothing will change. We need to truly clean house. We have to quit saying congress stinks but my guy is o.k. We need them all gone and then term limits. We need to elect people that will get big money out of politics. The time to campaign should be shortened to 4 to 6 weeks. Any longer than that in this day of 24/7 information is needless and just gives SuperPacs more time to brainwash the minions. Finally tell Clarence Thomas to act like he cares and ask a question. Six years of silence is ludicrous.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  96. Jim Charlotte NC

    Would you focus on something that takes money out of your pocket.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  97. Michael in Baldwinsville

    This shows how little our leaders care about our country. They put politics ahead of the good of the country. We need a massive housecleaning in Washington.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  98. ken from connecticut

    I believe most of our leaders chose to be such because they love this country and think they can be a positive voice and that they possess the faith and strength needed to help heal our problems. I believe they are focusing on the countries problems but they realize that the problems we are facing are too enormous just to deal with. They have compassion on the American people and to do what needs to be done would just about bring this country down. I know the Lord can heal this country but I don't think our politicians are equipped with the understanding and wisdom and spirit of unity that it would take to solve the problems this country is facing. Our country and world is infected with something that it cannot solve or heal. Only God can do that. Our leaders are focusing on the problems but it will take time!

    May 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  99. Jane in CA

    Those things you call real problems – aren't problems to very rich individuals or corporations. They make tons of money right now, more than ever before. Their job is to extract money from everyone else. The government has been bought and paid for, and works to further the interests of the very rich. Anyone who disagrees, is anti-American. Any policies which do not conform to furthering the interests of the very rich are socialism. Just ask any Republican. Even the liberal Democrats today are to the right of DDE. Of course, there were those who thought Ike was a communist sympathizer.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  100. curtis in philadelphia

    Because they're too busy trying to destroy each other, but its the average American that ends up getting hurt.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  101. Jeff In Minnesota

    You have to ask? They won't get re-elected if they talk about the real issues.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  102. marybeth, massachusetts

    They won't focus on getting anything done because they don't have to. They know the public is stupid and easily distracted by wedge issues–social issues that have no impact on the economy and jobs. Allowing gays to marry won't make the economy better or worse, nor will it create jobs. Ditto for birth control.

    As long as you have one party who says no to everything suggested by the President or the other party, even if it was the Republicans' idea first, then nothing will ever get done. I listened to the new Republican Senate nominee from Indiana yesterday and he said that he will not work with the other party–it is up to Democrats and the President to work with him, and to him bipartisanship means that Democrats come around to his way of thinking and do whatever the Republicans tell them to do. He will not listen to any other ideas or opinions, nor work with them. He said that he sees it as his job to "inflict" (interesting choice of word) his ideas and values on everyone else, and ours is to adopt his views.

    With views like that, Jack, how can you even ask why Congress hasn't done anything? Duh....

    May 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  103. Don Desaulniers (Belleville, Canada)

    Here's a scary thought, Jack.
    Maybe both parties recognize that the financial problems rampant in America and much of the industrialized world are not solvable. The status quo will bankrupt America if it hasn't already done so. Drastic government spending cutbacks will make the economy even slower in the near or even medium term. Doing nothing and blaming the other party gives the false illusion that things will turn around in November so long as one party or the other gains absolute power.
    It's becoming apparent that the critical time to turn things around occurred at least ten years ago, and now it's simply too late.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  104. Carl in San Diego

    Simple Jack. They are representatives of their State and/or District and suppose to work for ALL the people of their State and/or District, however, they sign pledges to/of individuals and groups and support ONLY special interest and their respective political party. Whoever puts money in their pocket. Being a Statesmen, willing to compromise, is dead. It has become "my way or the highway", and the voters lose.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  105. Jake in Omaha

    Why won't our leaders focus on the problems that are destroying our country?

    Because we don't elect patriots we elect party hacks.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  106. Jacob Gillies

    You're all looking to the wrong leaders.
    This is Ron Pauls' biggest concern and he's the only candidate that wants to cut spending, NOT EXPAND GOVERNMENT.
    True conservatives vote Ron Paul, no one else.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  107. Ricardo Morais

    Because that would mean hey would actually need to do their job... why would they bother?

    May 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  108. Michael

    Our government cares more about spending our money than fixing our economy. We must unite!!!

    May 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  109. Carol Davis

    It's plain and simple Jack...they have an Agenda...

    May 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  110. Steve

    They will, after the election...after the election...after the election...after – that's the solution, let's have no elections!


    May 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  111. Rodd

    We continue for some unknown reason to elect the wrong people. We still have not figured out how to vote for people who share the same goals as we do or who are even in the same social class for that matter. It's a sad day when most of us can't find a job but we are more than happy to pay them good money to not do their job.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  112. Steven Blount

    Our leaders seem to have little incentive to help fix our nation's problems because those problems have little, if any, affect on them personally.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  113. Hank - Jacksonville, NC

    There is no solution!!! We have started a bad slide where we are voting out those congressmen who want to work across the isle and voting in extremists. There is one thing that can be done to ease the pain – ABOLISH THE FILIBUSTER!!!

    May 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  114. Lisa Illinois

    Because it' not about our country and the people to them, its about their party, careers and their bank account.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  115. Jason, Syracuse NY

    There is no pressure on elected officials to get things passed. They will get paid no matter what the do (or fail to do) and will therefore not care if they go to bed at night without moving forward. Not to mention the fact that all politicians care about is getting reelected.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  116. Andre R. Newcomb

    Josh from New Orleans has it right. Americans need to park their cars and quit giving money away ONLY to have it go up in smoke . . . OIL!. These jobs going overseas is a continuing re-distribution after WWII so that there need NOT be war ever again. 'Ours' is a time of striving to make sure that the inhabitants of this planet who wish to be a part of this planet do NOT have to go crazy because various influences and mechanisms keep them from being full partners.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  117. Tim in Lake Havasu City, AZ

    The REAL terrorists are the "Party of No"... the Tea Party. They have done more damage to America than Osama Bin Ladin ever dreamed of. No compromise EVER means No Democracy.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  118. Rick from Ohio

    It is we the voters that are causing this. At least it is the primary voters in the closed primaries. We will not see a change until all primaries are open and the top tow vote getters run in the fall election. Until the moderates are able to take back the parties nothing will be done to solve the nation's problems. By then it may be too late.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  119. wayne leonard from illinois

    If they solved the problems, they would'nt be able to keep us divided. By keeping us divided, they can keep their cushy jobs and rob the country blind.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  120. Keri

    They cannot focus because no matter what happens nothing effects them. They have nothing to lose if they do not agree on things. For example, when the government shut down, they still got their thick paychecks while the soldiers fighting for their freedom did not. They need to come back down to earth and be Americans again.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  121. Dale N.M.

    Jack I think our leaders are totally clueless what to do about our problems.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  122. Shlomo

    We have an obsolete government model that worked for many years but is no longer viable in the 21st Century. We have an upper house that is grossly undemocratic with arcane rules and procedures. We should have a parliamentary system with a prime minister and a ceremonial executive with limited power. We are so fixated on our somewhat obsolete constitution and the actions of a supreme court that is really undemocratic that nothing useful ever gets legislated any more. Solution? Given the populace we have, I don't have one.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  123. Charles Buzzard

    Buzz in Wheeling, WV

    Political cowardice, Jack. Fear of each other, fear of the people and above all – fear of not getting reelected. The needs and welfare of the nation are not a priority with these people. But, as a wise men once said, "People get the government they deserve."

    May 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  124. New Jersey Harry

    Believe it or not, it is from too many anti-depressants and other such medications. You're real question is why is our leaders becoming so irresponsible? These drugs breed irresponsibilty. There is now no more guilty conconscience anymore. Just take a pill and you'll be numb. Imagine touching a hot stove and it didn't hurt. You will burn your hand right off, but you might not feel it so you never pull away. We live in the Culture of Greed fueled by Big Pharma instant relief for whatever ails you and you wonder why there is a decline in irresponsibility. It is a no brainer.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  125. Kmac499

    Some parts of the country would like to see the government fail to the point that people would make radical changes in the constitution so they remove their participation in society. They hate so much they would sacrifice the country to win.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  126. Jean weber

    Our politicians these days care only about their careers, NOT about solving any of our problems.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  127. Jim Brown

    Seems to me that your placing the blame in the wrong place. Like your question yesterday about electing people we like instead of how qualified they might be. It's us the voters, who elected these people in Wash DC ! They do nothing while screwing voters, wasting and misappropriating tax revenues. We elected them_who's to blame for that ? lol

    May 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  128. Oyefeso Wale, MD

    The leaders are playing its people as pawns in a chess game. As long as the name of the game is "win or loose" there cant be a true leadership either from both aisle.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  129. Linda

    A pox on all of them – vote them all out and start with individuals who actually will represent us, the people who elected them. Shame on us for continually voting incumbents in.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  130. Alex Landi

    Mt. Shasta, CA
    Both sides are digging in their heels because there is so much at stake. This election isn't about Obama and Romney. We are approaching the political battle of Armageddon in the culture war. The left wants to "fundamentally change America" and the right doesn't like what it sees and is resisting every way it can. This election will determine whether America continues to decline or rebuilds itself. It won't be pretty, but it will be settled.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  131. Michael

    It's my belief that our leaders are far too concerned with their own careers and paychecks to bother with risking them for the betterment of the country as a whole. I imagine it's something like putting those destructive issues on a back-burner with the mentality, "I might get around to those things later, if I can finish the things that concern me personally..." Priorities people...

    May 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  132. Lawrence

    I recall a time when I actually believed that government was supposed to be working for the citizens, their electing consitiuents, and everything they did was for our common good. Now, that I'm older and understand that the majority of the individuals making up our governing body are actually the one percenters, I realize that they only work towards their own goals which involves satisfying their one percent friends and loving life since they are eligible for lifetime government pensions, healthcare and eventually double-dipping into the private sector as lobbyists and other high paid elitists. Call me a bit skeptical...

    May 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  133. robert ramirez

    because they are there to serve themselves. if there is nothing in it for them personally or politically then it does not matter. what is wrong with you. we the people are just the ones who pay the bills on this circus.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  134. hamada

    The republicans hate president obama more than they love the good old USA and yet they call themseves conservative christians who loves the bible that proclaims LOVE NOT HATE

    May 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  135. DaveW

    Why won't our leaders focus on the problems that are destroying our country?

    Because our leaders have been bought and our political system hijacked by Big Capital – whose financial interests are served by Politicians' not addressing the problems that are destroying our country. Period.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  136. Cory in PA

    Politicians have become more and more like celebrities. It's less about hard work and dedication, and more about drama and selfishness. We're stuck in high school and it's time for us to grow up and elect some other parties in order to make progress. There's a reason why half of the citizens don't vote. They're all the same to half of us and make their small differences seem huge as a distraction to keep them in power.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  137. RickFromDetroit

    The Hoffa era officially ended on January 20, 1981 and the Reagan era officially began. The Hoffa era was for the workers and to provide a middle class standard of living for everyone and the Reagan era was for the wealthy and the "office". Reagan is why you can find mansions littering the landscape in one area of an urban area and a few blocks away find poverty.

    The Reaganites waited for years to steal everyone's paychecks & benefits for their own personal gain, and they do not want to relinquish power, so they have their fingers crossed hoping and praying that "trickle down economics" will bail them out again, while try to make their privatization work to their advantage. If they fail, it could take years to reorganize their crime syndicate.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  138. Edd

    It is simple, the GOP wants to starve the government so they can pay less in taxes. Public teachers are being squeezed so charter schools become the norm. Dems want to have an electorate that is beholden to the government for programs that are only protected by Dems. No real political theology, just pocketbook issues.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  139. Alexandra

    Something that is being lost in translation of partisanship and in general social collaboration in this country is the whole concept of leadership. Leadership is something that is earned through respect. Those who disagree can still carry on as long as respect is upheld. You can dislike someone but still respect them, but you cannot be a leader if you are not respected.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  140. Chris Christensen

    I am waiting for a leader that does not belong to "Illuninoty", "Skull and Bones", "Rothchilds" or any other organization designed to bring our country to the knees of a one world leader (so called "The Anti-Christ). Beware of these politicians who have a hidden agenda. They are working to destroy our economy!!

    May 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  141. Larry In Houston

    Why won't our leaders focus on the problems that are destroying our country? Short Answer : They Don't Really Care, once they are Elected, then they know that they are on the "Gravy Train" with All the medical benefits / other benefits / Pay / not to mention the perks.
    Long Answer : You're right, no one will have to fire a shot – by the time we vote again, in 2016 – we will be around 18 Trillion in Hawk. The true answer to your question is the fact that our political process & our political voting outcomes are antiquated, plain & simple. The 1144 number is antiquated – The 270 (electoral college number) is out dated, and antiquated. It's a good thing I guess, because if the winner of the election went by most popular Vote, there wouldn't be ANY Republican in the white house.
    Vote – Democrat 2012 – 2016 Straight Ticket.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  142. P SHARAN, Atlanta

    Most of our present so called leaders are not real leaders. They are just political opportunists trying their best to make a fool of the American public. It is said in politics that we get what we deserve. We should also take the blame. We might be stupid to elect these kind of people who call themselves our leaders.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  143. ukgrad99

    It is too easy to blast Congress for not doing something. Responsibility for the impass lies with voters. Congressional elections now remind one of the admonition Spartan women gave their children, come back with your shield or on it. The voters are telling their representatives not to work together. Senator Lugar, who holds a consistently conservative voting record, was fired by his own party for not being obstinate enough. Senator Lieberman, has been pushed out of Connecticut, for violating party orthodoxy. This isn't a Congress problem; it is a voter problem. Voters want entitlements and they don't want to pay for them.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  144. Chuck Reichmuth

    Because there is no lobby cash to fix the problems. There is plenty of lobby cash to perpetuate the problems. Legislation is bought and sold to the highest bidder.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  145. Battsman

    You are using the term "leader" synonymously with the terms "politician" and "Congress." Our bipartisan system long ago gave up on "political leaders" and replaced them with "political panderers." Leaders care about the future and not about getting re-elected.
    Sometimes leaders stand firm and sometimes they compromise. The decision to stand firm and the decision to compromise shouldn't be dicated by your political party, but what is in the best long term interest of your consituents. Show me a politician that lives that and I'll show you a representative headed out the door because our "sheeple" electorate turn to 30 second soundbites for education.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  146. Alexandra

    Something that is being lost in translation of partisanship and in general social collaboration in this country is the whole concept of leadership. Leadership is something that is earned through respect. Those who disagree can still carry on as long as respect is upheld. You can dislike someone but still respect them, but you cannot be a leader if you are not respected.
    Alexandra Maragha, Chicago, IL

    May 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  147. Dez Maxwell

    Defeating President Obama in 2012 is of higher importance to the GOP than rational governance. Anything that could be construed as cooperation is contrary to the that stated objective. Can you say...Cut off your nose to spite your face.
    Dez Maxwell – The Bronx

    May 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  148. cameron

    its kind of like giving a baby candy and expecting them not to eat it. Come on people we have to elect new leaders if not in the end we can blame ourselves when our proud country falls through the cracks. THEY WONT CHANGE SO WE HAVE TO CHANGE FOR THEM!!!

    May 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm |

    Well Jack,
    It's time people realize that we are fighting our Civil War all over again – in fact it never stopped. The Republicans – the "Grey States" are fighting the Democrats – the "Blue States". The same type of people who would have destroyed the Union before are perfectly willing to do it again to get their way. This election will decide which way we will go.
    Sadly, they want us all to be enslaved by their Biblical law. Theology vs. Secular – that's what is going on here and real DEMOCRATIC Americans need to wake up before our National Anthem is changed to "Onward Christian Soldiers.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  150. Ken in Gaithersburg, MD

    Americans should take a long look in the mirror. They're getting the kind of government they voted for. If Americans want our government to function, they need to elect representatives who want to make it function - not people who believe their number one function is defeat and block the programs of the other guy. That doesn't mean representatives without principles. It just means the kind of person who seems to be getting defeated in primaries or refusing to run for re-election because they're discouraged by the scorched earth tactics now in vogue and the dysfunctional government that American VOTERS have chosen put in place..

    May 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  151. Erik P.

    because there is an obvious plan to strip us of our liberties. It's not as if major news outlets aren't aware of this. They, CNN included, don't have the guts to report on it. Prove me wrong, please

    May 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  152. Name*MIKE

    Our leaders are little girls, not men. Even worse, they're dishonest little girls. They won't do anything unless it benefits them first. Let's lift the veil of secrecy on government "leaders" with blind trusts and see how many rats flee the fire.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  153. Paul from Rockaway NJ

    Jack, instead of being part of the solution, the Republicans in congress would rather drag out the problems and villianize the other party, in hopes that Mitt Romney gets elected and then they can claim all the credit if things turn around. All the while America continues to slide further and further down a cliff and become more and more polarized. Now if that's not treason, than I don't know what is, and it truly is a travesty.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  154. Bronek Ruszkowski

    When country was found by our forefathers, the mentality was "what can we do to improve it" Now it is opposite. Just like back when, the air was clean and the sex was dirty, now...

    What the country needs now in vibrant third party to stop the polarization!

    May 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  155. Ed in CT

    Our leaders won't focus on the problems that are destroying our country because one side wants to pay for things by making tough choices (like families on a tight budget have to do) and the other side just wants to spend money as if there is no tomorrow. Therefore, there can be no common ground!

    May 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  156. Jared Zorfas

    It clearly appears that be they Democrat, Republican, Al Queda, or any other devoted "fundamentalist", the one thing in common is their inevitable influence to the downfall of the USA. When will we learn that the Congress, not the President truely holds (and abuses) the power of change and compromise.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm |

    Our "leaders" arenot meant to be "leaders", they are supposed to be our REPRESENTATIVES... and they aren't. They are "representatives" of banks, insurance companies and other corporations. Their original purpose of serving their constituents has been lost in the never-ending effort to raise money for their own re-election. To do that, they have to pander to the most powerful and affluent groups and individuals whose goals are often far removed from those of the average voter. We trust them and then elect them, and then they turn on us like pit bulls.

    We should be able to charge them and prosecute them for fraud if they do not do as they promise.

    Allan – St. Petersburg, FL

    May 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  158. Kmac499

    America is just to filled with hate. They would rather destroy the country than accept the anything the other sides ideas. I myself blame R. Murdock and the end timers.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  159. Travis, IL

    Jack, politics as it used to be is now gone. Today we have egos that dictate the direction of this nation. The true bi-partisan politicians are being ousted by this new ego machine that we now call our government. In Illinois our governor hold office because he 'won' two counties in the Chicago area while the rest of the state voted against. So in nature our state is hurting because of the Chicago mentality that the rest of the state must follow. I mean he allowed $15 million to fund known illegal immigrants to stay in state to stay in school. Hands out millions to corporations in tax incentives while laying off public servants or taking their benefits. We are the last and only state in the country to have a conceal and carry law, THE LAST AND ONLY. Now unfortunately the nation elected and Illinois senator to the Presidency and the country wonders why we are in the position we are in. I am a proud American yet sad to see this ego machine destroy this country from within.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  160. Marsha

    The people who are suppose to be leading are not fit to lead. A nation with that problem will come to its demise in time. Voters are not to blame by having cast their ballot for a candidate who spoke their lies for the gain.
    Many leaders are extremely deceitful and have no interest in anything other than promoting and profiting from the people they are paid to serve. SHAMEFUL BY ALL STANDARDS.

    I finally see some proper outrage by the voters that I hops builds to the point of reason restored to those elected. If the main news, prime times would do stories on realty and stop promoting the bull perhaps we can make some progress.
    It has recently also dawned on me that the perils we face are due to a very concerted effort to bring us here.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  161. Tony

    Easy, because you (the media) keep giving them a platform to spread their negative and obstructionist behavior. You continuously run negative stories despite the truth. If I weren't educated I would think we've made absolutely no progress since GW. The Tea Party isn't driving politics. You are!!! You should be more responsible in reporting the TRUTH.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  162. DaveW

    Rise above the ruse. Both parties are bought and paid for by Big Capital. Elections only provide the illusion of choice and democracy, as the interests and agenda of Big Capital will be served no matter who wins the election. The differences between platforms are largely just posturing to pacify and distract us from the real issue of a system that is consolidating ever more wealth and political power into ever fewer hands – undermining democracy itself. Changing the actors on the stage will not change the play. For any real change we need to change the Director behind the curtain (Big Capital). We need to end our growing plutocracy (where gov't is controlled by wealthy elites) and restore gov't by, for and of the people.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  163. Susan from Idaho

    They're not leaders. Do they really know what the real issues are?

    May 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  164. Charles

    No one wants to lose their financial/power backers. If they actually do what's right for the US and Americans, that might upset the oil and insurance companies, the military industrial complex industries and the Israeli lobby, all of whom rule many US lawmakers. If Congressmen/women don't get their backing, they're afraid they'll lose their next election, and they probably would lose without those backers. We need lawmakers who can't be bought or bullied by any group, be it a corporation or an ideological group that promotes perpetual war. Republicans won't compromise on anything. President Obama did nothing but compromise from the day he was inaugurated but that wasn't enough for the now overwhelmingly extremist Republican/Tea Party who do not want a successful government – they proudly proclaim they want to bring down the government, that all government is too big (except when it's a Republican government declaring war, degrading women and taking away civil liberties). As long as anyone votes for these proudly intractable hypocritical bigots, then this country will continue to swirl downwards. Not all Democrats are without problems, but they pale in comparison to the lies and crimes committed daily by Republican/Tea Party lawmakers and their backers.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  165. Steven Franco from California

    Jack the leaders of our country don't have the same problems as you or I do. Hats why they can focus more on staying in power and not getting problems solved. Sad but unfortunate truth in today's politics

    May 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  166. Brady

    Terrorist plan is to destroy our country and now our own representatives are in the process of doing the same thing. What is the difference and why is one tolerated and the other is a crime. None of our representatives are thinking of the country or people any more. It is all about the party. When parties are destructive it is time to remove all of them and start over.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  167. Louise G

    We could answer simply, because the wrong people were elected.
    It is just a little more complex.

    Two reasons that are finally the very same:
    Number one: Because if they are elected by the citizens, they are the puppets of private and corporate interests, that dictate them how to behave, how to vote, how to delay.

    Second, (back to Number one) because they want to be re-elected, and that is only possible with the money of those interests.

    This is not specific to the US, except that is seems easier done in there (lobbyists allowed anytime, anywhere, even in congress while votes are taken)

    May 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  168. Bronek Ruszkowski

    There are multiple reasons, but one that stands out is. The elected officials making a very good living out being in Washington. Decisions are made, first and foremost driven by personal goal, gain and job security... Other business like our country well being is secondary by far!

    May 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  169. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    Looking at history and reflecting on governments of all types, the conclusion I have is that "government" is a bad concept !

    May 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  170. frank

    It doesnt matter who you vote for, the illumnati/freemason/bilderberg/trilateral commision new world order government is in motion. Both parties are part of it. It requires America to fail economically at home, invade Iraq abroad, and they are doing it all on purpose, we pay interest on printed money to the federal reserve. China owns the US almost. We are never going to repay the debts. Price of food and gas skyrocketing, there soon will be a food shortage with riots here at home and worldwide. They knocked down the wtc towers and made billions, the rfid chip that the healthcare bill which was rammed through is the mark of the beast. WAKE UP AMERICA!!! Most of the terrorists they have caught or prevented attacks are a hoax, excuses to invade Afghanistan, Iraq and soon Iran. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order-David Rockefeller Sept 14, 1994 at UN in NYC. haliburton got an 8 million no bid military contract. The coming RFID chip will make the company and govt partners more than 15 BILLION.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  171. Richard Thomas

    It's obvious, Congress is bought and paid for. Get rid of the cronyism and corruption and we might start getting somewhere. However, to do this there has to be a fundamental change in the electoral system. Millions of Dollars and years of campaigning to get elected is a joke. I don't see any developed country going into this type of Dog and Pony show.So what do our elected officials do when they get on the hill? They spend more time fundraising for the next election than taking care of the peoples business, furthermore they are beholding to their benefactors who are buying favors. Is this Democracy? I think not.As a consequence they all have a private agenda which is a recipe for conflict., which is what we have.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  172. dewizard

    You are asking the wrong question. It is not our leaders who are at fault. It is the American voters who are voting in narrow mined people who only want to solve the problem their way. These type of people do not have the necessary skills to solve our problems. Now it is Divided We Stand and United We Will Fall policy.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  173. Chris Christensen

    If our current President (Obama) is not re-elected, and we find Mitt Romney our leader – things will get worse, I guarantee you!!

    May 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  174. Javier Mercado

    The solution is rather simple, Jack. First: vote out of office all those losers who are stealing their paychecks and not doing anything. Second: Let's vote to put the NEW Congress and the Senate on pay-as-you-produce wages. You don't produce – you don't get paid. In fact you should be fired. Oh wait, that's how it works for us in the real world – that's where I got it from! Who knew? Love you column, Jack.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  175. Jake in california

    Here's the the answer to this question jack. they are a bunch of NARCISSIST,that is why nothing cannot, and will not get done in our country.and sad to say , am just wondering if you remember who the president is . the man who REPUBLICAN always want to fail from his first day in office.Remember this "we will be the party of no to everything the president propose."AND I DONT CARE ABOUT THE POOR". LET THE RICHER GET RICHER ,AND THE POOR SUFFER.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  176. TonyfromStLouis

    DC is full of rich, spoiled, selfish, lawyers who have been bought and payed for by BIG money contributors. Their main goal is to keep the "money" happy and get re-elected. This does not leave much room for your everyday citizen. We, the citizens, are very far down on the list of "concerns" for most politicians – therefore, why would they focus on "our" concerns? Look at the following GROSS examples of KNOWN areas of corruption that are tolerated and even encouraged by DC: Wall Street, Banking, Insurance, Oil, and Campaign Finance. The inmates are policing themselves...

    May 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  177. Name Sharon NC

    Jack the only thing that they are concerned about is getting elected, serving one or two terms and have the citizens pay for the rest of their lives Even when they are voted out. If these politicians are voted listen have to apply for unemployment insurance, Medicaid, of go to DSS to apply for food stamps then they may try to work to get things done. I say if you are voted out we the people your employers have denied you benefits.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:51 pm |