A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action

The sooner the rational Republicans in Congress are willing to take on their radical tea party allies, the sooner we can get back to leading the world.

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House Speaker John Boehner wants to have a conversation with the president about reopening the government. We know this because he said so several times on his Sunday morning interview with George Stephanopoulos. The president called him today, and of course leaders should talk to each other, but as Elvis Presley might say, it's time for a little less conversation and a little more action.

The insanity being wrought upon the nation by the radical Republicans and their more rational Republican enablers these days makes the United States look like an unsteady leader. Unless there is a last minute deal, it is very possible the government could default on its debt, sending the global economy into a tailspin.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and others advise the Treasury Secretary to prioritize America's debts to pay bond holders and Social Security first. Then the country could decide which other obligations could wait. He sounds like my high school economics teacher, Mr. Long, who told us if money was low, "first you pay for your roof; then you pay for your ride." Everything else could wait if it had to. That's sound advice for a teenager, not-so-much for a global super power responsible for the world's reserve currency.

Big things are at stake in the world and America's allies need for us to be engaged. The White House found its way to a potentially productive process with the Syrians to remove their chemical weapons capacity. Secretary of State John Kerry is engaged with his Iranian counterpart on nuclear issues in the first direct conversations at that level since 2007. The president is still waging pinpoint attacks on terrorist targets in Libya and Somalia.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the government shutdown.]

The government's dysfunction led the White House to cancel President Obama's trip to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders Summit in Bali, Indonesia. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman was there to push for the completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which aims to lower trade barriers and strengthen ties among Pacific Rim nations, not including China. However, President Obama's absence left Chinese President Xi Jinping unchecked as a centrifugal force drawing nations away from America's sphere of influence.

Though Speaker Boehner contends there are not enough votes to pass a continuing budget resolution to get the government back to work, most media organizations contest this point. Almost every Democrat would vote to fund the government and more than 18 Republicans admit they would too. The sooner the rational Republicans in Congress are willing to take on their radical tea party allies, the sooner we can get back to leading the world.

Elvis has more advice Americans want Congressional leaders to take. Use "a little more bite and a little less bark; a little less fight and a little more spark." That would satisfy us.

  • Read Eric Schnurer: Obama Should Accept GOP Shutdown Demands, Then Watch the Party Implode
  • Read Carrie Wofford: How Wall Street Could Stop the Tea Party Government Shutdown
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