"I can only tell you... that talking to each other instead of about each other is the way to stay out of trouble."
Recently Eric Cantor walked out of talks with Joe Biden and other republicans about the deficit, and the debt ceiling. This is one example of many that have been exhibited by the GOP, as of the past 11 years. From talking to foreign nations that have different governing philosophies, to talking to democrats in the chambers of congress, the GOP has taken a stance of difference towards those they disagree with. It is better to hold your view regardless of the opposing view, and to mudsling at the opposing party, than to come together and find a solution. Whether threatening the nuclear option, filibustering more times than any other congress in US history, creating the label "axis of evil", questioning people's patriotism based on their political ideology, reinvigorating the paradigm of the cold war, us vs them.
It is true that both sides of the aisle subscribe to this philosophy from time to time. The democrats are guilty of this crime as well. However, the democrats are pluralists and are open to debate more so than the GOP. This was exhibited perfectly in the Presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama when discussing talks with foreign powers and the opposing power meeting preconceived conditions in order to talk. Barack Obama was open for talks, while John McCain was not. This line of thinking, runs deep in the Republican party and those who subscribe to their governing philosophy.
Former President Ronald Reagan often gets made out to be a demigod in Republican circles all throughout the country. Stephen Colbert has done numerous bits on his show, The Colbert Report, about this very same phenomenon. Yet when you look at how the man evolved while serving as President, many of the common beliefs held about the man, are wrong, or more nuanced than made out to be by present day republicans. One of these instances is compromise and talking to one another about the great pressing problems.
When you as an individual have never met someone, have little experience with someone else, or some other place, it is very easy to cast stones. However, when you are in the same room as that person, listening to their concepts, counter points, personal tid bits, etc, the game changes. Instead of being an evil socialistic monster, they become a human being with differing views but with the same aim. Former President Reagan saw this with Gorbachev on numerous occasions. This is what allowed him to invite the Russian head of state to come to the United States, and for Reagan to visit Russia with Gorbachev and state this inherent truth, that talking to each other instead of talking about each other is the best way to stay out of trouble, to solve our problems. If it could end the Cold War, I think talking to each other could solve our debt problems.