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In 1932 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt told America, ”The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” In 1988 Lee Atwater discovered Willie Horton, a furloughed felon who, once out, committed more crime; Atwater used this to trigger racial stereotypical hate and fear to decimate a Democratic presidential candidate. This aura of Republican fear mongering vs. Democratic inclusive problem solving is still with us.

In West Virginia, we have a Democratic senator who is a member of the Problem-Solver Caucus, which devotes itself to thawing out the stymied Congress so that at least some essential work can get done. In contrast, the Republicans in the lower chamber, using the debt ceiling as an excuse (the debts in question have already been incurred), are threatening to close down the government if they can’t get their way.

John Palmer is a Huntington resident.

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