"Congress needs to work together. That means compromise, said Alexander Barket, 63, a technology professional from Lawrence, Kan. The Founding Fathers didnt intend on stagnation and gridlock."
They need to work for compromise, except for some bedrock issues, said Diana Doll, 73, of Modesto, Calif. There are areas of wisdom in all the political parties. They need to combine all those wisdoms.
But a vocal minority of 25 percent including 40 percent of Republicans want to stand on principle, regardless of whether that means gridlock that could lead to higher taxes, a government shutdown, or higher federal debt.
John Ostwalt, 43, a Statesville, N.C., attorney, was adamant: Republicans should stand by their principles.
Compromise, thats whats got us in the mess were in now, he said. I dont think we would go into deeper debt if we didnt compromise. Compromising is whats gotten us into deeper debt now.
To Donna Frazier, 59, a retired schoolteacher from Excelsior Springs, Mo., who considers herself lucky because she has her retirement benefits, its time to look out for everyone else.
"Everybody ought to stand on principle until theres bloodshed," she said. "At this point in time, these guys are going to have to get together and do something because there are some folks dying hard and fast out there."
Fraziers view is widely shared, and the nationwide survey dramatically illustrated how the American political mood has changed in recent years.
For generations, Americans accepted compromise in order to make the economy hum. The willingness to give and get became the political engine that allowed the United States to become a more prosperous country in the 20th century. New ideas may have been born and nurtured in turmoil, but ultimately much of America came to accept them, and they usually worked to cushion the United States from deep depressions and abject poverty.
The McClatchy survey and interviews illustrated how Americans now live in a very different political era, one with no easy solutions in plain sight.