I believe all the component parts are in place to produce an agreement to end the government shutdown. The missing link is how to bring them all together in a manner that saves face for both sides, the White House and Senate Democrats.

That is where the services of a mediator can be extremely helpful. Such a person can meet with each side separately and put together a solution acceptable to both parties.

That solution can then be set forth by the mediator himself, while giving credit to each side for having come up with a part of that agreement. In this way, neither side will be perceived as having given up their position in deference to the other side.

George Mitchell used these techniques to bring peace to Northern Ireland. A similar result could be accomplished by a team of two persons of similar stature, one Democrat and one Republican.

All that is needed is for both two sides to acknowledge that assistance from a team of mediators would be helpful. Until that happens, both sides will continue to look more and more incapable and foolish.

Cushman Anthony