Ideas. Action. Results.

Surprise! There may be a way to fix Washington.


Monday, November 10, 2014

The morning after the midterm elections, one of the best places to go for hope that the 114th Congress might actually get something done was a think tank not far from the Capitol called the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Founded in 2007 by four former Senate majority leaders and its director, Jason Grumet, the BPC gave itself the mission of trying to figure out how to make government work in a time when hyperpartisanship seemed to be bringing Washington to an almost complete stop.

Last Wednesday morning, former majority leaders Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) and Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) talked about how things used to work, in a time when members of Congress lived where they worked, their kids grew up together, their spouses were friends, and compromise happened because people trusted each other, even when they profoundly disagreed.

If you want to know how bad it has become, the place to go is Grumet’s recently published book, City of Rivals: The Glorious Mess of American Democracy. “The people I have spoken to across the country who are absolutely the most fed up with Congress are members of Congress,” he said in an interview. “It’s a horrible experience. One U.S. senator described his job to me as ‘a glorified telemarketer who occasionally gets to vote for an assistant secretary of education.’”