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Kerry: Washington Misses the Leadership of Howard Baker and Bob Dole

At a National Journal event yesterday, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) spoke about his experience serving on the super committee. Sen. Kerry emphasized the importance of congressional leaders willing to bring their members along with them as they work across the aisle. The absence of such leaders, he said, is the source of Washington’s dysfunction today.

“The super committee was a disappointing process,” Sen. Kerry admitted. While he understands the public’s anger, he urged Americans not to blame the process. “This Congress can work,” he said. “It is the people who make up Congress who determine what we accomplish.”

Sen. Kerry invoked the work of BPC Co-Founders and former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker and Bob Dole in highlighting past Republican leaders who found common ground with Democrats. “It is, fundamentally, a leadership on one side or another that decides what is going to happen. If you have Howard Baker, or you have Bob Dole, if you have people who are prepared to do a deal, you can do a deal. But we don’t have that right now, I regret to say,” Sen. Kerry argued. He encouraged elected officials to lead their members in a bipartisan direction and to “take risks, even at the risk of putting their political life on the line.”

Sen. Kerry also cited BPC’s Debt Reduction Task Force , applauding the group’s effort for elevating the chorus of voices calling for a grand bargain.

The relevant clip runs from approximately the 7:00-minute mark to the 15:00 mark.

2011-12-14 00:00:00
“If you have Howard Baker, or you have Bob Dole…you can do a deal. But we don’t have that right now.”

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