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Can American Democracy Be Saved?

Former senators Olympia Snowe and Tom Daschle, Republican and Democrat, take on Washington gridlock.

Dean of the University of New Hampshire School of Law, John Broderick, left, watches as former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, center, is introduced of U.S. Sen. Angus King, right, Sunday, April 21, 2013 in Concord, N.H. Snowe received the inaugural Warren B. Rudman award at a dedication ceremony for the former New Hampshire U.S. senator. (AP)

Dean of the University of New Hampshire School of Law, John Broderick, left, watches as former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, center, is introduced of U.S. Sen. Angus King, right, Sunday, April 21, 2013 in Concord, N.H. Snowe received the inaugural Warren B. Rudman award at a dedication ceremony for the former New Hampshire U.S. senator. (AP)

The latest Gallup poll finds Americans approval rating for Congress at an all-time low.  Four percent with a great deal of faith there.  The lowest for any American institution Gallup has polled on in 40 years.  In gridlock and polarization and standoff, legislation has ground nearly to a halt.  For the sake of democracy, of the country, this cannot go on say my guests today, former Senators Olympia Snowe, Republican and Tom Daschle, Democrat.  They think they’ve got a way out.  An answer to the standoff. This hour On Point:  Senators Snowe and Daschle on saving American democracy.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), former U.S. Senator from Maine. Senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Author of “Fighting For Common Ground: How We Can Fix the Stalemate in Congress.” (@OlympiasList)

Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), former U.S. Senator from South Dakota. Co-founder of the Bipartisan Policy Center. Author of “Getting it Done: How Obama and Congress Finally Broke the Stalemate to Make Way For Health Care Reform” and “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.”

Jedediah Purdy, professor at the Duke University School of Law. Author of “A Tolerable Anarchy” and “The Meaning of Property.” (@JedediahSPurdy)

From Tom’s Reading List

Bipartisan Policy Center: Governing in a Polarized America – “With such deeply held contrasting principles, we as a country must ask: ‘Can our democracy function effectively in such a partisan era?’ We believe the answer is yes, but engagement by the American people will be necessary, as has been the case throughout  history, to encourage policymakers to solve problems. We come here today with the hope that our democracy will once  again be able to respond to national challenges, despite our ideological differences.”

POLITICO Magazine: Time Bomb — “Talk about embracing conflict seems divisive, which is automatically taken as a bad thing these days. But division as such is not a bad thing. Cultural vitriol stirred up by cynical posturing—that is a bad thing. Much Washington partisanship is tactical, positioning the team to take another increment of power. Much popular partisanship is a matter of culture and identity—where you get your news, what kind of tone you use when pronouncing President Obama’s name, which kinds of people you wish your children or siblings wouldn’t date.”

ABC News: Small Group of Former Lawmakers Tackle Big Problem: Washington Gridlock – “How do you fix American politics? A group of former senators believe they have some of the answers to the gridlock and partisanship fueling Americans’ lack of faith in Washington and Congress’ historic levels of inaction. Working with the Bipartisan Policy Center, former Sens. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Tom Daschle, D-S.D., unveiled their bipartisan blueprint today to move governing forward in Washington.”

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  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    A tragedy for America the Congress no longer has the character, the strength, the stature, and the determination of men like Sam Rayburn.

    Congress is mostly little people now: completely representative of the Americans who select them. That’s not just sad; it’s pathetic.

    • anamaria23

      The demise of the modern day Congress may have been enabled by Mr. Newt Gingrich while Speaker of the House.
      For his contribution to the dismantling of this once great deliberative body, read “Gingrich and the Destruction of Congressional Expertise” by Bruce Bartlett on Google.
      That and his admonition to his fellow House members to hold Democrats in nothing but contempt helped set the tone for today’s rancor.

      • HonestDebate1

        Newt was the last great Speaker. He and Bill Clinton worked together to balance budgets and reform welfare.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          Huh? He was underhanded and opportunistic.

          • anamaria23

            Not to mention an utterly cruel man.

          • HonestDebate1

            The Contract with America was good for the Country.

          • jefe68

            Pssst, mack, if you believe that, I have a bridge in New Jersey to sell yah…

          • HonestDebate1

            Which of the seven out of ten items that Bill Clinton signed did you oppose?

          • jefe68

            I’m sorry, did you say something?
            Do you really expect to be taken seriously?

          • HonestDebate1

            Here’s the thing, Newt was a big reason for Clinton’s success. They worked together to benefit America. You can’t deny that so you do this, whatever it is.

          • jefe68

            Really? What this is, is me telling to you’re not a serious person. That what your posting I find to be vacuous and selective and it’s not worth engaging in more than what I’m posting here and now.

            Newt Gingrich was a corrupt politician and was forced out of Congress.

            My memory of Newt Gingrich he shut down the government and is the beginning of the mess we have in DC.

            http://www.nationaljournal.com/who-broke-washington/how-bill-clinton-and-newt-gingrich-set-the-stage-for-the-shutdown-20131001

            http://politicalcorrection.org/factcheck/201105110003

          • HonestDebate1

            No Newt didn’t shut down the government and to the extent he is blames a lot of good came out of it. Were you not paying attention?

            And don’t lecture me, if all you have is hate for Newt then you are not looking at history, Ask Bill, he’ll tell you.

          • Arkuy The Great

            Yes, both were/are white-haired Southern Gentlemen with histories of philandering and a love of classic fast cars. Come to think of it, they looked separated at birth whenever they posed together! ;-)

          • keltcrusader

            And a serial liar and cheater to boot, which make him completely untrustworthy. Really no surprise here that Dishonest Debate looks up to him, he is just his type of guy.

        • jefe68

          Very selective memory you have there.

        • TFRX

          I’m sorry, but Newt Answer every question with the Dem is a Coward, Criminal, Weak, Tax raiser, Hates America Gingrich what again?

          • jefe68

            Newt was and still is one of the lowest forms of political animal out there.

        • John Cedar

          Actually, Newt did all the work and Bill signed what ever was sent to him. If you look at Hillary, you see more of the left wing stuff that Bill would have liked to have implemented.

      • Don_B1

        anamaria23 jefe68 Neil Blanchard keltcrusader TFRX Human2013 tbphkm33 Acnestes

        =========================

        As a Ronald Reagan (and, I think, Barry Goldwater) Republican, a Bruce Bartlett statement should carry some weight with all current Republicans, but as the list of comments from the four easily identified trolls here, where they just glibly “defend” Speaker Gingrich with raw assertions, and no facts, without mentioning that maybe Mr. Bartlett has a point, that could be in doubt. And certainly the Tea Party economics are not supported by Mr. Bartlett.

        A more complete history (though still shortened) is found in the Washington Monthly:

        http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/junejulyaugust_2014/features/the_big_lobotomy050642.php

        which documents just how much damage Speaker Gingrich did in his Speakership, and it is what set Congress on the path to where it is today.

        Certainly the Congress could have reversed at least some of the damage, such as dropping its prohibition on regulating derivatives (those CDOs and CDSs which the big banks used to sell faulty mortgages after they had been tranched into oblivion, except they were zombies that came back to bite the economy big time.

  • tbphkm33

    I find that in actually, there is not that much that separates the average person on Main Street from his or her peers. There is the occasional single issue voter on either side which you will never reach, but some 90% of The People have more in common than they have in opposition.

    The issue really is in terms of who benefits when The People are divided? The People united gives strength to The Union; The People divided gives strength to special interests – i.e., big money, large corporations, governance by the few and the self appointed “elite.”

    In many ways I think The Union is approaching divisions as strong as the forces unleashed in the 1840s and 1850s which ultimately lead to the Civil War. There are strong arguments to be made that a second U.S. civil war, a popular uprising, is closer at hand than most people realize or will admit.

    However, such a course can be avoided, and may well be averted, if The People realize that both sides are being manipulated. An artificial division driven by greed that enables the few to despoil the power of The Union for their own benefit. Rigging the halls of power to favor those already powerful at the expense of the masses, at the expense of The People.

    For the long term interests of The Union is the providence of the 99%. One way or another, a peaceful revolution within the existing structures of The Union or a violent revolution to replace what is rotted; ultimately, The People will regain control.

  • Human2013

    It’s not accidental that similarly situated people across this country are divided. I believe most Americans are slowly starting to shed their bout with exceptionalism and come to the realization that we are poorer, less educated, depressed, more obese and generally less satisfied than most countries around the world. The divide occurs when we discuss solutions — government or no government.

    It’s a FACT that the countries performing well on most indices measuring human satisfaction and well-being, have strong governments and high taxation. For some reason, Americans believe that they can divorce themselves from taxation. If you superimpose the decline in taxation on top of the decline in education, healthcare, infrastructure, … they share a pattern.

    On plutocrats:

    “..While some continued to see themselves as owing a debt of obligation to the societies in which they enriched themselves, a significant subset, particularly among financial elites, began to see their personal achievements as being detached from the success of the national societies in which they reside.”

    “Instead of seeing themselves as the ultimate winners of the systems in which they work, they characterized themselves as the noble rebels who made it on their own despite the drag caused by incumbents, loafers, and parasites in government and society.”

    http://www.the-american-interest.com/articles/2014/06/15/the-twin-insurgency/

    • Human2013

      This article also points out that the threat of a Marxist system helped reign in their oversized ambitions and strengthen their relationship with society. Those who believe it’s ludicrous to consider an alternative economic system – which may be inevitable anyway – should consider that “competition” imposes checks and may provide balance that can’t be found elsewhere.

      “Whereas during the Cold War the apparent availability of a socialist alternative pressured the ultra-rich to temper their maximalist ambitions, the collapse of communism removed that constraint, enabling a shift in how many of the new ultra-wealthy conceived their relationship with society”

    • Acnestes

      The exceptionalism thing might just be unshakeable. Keep in mind that huge swathes of the population seriously believe that the USA is Jesus’ personal social science project and that he and his Dad would never allow anything (like, say, an environmental catastrophe) to happen to it. If you actually make an effort to try to fix something you’re denying God is how they see it. No hope.

      • Don_B1

        At least if your approach to fixing that something involves government action.

        After countless “market failures” it is the “free market” that the Republicans look to still, except when that market fails them.

    • Arkuy The Great

      Don’t forget that the high rates of taxation seen in Europe are heavily bolstered by the VAT and other “consumption” taxes. These disproportionately impact those at the lower end of the income spectrum. I.E. increased revenue is due to “regressive” tax regimens. That is the worst of both worlds in our political environment; the left insists that the “rich pay their fair share” and the right insists “no new taxes”.

      • Human2013

        Our consumption taxes are similar, but we don’t get free college, maternity leave and pay, free healthcare and most importantly, human dignity.

        • Arkuy The Great

          No, our consumption taxes are not similar. There is a reason gasoline costs $8/gal in Europe and about $4 here; consumption taxes. The same applies to a variety of manufactured goods across the continent.

          WADR your opinion on the matter is woefully uninformed.

          • Human2013

            “The rate of value-added tax rate generally in force in Germany is 19% [4]. A reduced tax rate of 7% applies e.g. on sales of certain foods, books and magazines, flowers and transports.”

            WADR your comparison is much too simplistic. If I pay the 19% VAT tax – which may already be addressed, at least in part, in base pricing, I’m much better off than going without maternity pay, healthcare or the $200K price of college — get real!

            Lets address the NET EFFECT, please….
            Lets also stick to the indices reflecting quality of life in Germany and compare than to the quality of life of the American people.

          • Arkuy The Great

            Germans pay a 7% tax on certain foods? We pay 0%!

            So you want to willfully ignore that it is the lower income segments that are disproportionately impacted by the tax? They spend a far greater share of their income than their higher income compatriots who invest more. And all the rosy implications of various benefits do not mitigate the regressive nature or the VAT. It is very telling that you want to studiously ignore this fact.

          • Human2013

            We can go back and forth on the variance of the taxes, but the bottom line is that the net effect is in their favor.

            Also, what state do you live in? 0% food tax??!! Not only is food taxed, but prepared foods can be taxed as high as 9% in some localities.

          • Arkuy The Great

            MA. And looking at a recent grocery receipt there is exactly $0.00 in tax applied to any edible items. Yes, 0% food tax!

            Again, you ignore the regressive impact of the VAT and are otherwise uninformed on the issue.

          • jefe68

            That depends on the food. You’ll be taxed for using the salad bar or buying loose bagels at Whole Foods or Roche Brothers.

          • Arkuy The Great

            That’s a meals tax, not a food tax. It is collected by the city or town, not the federal government. And you can easily get around it by packaging the exact same victuals differently.

          • jefe68

            Pardon me, I though a meal was food.

          • Arkuy The Great

            “Prepared” food plus “service”. Food items alone are exempt.

            http://www.mass.gov/dor/businesses/help-and-resources/legal-library/regulations/64h-00-sales-and-use-tax/830-cmr-64h65-sales-tax-on-meals.html

            830 CMR 64H.6.5 Sales Tax on Meals

            (a) General. The Massachusetts sales tax is imposed on sales of meals by a restaurant. The tax is levied on the sales price of the meal. The sale of food products for human consumption is exempt from the sales tax.

            You want to keep this silly debate going that’s fine with me. The facts and the law are not on your side here.

          • Don_B1

            Just because the sales tax is 0% at the POS does not mean that there is no sales tax.

            Consider that wine, beer and liquor are all taxed, but before the POS.

          • Arkuy The Great

            Here in MA the 6.25% sales tax is applied at the time of sale and it appears on the register receipt.

            I have got to say I do not think anyone on this particular thread has been to a store in many years!

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      “Rebels”, as in ignoring common sense rules, laws and ethical standards meant to thwart abuse, cheating and competition.

  • John Cedar

    A system that was purposely designed to have much gridlock, in order to limit the power of government, is being criticized for this beautiful intrinsic property. Every day of gridlock, is a great day for the American people. It might mean that you have to pay for your own abortion pills but that is a small price to pay.

    • Human2013

      Balance, not gridlock.

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        Speaking of balance, when is Obama going to send Congress a balanced budget instead of kicking the $18 trillion and counting can down the road to our children and grandchildren?

        • Human2013

          As soon as the defense department gets an ax through their behemoth slice.

  • nj_v2

    http://time.com/2900031/congress-approval-ratings/

    Yes, Congress’ Approval Ratings Have Hit Yet Another Historic Low

    Just when you thought Congress’s approval ratings couldn’t get any lower—they sunk to another historic low.

    A record-low seven percent of Americans said they had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday. That’s down from 10 percent in 2013 and 42 percent in 1973, the first year of the poll. As recently as the mid-2000s, that figure stood around 30%.

    Today, just 4 percent of Americans say they have a “great deal” of confidence and 3 percent have “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress, whose budget deadlock last fall resulted in a federal government shutdown. A third of Americans said they had “some” confidence in the legislature and another 7 percent said they had “none.”…

    • nj_v2

      Grrr… Sorry about the duplicate image. Doesn’t seem to be a way to delete one of them. Disqus…

    • hennorama

      They’re Number 1!

      Or Number Two, depending on one’s perspective.

  • Human2013

    Did On Point just change the title? If so, this one is more appropriate — TY

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      What was it before?

      • Acnestes

        They did. Something about the divided electorate, I think.

    • hennorama

      Human2013 — yes. Previously it was to be Looking For The Middle Ground In A Divided Washington, which made me laugh.

  • Arkuy The Great

    Every four years about 60% of the voting public takes part in a national election in which their individual vote and voice counts almost negligibly. OTOH, in local elections and town meetings, in which an individual’s vote counts the most and the results of that vote are felt most keenly, most people are MIA. My own town has about 9000 registered voters and about 5000 showed up in November of 2012. By contrast, our last town meeting in May had a turnout of merely 290.

    A successful democracy requires an engaged public that cares enough about their local, regional and national governance to stay engaged. Otherwise we end up with an effective oligarchy of a self-selected few that manage to show up and stay awake during committee meetings.

  • Ed Owens

    You have to first have a democracy to save it. At first only rich white men voted white women in 1920s. Less than 100 years ago and blacks only 50 years ago. Now gerrymandering, dirty tricks with machines, lists of names similar to felons, discarded mail in ballots, and a host of other methods have put true democracy out of reach and left selection of our government leaders to the corporations. American democracy is and has always been a myth.

    • Human2013

      When the popular vote doesn’t win the election, something is terribly awry.

      • John Cedar

        Mob rule was purposely designed-out of the constitution. A simpleton would have come up with a system that gave power to the popular vote to elect a dictating president. The founders were much deeper thinkers than you are and able to analyze the consequences of a system of government beyond a single term or two. They were educated enough to look at history and other governments for inspiration.

        Something is awry that so many people educated in our great country are ignorant as to how and why it is set up the way it is. Worse, is that they are unaware of why it wasn’t set up as a simple democracy.

    • Human2013

      As I noted on yesterdays show, private property was also limited to white men.

      It’s no coincidence that as the country becomes more and more diverse, white men are now hoarding their deceptively begotten fortunes.

  • paul

    Today’s electorate is deeply divided. Accordingly, the legislature is deeply divided. Eventually the electorate will tire of dysfunction and the legislature will follow. The system is working as intended, and sometimes that means it looks messy.

  • HonestDebate1

    No, American democracy cannot be saved. It’s too late, Obama has fundamentally transformed her. He doesn’t care about gridlock, he’s just getting started. He doesn’t need the legislature or the judiciary.

    • Acnestes

      Geez, and all this time I though it was Bush vs. Gore that did it. Obama must have been pretty savvy to get the fix in.

      Alrighty then.

      • HonestDebate1

        Bush V Gore was democracy in action. Obama, not so much.

    • Jeff

      King Obama? Interesting concept…let’s see if he can win that 3rd term in office first…

      • jefe68

        I can’t wait for the coronation…..
        What to wear? Still, the Brits do it better with all those wacky hats.

    • TFRX

      What bullshit.

      I’ll wait until a Republican is in the White House for this “ohnoesthepartisanship” crisis to magically be over.

      • HonestDebate1

        Ted Kennedy wrote “No Child Left Behind”.

  • Jeff

    I guess I’m fine with Congress not doing much, when have they ever made things less complex? What we really need is to clean up a lot of the laws we have already, we need to reform the tax code to be something very simple and not fill it with special perks for every special interest group. Imagine a tax system where you get a $20k/year deduction (everyone would get that, as the only deduction and no credits) and you pay a 20% tax rate after the deduction? That would essentially abolish the IRS and make taxes incredibly simple…that’s the kind of laws I want to see passed not more special interest laws that make things even more complex than they already are.

    • TFRX

      Yeah, so I’d pay the same rate that Bill Gates would, or some trust funder who doesn’t have to work a day in their life?

      No thanks. I’m not a sucker.

      • Jeff

        Well I’d have another tax rate of 25% above $250,000/year…I thought you were upset about the rich paying a lower rate than you…I’ve guaranteed they pay more due to the deduction and a second tax rate. I’d treat capital gains as the same as normal income too.

        • TFRX

          Yeah, capital gains treated like paychecks?

          No.

          Whenever a Libertarian says “I’m here to fix the tax code” I respond the same way whenever a conservative says “I’m here to reform (any goverment program ever)”: I’m not a sucker.

          • Jeff

            I fail to see how making things more fair, making sure you always pay more as you make more is a bad thing? Too much transparency and you can’t pick winners and losers? You can’t handle an efficient tax code? I fail to see your actual reasoning behind being against this besides the fact that libertarians/conservatives are in favor of a cleaner tax code…essentially you’re against it because I’m for it? Is that your logic?

          • Arkuy The Great

            What you are proposing is far from ideal and there are plenty of “purists” that will reject it out of hand. Nevertheless, it goes a long way toward making one of the most egregious “necessary evils” of government a lot less evil. FWIW, I have long proposed exactly what you state above to anyone willing to listen.

          • Jeff

            I agree that the purists wouldn’t like my proposal but ask the average person if this tax system would be a big improvement on what we currently have and I’d guess I’d have a 80% approval rate. It’s a solid compromise while making everything as fair as possible…of course it’s not 100% perfect but it’s one of the better compromises and simplifications of the tax code I’ve ever come across. To those who criticize it, I ask where’s your plan and is it simple enough for people to follow on a comment section like mine is?

          • TFRX

            You lost me at “Libertarians and conservatives are in favor of a cleaner tax code” (and by extension, liberals aren’t).

            Go get all the fake Libertarians and fake Conservatives to stop using those “sacred” words, and maybe then I’ll listen to you.

            Until such time, all I have is the experience of the modern conservative, who wishes to destroy Democratic achievements by “reforming” them, and people who call themselves “Libertarians”, who always seem to line up behind Republicans when Dems are in power, but are nowhere to be found when the GOP is running government to ruin it.

          • Jeff

            Not a single solid reason behind being against my proposal….thanks for showing us that you are part of this partisan problem.

            You didn’t use the words tax code, tax rate or tax at all in your response (other than framing my point)…seriously? Keep on topic and stop attacking other political parties based on your warped view of them and deal with the issues as presented.

          • TFRX

            My warped view?

            Hahahahaha.

            I’m not the kind of sucker who’ll limit myself to your vision of “issues as presented”. When we get to where Libertarians aren’t carrying fake-conservatives’ water, then we can talk about the tax code, tax rate or tax.

            Not anywhere near the table for that talk yet.

          • jefe68

            Libertarianism is an absurd ideology in that it seems to think that a nation of 350,000 plus million can somehow work with little or almost no government. That’s absurd.

          • Jeff

            We have around 330 million people, not 350 billion people, basic math…this is what I’m debating against?

          • jefe68

            No, my mistake and yours as well.

            US population: 318,414,945 and counting…

            I have to ask, are you for returning to the gold standard as well?

          • Jeff

            I’m ambivalent about the gold standard, I don’t think it has as much of an impact as some people think. I would like to see a stronger dollar policy coming out of the Fed, raising interest rates slowly starting right now.

          • jefe68

            OK, that’s an honest answer.

            I think the gold standard idea would be a disaster, so I’m not ambivalent at all on that issue. It’s interesting to not that the worth of gold is traded in dollars, not the other way around. Gold is unstable as a commodity.

            http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/futures-commodities/opinion-here-s-why-a-return-to-the-gold-standard-would-be-completely-insane

            I agree about a slow rise in interest rates. You and Paul Krugman have something in common…

          • Yar

            Libertarians want small local government, until the locals decide to appropriate their land, then they want a strong national legal system designed to keep power where it is. Property rights depend on government. People don’t really want to have to defend their boarders day in and day out.

          • JS

            “More fair” – a very imprecise term.

            Wouldn’t “Fair” be everyone pay the same exact amount? $10,000 in taxes for me, $10,000 in taxes for Bill Gates?

            Or is fair we all pay the same percentage?

            Or is fair those with more paying more?

          • Jeff

            No, fair is same rate…but I understand the popular misconception about tax rates so I agree we can have a slightly higher tax rate as income increases; which is another reason for the deduction…here are some examples:
            Income Actual rate Total Taxes Paid
            <$20k/year 0% $0
            $40k/year 10% $4,000
            $60k/year 13.3% $8,000
            $80k/year 15% $12,000

            The rate stagnates around $250,000 to nearly 20% so I would suggest a bump in tax rate to 25% after that income level point. But you see how this system works pretty well and is progressive.

          • JS

            Fair is a term that is undefined, or individually defined, at best. What one person considers “fair” varies greatly.

            I like your system, but unfortunately it has no chance of being implemented when it would raise rates on higher earners, (even if their overall tax payments may decrease in some cases)

    • JS

      Wow so simple. And as soon as it was voted in, lobbyist for wealthy people and corporations would gut it to favor them. (Can’t have capital gains at 20%, can’t have corporate spending non deductible, cant have our corporate jets not be a write off)

      And tell the people, We need these cuts to grow the economy and create jobs. And anyone who demands it go back to 20% for all is branded a liberal, socialist, monster, etc.

      So, while I don’t necessarily disagree with your basic premise, it wouldn’t work because the wealthy wouldn’t let it work..

      Redistricting reform is the only way to fix it.

      • Jeff

        That’s sort of hilarious because you’re afraid of some sort of crazy theory you’re against a common sense and clean tax code…even still if it’s only for a few years it’s better than what we have…how can anyone be against that?

        • JS

          Where exactly did I say I was against a common sense and clean tax code?

          How can any one be against that?

          Well, lets see, peoples whoe Capital Gains are now 15% and you want them to be 20% might be against it.

          People who write off corporate jets, business lunches, etc might be against it.

          People who are told that higher taxes on anyone, even the weathy, is socialism might be against it (or those dumb enough o believe such drivel)

  • jefe68
  • Dab200

    Update the Constitution to reflect current times as the Founders intended for the document to be revised and relevant.

    • Acnestes

      Unfortunately it would require removing all the ignorant, delusional, non-reality based crackers from congress first, which makes it pretty much a non-starter.

  • TFRX

    Sen. Daschle was hounded from office for not being IraqInvady enough.

    Sen. Snowe retired.

    And they’re both here to talk about how each side can be less mean to the other?

    This is promising to be the most perfect damned Public Radio show ever.

    (PS Where’s Norm Ornstein? I can understand why he was blackballed from Fox News, and all the mainstream gasbag shows, but NPR also?)

  • rich4321

    Unless they do something to stop this “political contribution” scam – a facade, a sugar coated term for bribery from the corporations. The politicians from both side will always work for them, not for us the people.

  • Jon

    Save democracy? gridlock, standoff, never give up, never give in IS the nature of democracy.

  • Yar

    Yes, I suggest write in candidates. In Kentucky people have until August first to register as a write-in. Social media and pledges to refuse all PAC and campaign money while in office illustrates a difference from the usual suspects. The business community has its leadership development model and supports their people to run for office, currently they make up the majority of the ruling class. Wonder why business is so well represented? Social Justice organizations, churches, service groups all have their own leadership development too. We can chose our leaders from any background we chose. Talk to your friends and neighbors about citizen power, and VOTE! Who will run? Now is the time to be the change you want! Even if only a one citizen proved this as a path to leadership it will change elections forever. I think many could win. Grassroots beats money, let’s prove it.

  • Kathy

    That’s the same Snowe that Obama spent weeks pandering to and who in the end wouldn’t cross the aisle to vote for what was actually a Repulican health care bill? Yeah, she’s a great source on how to end partisanship.

    Bipartisanship in DC speak has become the far right gets half of what they want and the center and left get zip.

    • TFRX

      Remember the movie Mystery Men, with the superhero “Invisible Boy”, who was invisible as long as nobody was looking at him?

      We call Snowe “Invisible Girl” for a reason: She’s Bipatrisan!!!111!!1one! right up until her vote will get a bill out of committee, stop a filibuster, or pass. But she still gets all that bipartisan lurve for it.

  • toc1234

    Daschle on this topic? Haha.. perhaps start by asking him if he thinks his failure to pay his own taxes has anything to do with the public’s low opinion of congress….

  • Yar

    Media is no longer free of campaign influence. So much money goes into advertising that it influences “news coverage of politics”.

    • Human2013

      I can’t even stomach the major networks anymore with the exception of PBS.

  • TFRX

    That’s not the sound of standoff. That’s the sound of obstruction.

    Tom, remember how many months it took you to say “voter suppression”? Have you learned anything from the experience?

  • Human2013

    Oh, Marco…you are nothing more than the hispanic puppet needed by the republican party to provide a smidgen of legitimacy.

    • TFRX

      Looks like they found themselves a new Michael Steele.

      Don’t worry, when Rubio is out of fashion, there’ll always be wingnut welfare.

      • Human2013

        This time around they were able to finagle an African American neurosurgeon in Ben Carson. Unfortunately, the “neurosurgeon” puts it all in “gods hands” — not sure why he went to medical school.

  • OnpointListener

    To save democracy, we need “campaign finance reform” (via a constitutional amendment or a turnover to a more liberal Supreme Court deciding a challenge to Citizens United) AND an end to “Gerrymandering”.

    Otherwise the discussion seems to be a waste of time.

    Mary

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    How would you fix Washington?
    –Tom Ashbrook

    An army group* of bulldozers, road graders, frontend loaders, dump trucks — and crop duster aircraft dispensing disinfectant.

    * Several field armies.

  • Twinkie McGovern

    I wish we could stop referring to the situation in Washington as “ploarized.”. Polarized means that two sides in a conflict have migrated toward their extreme positions, and that compromise, and perhaps even communication, are impossible. In fact, only the Republicans are taking extreme positions. Not too long ago, most Democratic positions — reasonable tax increases, infrastructure spending, reasonable regulations — would have been seen as “centerist,” but they look liberal these days only because the discourse has shifted so far to the right.

    For proof that Democrats are willing to compromise, one need only look at the Affordable Care Act, which is honeycombed with Republican-friendly goodies. A no-compromise health care package would have looked much more like a single-payer system, but Democrats, yes, compromised. Many other examples exist.

    So please drop “polarized” which creates the illusion that both sides are responsible for our national deadlock. The first alternative that comes to my mind is “Republican intransigence,” but perhaps the pundits have a more diplomatic alternative.

    • Kathy

      The false equivalence is always strong on this show, but never more than when they talk about this issue.

    • Arkuy The Great

      History lesson coming up.

      Not a single Republican voted for PDUCA (Policy Destruction and Unaffordable Coverage Act). It was totally carried by Democrats in 2010. If the Democrats really wanted “single payer” or other such rubric so lauded by healthcare reform advocates we would have it now. We don’t because they did not. PDUCA is the “no compromise health care package” of which you speak.

    • Tequila_Mckngbrd

      “ploarized.” lol

      I don’t think anyone is saying that except asians trying to speak engrish.

      • TheDailyBuzzherd

        Attacking the messenger, more proof these forums are going downhill. Go ahead, take potshots at my screen name / avatar, applications not being accepted.

    • Jeff

      Not a single Republican voted for Obamacare, Democrats didn’t need to negotiate…what was passed is what Democrats alone wanted.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        That’s how it works.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Who knows more about “fixing” Washington than a lobbyist like Daschle.

  • AC

    maybe we need to crash to rise again. too many stubborn idiots that don’t THINK in office….

    • J__o__h__n

      Wasn’t 2000-2008 enough?

      • AC

        trust me, that was not so bad – Americans are spoiled. they REALLY have no idea what would happen w/o having things as basic as infrastructure and education available…..
        did you see how quickly Gov Christie changed to respecting govt after Sandy?

    • Human2013

      Don’t worry, it’s coming.

  • Human2013

    That’s exactly right, Mr. Daschle. How do we export a system of governance that doesn’t work in our own country?

    …meanwhile, the quality of life for the Chinese continues to advance.

  • J__o__h__n

    Did Senator Snowe ever accomplish anything other than pretending that bipartisanship existed? Any really hard votes that she defied Republican leadership?

  • skelly74

    Change is not supposed to happen quickly. Congress is a buffer zone to ensure radical philosophies, from any particular administration in charge, does not blitz the status quo, be it conservative or progressive.

    The system is working as designed against a radical administration.

    Real leadership compromises.

    • Human2013

      Please tell me you’re a billionaire, or better yet, a trillionaire.

  • toc1234

    here’s example #9882032156411 why the WH and congress blow:

    “On July 3, with Americans preparing to celebrate freedom (ie classic Obama pre-holiday bad news dump), the Obama administration reduced freedom by adding 1,296 pages of new regulations to ObamaCare.”

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    It takes real leadership on all sides.
    –Tom Daschle

    We’re totally screwed.

  • Maya

    Tom,

    Our government is the most outdated IN THE WORLD. The federal system made sense in the 19th century. It doesn’t today. When democracies are set up in other countries, they take the parliamentary model, not our model. We should switch to the parliamentary system. The money spent on campaigning is obviously necessary with this system, but its a disgusting waste of money. In England campaigning is not nearly as awful. As a young college graduate, the whole political system seems utterly depressing.
    -Disappointed,

    Maya

    • Human2013

      Maya, America is never quite what it seems or attempts to export to the world. The system is deliberately maintained in its archaic form by the wealthy plutocrats and in now way reflects the sentiment of most of the American people.

      • Maya

        I agree with you, but we are suffering for it! We don’t have real freedom in this country.

  • AnneDH

    I’m starting to think this country is geographically to large to be a democracy, so we should split into multiple countries. For example, the Northeast, the Northwest, California, the southwest, many others.

    Split along the boundaries that we are fighting one another in Washington.

    • Arkuy The Great

      This is how new nations form. Culturally the Northeast is distinct from the South which differs from the West Coast which is not at all similar to Flyover Country…

      If the benefits of the Union no longer hold then perhaps a divorce is called for.

    • J__o__h__n

      Just get rid of the south.

      • Jeff

        Didn’t they try that and the people in the North said “no”?

        • J__o__h__n

          They needed to spin it better when they tried to leave.

          • Jeff

            I agree with you there, I’d rather just see Texas split into 5 different sections…8 new southern senators…what could be better than that? BTW, the 5 state split is built into the Texas Constitution.

        • Acnestes

          And it was the worst mistake this country ever made!

        • Human2013

          Yes, we needed their cotton for our strong textile industry.

      • TFRX

        The South wouldn’t leave. They need my (blue state) tax dollars to be “fiscally prudent”.

        They’re the married man who bitches about what a wild and crazy time he (imagines) missing on the singles scene if he didn’t have the wife at home.

    • Arkuy The Great

      Here is the proposal that, to me, seems most likely.

      • Arkuy The Great

        Would help if I uploaded the map.

        • Human2013

          Looks like something my 10 year old put together — nice use of colors.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    It stopped being a great country with the arrival of the first lobbyist in Washington, D.C.

  • J__o__h__n

    Non partisan drawing of House districts, ending parliamentary shenanigans in the Senate, reversing decisions of speech = money and corporations = people and most of the problems are solved.

  • Tequila_Mckngbrd

    The system is perfect the way it is. Obama is bringing the country to the Dark Ages.

    • TFRX

      You’re too stupid to make fun of.

      • Tequila_Mckngbrd

        You’re too stupid, and it would be wrong to make fun of you.

        • TFRX

          Wow, such a burn.

          Really, go find someone on your own level, like a third-grader.

          • Tequila_Mckngbrd

            Try harder, you haven’t even reached the third-grader level, yet.

          • jefe68

            I see you’re here to provide comic relief.
            What a pill. What a maroon…

          • Tequila_Mckngbrd

            At least I didn’t swallow the Obama pill (or the Blue pill, if you’re in the Matrix). Guess who chose the Red pill? Time to wake up!

          • jefe68

            Were you trying to be funny?
            Oh that was cute, so adorable.
            A joke about pills of different colors.

            One pill makes you larger
            And one pill makes you small…

          • Tequila_Mckngbrd

            You could use a pill, little guy.

          • jefe68

            You really need to get better material.
            The jokes are as flat as your political ideology.

          • Tequila_Mckngbrd

            They’re the same as your wife’s boobies.

          • jefe68

            This is fun, when does your mom call you in for your midmorning nap?

          • Tequila_Mckngbrd

            About the same time I wake up your mom to get out of my bed.

          • jefe68

            I see, now you want to do mom jokes…

            I’m convinced you’re what, 12 or 13 if that?

          • Tequila_Mckngbrd

            What? You started your mom jokes at 12 or 13? You must have been a late bloomer. I guess that explains why you’re little, at least.

          • jefe68

            No, a mom joke is when you rad on your mom, as in “your momma is so ugly….”

            I was alluding to your lack of maturity.
            There is a difference. You don’t seem to do nuance well.

          • Tequila_Mckngbrd

            It’s a shame that I can’t make jokes about why your momma is so ugly, because it would hit too close to home and be pretty mean.

          • jefe68

            So sad, and so inane.
            I can see why you relate to the GOP.

          • Human2013

            OK, that’s enough, silly rabbit.

            I’ll need to refer you to the On Point rules of participation.

          • Tequila_Mckngbrd

            I was participating, this little guy keeps taking it Off Point.

          • jefe68

            Oh come on. He’s harmless, and soooo much fun.

          • Tequila_Mckngbrd

            And if you were Neo, you’d have picked the Blue pill.

      • AC

        lol

      • jefe68

        I guess he would be on par with this guy:
        Republican state Sen. Brandon Smith of Kentucky: As you sit there in your chair with your data, we sit up here in ours with our data and our constituents and stuff behind us. I don’t want to get into the debate about climate change, but I will simply point out that I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that,” said the senator in a video posted by the weekly publication. “Yet there are no coal mines on Mars. There are no factories on Mars that I’m aware of.”

        Source NASA:

        The temperature on Mars may reach a high of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) at noon, at the equator in the summer, or a low of about -225 degrees Fahrenheit (-153 degrees Celsius) at the poles. Obviously this is very inhospitable for humans, but it is also of some concern for the electronics and mechanical parts of a Mars airplane and its instrumentation. In the mid-latitudes, the average temperature would be about -50 degrees Celsius with a nighttime minimum of -60 degrees Celsius and a summer midday maximum of about 0 degrees Celsius.

        • Human2013

          LOL

          • jefe68

            How can anyone vote for such a rube?
            How can a political party in the 21st century ask to be taken seriously when idiots like this are in office?

          • Human2013

            It’s Kentucky — just check their primary school test scores.

            Seriously, humans can be made to believe anything without a decent “liberal” education — that’s liberal arts, of course.

          • hennorama

            jefe68 — silly remarks are not limited to any political party or philosophy.

            But some of them are real fact-free doozies, as you noted.

            The best and most clue-free part was “Nobody will dispute that.”

  • Kathy

    It’s not gridlock. It’s not partisanship. It’s not polarization. It’s a cold civil war.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Not to worry, Tom. The fix is in.
    –Lobbyists for a Better D.C. {wink, nudge}

  • J__o__h__n

    Caller, gerrymandering has nothing to do with the Senate.

    • Yar

      Actually it does, when local races are not competitive it causes lower voter turnout.

      • J__o__h__n

        Usually the national race brings out high turnout and the local races are always low otherwise.

        • Yar

          Presidential race yes, maybe, in Kentucky few races are considered competitive. And candidates go negative to turn off the middle of the road voter. They attempt to turn it into a partition team battle where they can measure outcome. It is all math and not participatory democracy.

    • JS

      The fact that it’s not the Senate gives hope for changing the system. It might be easier to change individual state legislatures one by one to a Redistricting Reform system.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    If we had real political reform in this country you’d never hear of Tom Daschle again: after he left the U.S. Senate.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Repeal Article I of the Constitution. Then the whole sorry mess goes away.*

    * Patronage, votes for sale, wholesale fundraising, national assets shopped off, endless wars in Wogistan.

  • John Cedar

    Snowe betrayed her party and the American people by allowing Obamacare out of committee. Funny to talk about democracy, when the American people did not want Obamacare and do not approve of Obamacare but the reason it exists is because “griclock” was broken for a moment. A moment too long.

    But then all those who pretend to want democracy would never dream of allowing Obamcare or carbon tax to be put to referendum. So what gridlock really means to the MSN is anything that stops left wing agenda from being passed by a non representing Representative republic.

  • geraldfnord

    The comparative amity of times past seems largely to have been the product of both parties’ being more ideologically diverse, for which I remember they were often _criticised_. This both allowed for alliances between people of different parties and made more opinions acceptable: it’s harder to criticise a position as being absolutely unacceptable when you’re already in coalition with someone in your own party who holds it.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Congress was a noble idea in the 18th century when humanity was still evolving — but the institution is a rotting carcass now. Pull the whole shabby enterprise off its pedestal and move on. That’s what civilizations do: those worth living in.

    • John Cedar

      Obama? Is that you?

    • Maya

      Amen.

  • Kathy

    Dear Ms. Snowe, when was the last time there was a compromise where the Democrats got anything out of a compromise? A Republican compromise is the Republicans get half of what they want and the Democrats get nothing.

  • Yaro Shtengrat

    As long as we have a two party system, this gridlock will persist. What we need is reform in the voting system. We need a Instant-runoff voting or the alternative vote which is an electoral system used to elect a single winner from a field of more than two candidates. It is a preferential voting system in which voters rank the candidates in order of preference rather than voting for a single candidate.

    Not enough time to explain this, but maybe your guests could comment. Ultimately, a voting system like this will eliminate the two party system organically.

  • AC

    i’m looking at some of the comments and they’re representative of the same exact thing. like democracy is a sport, winner takes all. why would the politicians be any different?

  • M S

    All the decisions that need to be made are now binary.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Representative government = money for favors. Every voter is a special interest. We’re a nation of procurers now instead of Minutemen and women.

    That’s why most citizens have given up on the belief that Washington works for the United State of America. Lose the flag-waving, fife playing, feely good fairy tales and evolve. While there’s still a once-great country to save.

  • JGC

    Heads up for the Export-Import Bank: “the next partisan standoff may be heating up over a government agency you’ve probably never heard of”

    Can access WSJ article from the No Labels site, the 4th topic down –

    http://www.nolabels.org/blog/problem-solvers-daily-congressional-focus

  • geraldfnord

    The attack on the legitimacy of government, promulgated by both idealists and men (mostly) who would rather to be free to thrive, create, pollute, exploit, and dominate without governmental check, is also to blame. People doing something without even the pretence of being honoured for it will have little incentive to act honourably, that is bravely.

    And people dedicated to the proposition that government can’t ever do anything right (except invade other nations) have great incentive to prove their point by ensuring that it won’t—or, less stridently, they have little incentive to try to get things right…if I can’t fix an appliance, I don’t bother replacing its worn-out plug.

    • Human2013

      The survival of humanity has been completely dependent on collectivity. Government, the democratic type, is the only practical way to work in collection.

  • Yar

    I been advocating for mandatory public service for years!

    • JS

      Sure, just like the Vietnam War draft was “mandatory” Unless your name was Cheney, Romney, Bush, Clinton, etc.

      • TFRX

        Hey, don’t lump Clinton in with them. It takes a special kind of statesman to support the idea of the Vietnam war, like all those R’s, while not serving in it.

  • M S

    The U.S. is no longer a country; it’s a place.

  • nj_v2

    Oh, please. Ms. Snow is making the equivalence argument that the Democrats and Cons are equally to blame.

    I think the Dems and mostly lame and useless, but they don’t come close to the obstructionism and inanity of the Recons.

    • Tequila_Mckngbrd

      Wrong again. The Republicans are trying to move this country forward, the Democrats are refusing to work with them.

      • J__o__h__n

        How is obstructing legislation and nominations, and many many votes to repeal Obamacare moving the country forward?

        • Tequila_Mckngbrd

          By compromising for bi-partisan legislation and nominations that represent the entire country, not just less than half of one.

          • blah

            Except…they haven’t done that at all. They’ve done the opposite of that.

          • Tequila_Mckngbrd

            They have been doing it. If people want Obamacare, then let the States do it on their own, like in Massachusetts. Don’t force it on everyone. That’s what the Republicans have been fighting for.

          • blah

            So your definition of “compromise” is Republicans get everything they want and Democrats get nothing.

          • J__o__h__n

            Isn’t that the definition of bipartisan too?

          • Tequila_Mckngbrd

            Better than your idea of “compromise”, that Democrats get everything they want and Republicans get nothing.

          • blah

            You understand that the Affordable Care Act *was* a compromise, Democrats gave up quite a bit.

        • JS

          This guys even funnier than the honest one! lol

          • Human2013

            too much tequila?

        • jefe68

          Well, you see in this chaps bizarre world going backwards is forwards…

    • harverdphd

      You have to agree, then, that the “Recons” weren’t useless.

      • nj_v2

        You seem to have me confused for someone who cares the least little bit about what you think.

  • Maya

    If we’re interested and involved things will change? Sorry but thats absolute crap! Wealth people hold all the power in this country and its in their interest to keep the people ignorant.

    • Tequila_Mckngbrd

      Is that why you’re so ignorant to have made this remark?

  • TFRX

    Caller at 35m sounds like another Libertarian, who (surprisingly) is another white male who has that incredible 1-percenter’s healthcare at his workplace and imagines everyone can get it by getting another job. (We call that the Triangle Shirtwaist Syndrome.)

    While totally ignoring however being tied to a job for healthcare, or the term “preexisting conditions”.

    That’s amazing! Where are all the Libertarians who got screwed by their big corporate HC companies and just said “Well, my storefront lawyer sued Kaiser Permanente and lost, thems’ the breaks”? Why isn’t there any of them out there?

    • Tequila_Mckngbrd

      Because you’re an idiot.

      • TFRX

        I’d say you’ve gone through your “A” material awfully quickly.

        But on further review, I think that is your best stuff.

        • Tequila_Mckngbrd

          Thank you. I still think you’re still on your “F” material. You’ll figure it out soon… but then again, probably not.

        • hennorama

          TFRX — I dunno. This comment from [Blueagavebooze_Mms plyglttss] is still pretty “good”:

          These scientists creating GMO’s are the opposite of scientists that claim Climate Change is real. Therefore we know their science is right.

          If “good” = “hilariously ridiculous,” of course.

          • Tequila_Mckngbrd

            That was pure “A” material right there.

          • hennorama

            [Blueagavebooze_Mms plyglttss] — if you insist.

            Of course, in this case “A” = “Asinine.”

          • Tequila_Mckngbrd

            Lol, you said Asinine.

        • Human2013

          They usually lack any real wit or intellect that’s required for a strong debate.

          It usually goes something like this:
          “your just jealous of the rich”

          “Commie!”

          “Welfare Queen”

          I can’t make any sense of these so-called insults.

    • Human2013

      TY — as always, their line of thought is much too simplistic.

      Not only does is sound ludicrous to just find another job if you don’t like the coverage – because its that easy – but inflation in healthcare, regardless of your employer, can only be slowed by a much larger participation.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Former senators and perpetual public trough feeders, Daschle and Snowe.

  • J__o__h__n

    How did this clown who first rose to national notice by whining about irony, get professorship at a law school?

  • johnhaskell

    So bi-partisanship is good, so the resulting legislation must also be good. Oh, let’s try this out. The AUMF was bi-partisan (in fact, just one dissenter), so therefore the AUMF was good legislation.

    Let’s stop with the canard that the only way to solve problems is through bi-partisanship.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The health of our (offshore) bank accounts has never been stronger.*
    –Association of D.C. Lobbyists

    * It’s better in The Bahamas.

  • geraldfnord

    Ask Mr Purdy if it were reasonable to expect compromise from property ‘rights’ absolutists. If you hate government except when it’s protecting people with property, your value-system is likely one that considers its doing anything for anyone despite their being poor, or (horrors!) because of it, deeply unjust.

  • skelly74

    The last time the President, Congress, and the American public was on the same wavelength was shortly after the 9/11 attacks, when the country overwhelmingly supported going to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    But obviously we are smarter people, who were victims of the Bush / Cheney Halliburton mind control machine, with the help of Harry Potter and Gandalf.

    Never again!

  • JS

    Redistricting Reform is the best solution. Throw in something similar to California’s Open Primary system, and this would go a long way to solving the partisanship. Moderate candidates on both sides would have more opportunity to get elected instead of the usual primaries pulling candidates to the extremes.

    • TFRX

      Any bet on Texas doing it next? Just wondering if the National Laboratory for Bad Government is interested in something that’s acutally bipartisan.

      As I recall, the words “invalidated by the court” have shown up next to many of their redistricting efforts. And that lovely shot at re-drawing the lines anytime the GOP thinks they can win another House seat is really fun, too.

      • JS

        Baby steps my man, baby steps.

    • OnPointComments

      Would your redistricting reform do away with majority minority districts?

      • TFRX

        What you call “majority minority” may well be called “cram as many black voters into as few Congressional Districts as possible”.

      • JS

        No idea, and don’t care if it does.

        But with demographics being what they are, I think it would increase minority districts in some areas, decrease them in less.

        Why do you ask?

    • Don_B1

      Also a necessary, but not sufficient, requirement is campaign finance reform, which together with Redistricting Reform could go a long way to cure much of the problem.

      But without taking away the incumbent’s need to spend up to half their time soliciting campaign funds, our elected office holders will never have the time to learn about the issues, not to mention spend time with their opposition to work on solving them. See:

      http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/junejulyaugust_2014/features/the_big_lobotomy050642.php?page=all

      for why Congress is increasingly incompetent, starved of facts on which to base good sound policy. Instead ideologies prevail, leading to policies that make the problems worse rather than solving them.

      • JS

        Amen brother

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Fairy tales can come true
    I can work — with you,
    If we just can talk.*

    * Apparently callers think our political characters don’t talk enough. Perhaps they should discover C-SPAN.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Why call it an immigration crisis?* Congress won’t vote; Obama won’t visit the border.

    Can you imagine in this day and age of unlimited, taxpayer funded junkets, that 535 members of Congress AND the president don’t want to fly to the sunny skies of El Paso and Laredo?

    * Southern states bordering Mexico and the Gulf.

  • M S

    How do you put aside ideology when Left’s ideology puts me in danger?

  • TFRX

    “There’ll be some big turnouts” in the upcoming off-year election in NC, where Purdy lives.

    Not if North Carolina conservatives have anything to do with it.

    “It’ll be very good for democracy” to have all that hubbub.

    All it took was a phalanx of voter suppression laws submitted, passed, and / or signed in many states controlled by Republicans to do it. Funny, that.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Let’s knock of Congress. Then we can work on bringing down Ozymandias in the White Palace. Evolution: it’s the ONLY way.

  • Art Toegemann

    Vote the Boehner/McConnell cabal out of office in November.

    • OnPointComments

      Neuter the Reid/Pelosi cabal in November.

      • Art Toegemann

        Over 40 parades to the SCOTUS to overturn the ACA, all without good faith; abusive, gross, egregious, excessive filibusters; these are seditious disservices and Obama’s failing: he did not prosecute them, he is not a trial lawyer, they are coddled by an imbalanced Court. But, the voters will not forget.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Seems to me that it was the ACA that was pushed through without “good faith”. No major social program should EVER pass on a single party vote.

          And now you grip about regular folks protesting the government overreach?

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      I think the Tea Party and the Republicans will implode on their own.

  • OnPointComments

    From day one of his presidency, President Obama has been intent on dividing the country and pitting one group of citizens against the other, with assistance from his consiglieres, the despicable Harry Reid, the loony Nancy Pelosi, the corrupt Eric Holder, and others. Why should anyone be surprised that the Congress and America is divided when it was part of President Obama’s plan all along?

    • J__o__h__n

      No, Obama wasted months trying to compromise. He woke up too late.

    • JS

      Wasn’t it the Republican lead Senate whose main goal was making Obama a one-term President?

      • OnPointComments

        Things would be better if they had succeeded.

      • jefe68

        Yah, it seems that was their one and only agenda.
        Still is. Now they want to sue him and I would not be surprised if they try to go for an impeachment.

        • TFRX

          As the old saying goes, “Ground for impeachment” means “Republicans think they have the votes”.

      • OnPointComments

        Do you think Democrats tried to help George Bush be a two term president?

        • Kathy

          I remember when they filibusted his tax cuts and they filibustered no child left behind and stopped him from going to war with Iraq. Oh wait, none of that happened.

        • J__o__h__n

          The Court shouldn’t have helped him be a one term one.

        • JS

          Was it their #1 stated goal? No party seeks to help the other get elected, but I think Democrats worked more with Bush than Republicans have worked with Obama, IMHO

      • HonestDebate1

        Was it the democrats graciousness that let Reagan and Bush serve a second term? I don’t think so, there was a vicious, concerted unrelenting effort by democrats to make them one term presidents. What’s different now is we have a President who whines about it.

      • Don_B1

        Actually, members of the House were involved in the movement to sink President Obama’s presidency right from his 2009 Inauguration night, as shown in Robert Draper’s book, Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives, as reported on in the Huffington Post:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/25/robert-draper-anti-obama-campaign_n_1452899.html

        According to Draper, the guest list that night (which was just over 15 people in total) included Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.), along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). The non-lawmakers present included Newt Gingrich, several years removed from his presidential campaign, and Frank Luntz, the long-time Republican wordsmith. Notably absent were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) — who, Draper writes, had an acrimonious relationship with Luntz.

        Then know that up until a week or so previously, Rep. Ryan had been working on a “stimulus bill” of around $750 billion to deal with the collapse of the U.S. economy that was in full progress since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, but he abandoned that to join in solidarity with other hard-line Republicans who were terrified that they would be blamed for the disaster unless they could keep the Obama administration from reviving the economy and getting credit for that.

        Then the Republican Party would be despised for decades, as it should be.

    • frothy_mix

      President Obama intent on dividing the country? That is utter nonsense and is based in either racism or a diet too rich in the talk radio and Fox blather of right wing vicimhood (or both).

      • HonestDebate1

        Oh jeez.

        • jefe68

          Alrighty then….

    • Art Toegemann

      Whoa! I smell the Koch brothers!

    • Alexa_Segovia

      Both parties do it.

      Heard one of President Kennedy’s special counsels, on the now defunct Air American Radio. warn against left activists allowing the Dem Leadership to distract them with social/wedge issues.

      Electoral issues should be those of domestic (economic) and foreign policy. Period.

      The appropriate vehicle for wedge issues are social movements, which should culminate in law, when the country has “arrived.”

      Instead, the American People have a tendency to allow lawmakers and the One Percent loot the country and destroy the Middle Class while we bicker about social issues.

      And we wonder “why” we’re in the pickle that we’re in!

  • keruffle

    Laws chopped
    Funding dropped
    Offices shopped
    Democracy flopped

    @keruffle

  • skelly74

    Censorship: a badge of honor.

  • choichase

    Probably the greatest problem with our current system of government is the disproportionate ability of citizens to donate to election campaigns. I believe, however, that obstructionism in congress sadly hardened when a black president took office. Despite our advances in the area, racism plays a large part in the current obstructionism. The racists are masking their prejudice by pitting various groups against each other; e.g. taxpayers vs. the poor, unions vs. business.

  • blah

    I am amazed and completely flabbergasted that Senator Snow could say that both sides are equally at fault with a straight face, and equally amazed that Tom would accept it without saying anything. Democrats in Congress are not shutting down the government, they are not causing debt ceiling crises, they are not denying climate change, they are not filibustering everything that comes through the Senate, they are not refusing to allow votes on popular bipartisan legislation, they are not wasting millions of tax payer dollars chasing phantom scandals, they are not trying to take health insurance away from millions of poor people without offering any alternative, they are not trying to sue the president, they did not have a meeting where they said that their *main priority* was to *obstruct the president in everything he did*.
    Saying that Democrats are just as much at fault as the Republicans for current conditions in Congress is completely and utterly intellectually dishonest, and the Senator and this show should be ashamed of themselves for perpetuating such nonsense.

    • J__o__h__n

      Why are you flabbergasted? That was her entire career.

    • HonestDebate1

      Democrats are totally at fault. To the extent Republicans are complicit, Ms. Snowe (along with Collins and Spector) voted for the “stimulus” which was a complete debacle. At lead she didn’t vote for Obamacare.

      • nj_v2

        ^ The delusion deepens.

        • jefe68

          Did you expect an honest debate?

          • Tequila_Mckngbrd

            Not with Democrats, that’s for sure.

          • jefe68

            You’re like an annoying nat that keeps buzzing around aimlessly on this forum.

    • Kathy

      On Point pretty much thrives on this false equivalence, so I’m not surprised they didn’t call her out. It’s obviously nonsense though. The problem is the Republicans and until we crush this “pox on both houses” nonsense, we have no hope of reform.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Have you met Harry Reid?

        • Kathy

          Don’t get me started. If we had a real leader there, s/he’d have gotten rid of the filibuster as soon as it became clear the Republicans planned to destroy the country if they didn’t get their way.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            “Destroy the country”?

            Are you referring to the debt? Seems to me that is a bi-partisan effort.

            http://www.usdebtclock.org/

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    The good professor from Duke is concerned about climate change and bemoans lack of government action.

    Perhaps he hasn’t read “Confessions of Climate Modeler”

    “Any model, including those predicting climate doom, can be tweaked to yield a desired result. I should know.”

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/confessions-of-a-computer-modeler-1404861351?mod=rss_opinion_main

  • John_Hamilton

    This was a pretty meaningless discussion. Tom Daschle was a weak Senate Majority Leader, and now works as a lobbyist for the health care industry. Lobbyists are the bag men of corporate bribes, and as such are an integral part of what is wrong with our politics.

    We have a bought Congress and executive branch, and by derivation the judicial branch. Without the boughtness there would not be the dysfunction we now have. The “Tea Party,” for example, is not a party at all, but an upstart movement created by the Koch brothers and other wealthy interests.

    What we have is a bribe-driven Congress run amok. If there were publicly funded elections with NO other money influences, there would not be the madness we now have. Of course, with publicly funded elections Tom Daschle would be out of a job, so we don’t see him advocating for anything more than “Why can’t we all just get along?”

    This is pretty obvious. Obvious enough that hyped-up interviewer Tom Ashbrook should know about it. It wouldn’t make for an hour’s empty conversation, though, so never mind. Just pump for platitudes and distractions.

    Meanwhile, the problems that aren’t being solved will continue not being solved. On the the next topic. Keep it superficial. Paychecks will keep rolling in.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    The professor from Duke dreams of a progressive revolution in North Carolina this November to counter some recent Tea Party success.

    Is this likely?

    This was attempted in Wisconsin and failed. It seems even less likely to succeed in North Carolina.

    • Charles

      I didn’t hear the program, so I’m not sure exactly how he phrased the idea, but I’d give it a fair money chance.
      Our population has grown, especially in the Triangle and Charlotte, even in the last 2 years since the Republican takeover. Anecdotally speaking, a lot of these people seem to be of the ‘young northern liberal’ type. And many are women, and I think they’re pretty pissed about Hobby Lobby, among other issues.

      I don’t promise it’ll happen, but the Dems need only mobilize the same contingent that gave the State to Sen. Obama in ’08.

    • OnPointComments

      I wonder if Professor Purdy was one of those liberal North Carolinians who predicted that if NC didn’t extend its unemployment benefits it would bring on suffering not seen since the biblical plagues. Oops, they were wrong. NC ended extended unemployment benefits, and the state’s growth in jobs was at a rate nearly twice the national average. Unemployment dropped by 17%, one and a half times the national rate. The state’s GDP beat the national GDP.

      They were wrong, just as Professor Purdy and his cohorts were wrong when in 1997 they predicted global warming that has been absent for over a decade.

  • hennorama

    David Harrelson — you must be focused solely on Presidential elections, based on your #5.

    FYI, per the Census Bureau “The average size of a congressional district based on the 2010 Census apportionment population will be 710,767…”

    That means more than 70 percent of the entire population of the average CD would need to sign for any candidate for Representative.

    It would also require signatures from more than 50 percent of the entire population of six states, regarding any candidate for Senator, since the following have an estimated population under 1 million:

    Wyoming
    Vermont
    North Dakota
    Alaska
    South Dakota
    Delaware

    • David Harrelson

      My idea is just a rough outline, intended to be fleshed out by persons my smarter than I, such as youself.

      • hennorama

        David Harrelson — thank you for your response.

        It’s not really that anyone might be “smarter than” you, but more of a focus on details, which are obviously vital.

        Thanks again for your response.

  • Karl Scherrer

    Hello Tom,

    My name is Karl Scherrer and I am the Founder & CEO of reAssemble, a non-partisan political social network. Our goal is to address this problem head-on using social media technology. We are in the midst of product development with a plan to launch our first marketing campaigns within the next two to three weeks and then launch the application itself toward the end of the year.

    I would be delighted to speak with you or a member of your staff about joining you on your show and sharing with your listeners what we aim to accomplish. My email address is karl.scherrer at reassemble.net.

    Below you will find some content lifted from our marketing literature.

    reAssemble is a social network with a social benefit, where people contribute their perspective to discussions about political issues. Anyone can participate everyday—not just once every four years—to drive change on the issues that matter to them.

    Anyone can collaborate to define political issues that matter to them. Change will happen when politicians and Washington insiders listen to what we have to say.

    reAssemble is completely non-partisan and transparent. Our goal is to reclaim democracy by grounding the issues in our experiences and daily lives. reAssemble is giving voice to the people.

    In short, reAssemble’s users select an issue or issues they’re passionate about, read issue-specific content to inform their opinion, discuss these issues with others who have various positions and perspectives, and, most importantly, communicate directly with politicians—in real time.

    • Human2013

      Good luck. Sounds like a solid and promising venture.

  • pm05

    Daschle “saving democracy” !!! You have to be kidding! This guy became a lobbyist the minute he lost his reelection. This guy has NO NONE NO credibility! He even lied about being a lobbyist!

  • Sy2502

    Democracy can only be saved if the individual citizens watch over it like hawks. As soon as people abdicate that responsibility, you can be certain that power grabbers and corrupt individuals start chipping away at it.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      We need to have built in safeguards – like changing the fallacy that money equals speech. It does not. Money is property, and giving it away is an action; not speech.

      • Sy2502

        The safeguard was supposed to be the Supreme Court, see how well it safeguarded us. Who nominates the members of the Supreme Court? The President. Who elects the President? Us.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          That is not the only safegaurd, by any means. There is the House and the Senate, and the States along with the Federal government, and the *voters* and the press, too.

          • Sy2502

            Absolutely! But when we talk about Congress, it becomes a catch 22: they get elected thanks to big money, and now they have to watch over big money not interfering with politics?
            As for the press, they used to take pride in being the watchdogs (Watergate anyone?), now they are lapdogs to one party or the other. It seems we can’t count on these safeguards much. As the good saying goes, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

  • hypocracy1

    Sure it can, and if you donate $100million to my campaign, I will gladly tell you how.

  • ExcellentNews

    “Those who would sacrifice liberty for the sake of safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” – some 18th century non-believer.

    • jefe68

      That would be Ben Franklin.

  • Alexa_Segovia

    What Americans want is not more demands on them like “National Service.”

    They want lawmakers who will work to strengthen the Middle Class–not destroy it (with free trade agreements like TTP, etc.).

    Off my soapbox, now!
    ;-)

  • Russell Carleton

    This whole problem would be solved if only people would be calm and rational and, of course, see things my way.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    The challenge is to reconnect politicians with the world’s reality. When political parties are only working to perpetuate their own party – and is beholden only to the whims of their financiers.

    I got mine! To hell with the rest of you – you must be stupid or lazy or both …

  • Steve_in_Vermont

    The word best describing our society is dystopia. This includes our educational system, infrastructure, health care and financial system. I suggest change will indeed come, in the form of a crisis, for which we are ill prepared. To put in bluntly most people today are self-centered and more interested in their own lives than service to others and until an issue directly affects THEM in a negative way they have little interest in the lives of others.

    • HonestDebate1

      But can’t you help others better if you put your own self in a better position first?

      • harverdphd

        They grow big crickets in Vermont.

  • Annonymous

    What I’d like to see at least in my lifetime, but possible before the 2016 election is an evolution of the Democratic and Republican parties into a more clear left and right ideological distinction… Say into the Social Democrats on the left to defend working class issues and a government security and Libertarians (or Liberals) on the right to secure our own continental economy and liberal economic polices

    Along with the 4 things the Senators suggested of:

    actually working more days
    worrying less about money for campaigns
    more communication
    compromises regarding role of government along ideological lines

  • aar_nr

    this is a question that can be responded to at length on TWITTER. answer: NO.

  • DJJS

    Missed the show today, but in checking to see what I missed, am agape that you would have Tom Daschle on. My memory of him is that he was an abuser of the system “extraordinaire.” In particular, I seem to vaguely recall a NY Times Magazine article about Mr. Daschle brazenly abusing his power vis a vis the National Forest Service and some friend’s airplane or helicopter business. But then maybe you, Tom Ashbrook, feel that there’s some value to asking the fox after he’s looted the hen house both as a senator and lobbyist how to fortify it…

  • marygrav

    We as citizens lost control of our government years ago. It was surrendered to the Neocons; the Right-wing Religionists; and big money interest, all following the playbook of Newt Gingrich.
    Gingrich set about destroying the US government and set it up for the Fascism that came with the election of George W. Bush who was a perfect target of nebulous intellegence who believed in the Rapture.

    This made him a perfect taget for the Neocons with their Troskyist ideology of FOREVER REVOLUTION. This bankrupt the country and set US up for forever wars in their interest.
    The only problem we have now is that we do not have enough piano wire to string up all the traitors that led US to the so-called War on Terror. We have become a torrist state that is feared by those who once loved US.

    We have been misled by Neocons who want revenge on the WASP who mistreated their fathers and on those who do not believe in the myth of the chosen.

    Two hundered years is a long time for a democracy to survive and 2014 may signal the demise of the United States due to its choices of racism over substance and religion over common sense.

    A country that has over 400 million people, legal or otherwise, needs a large government. This has proven true in that our water is still drinkable and the air is passable. We need insight because lassie faire inspired Supreme Court decisions, in a court packed and cracked with neoconservatives in the majority, will not and cannot protect the rights of the people to liberty, has gone beyond the dreams of nazis and facist of the 20th century.

    The vote is in danger because it is under attack by those who say they love democracy. Even if Hillary Clinton wins she will face a Supreme Court that will give the victory to Ted Cruse, thus ignoring the Constitution as it did with the appointment of George W. Bush. I am not even sure that the people will object to this gross violation of the Constitution.

    The Great Society is gone the way of the New Deal and the only thing left is a raw deal for the 99%. The House that Eric Cantor built and the Court that George W. Bush packed, may be the winners after all.

    • harverdphd

      The 1% is a myth. Get over it.

    • OnPointComments

      1% is math. No matter what you do, there will always be a 1%.

      • jefe68

        Just as there will always be the other 99%.

    • Human2013

      Hear, Hear!

  • harverdphd

    Two has-beens are going to cure the political process? Considering the usual vitriol of this board this whole notion is DOA. But thanks for playing!

  • The poster formerly known as t

    Why? They have drones and robots. They don’t need most people in America. Most Americans are not part of their social circle nor do most Americans help them run and maintain their positions of power.

    Since so much of the important tasks in developed economies are done by a minority of the population, most people are expendable to society.

  • HonestDebate1

    “Great Moderates in History”, has that book been written yet?

  • Bluesyinohio

    What was that online address that Sen. Snowe put out at the end of their sequence? I didn’t have anything to write on in the car,

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      You can listen to it here online – and you can fast forward to the end with the slider.

  • CSNIronclad

    Oh yes, the “law Professor” from Duke – the place that railroaded their Lacrosse Team on false charges and showed what “justice” was in PC land – is going to tell 50% of the population to just shut up and accept his version of politics “for the good of all”. How nice and how typical of left wing politics these days.

    The idea of restricting money in campaigns too is just a ploy to make the incumbents impossible to defeat. The good and mighty will control the media and “sell” us the only acceptable ideas too.

    What Mr Purdy needs to realize is that more government makes people less free – every “right” he adds to one group diminishes the other. Equal justice under law – no government picking winners and losers.

    • TFRX

      Duke railroaded the lax team?

      I didn’t know that that overreaching prosecutor worked for the university.

      • CSNIronclad

        You have never heard of the “Gang of 88″? You know the “progressive” faculty members there that signed a manifesto to “take action” on the lacrosse team? The gutless University President that allowed his students to be dismissed and Lacrosse eliminated to remove the “stain” from the University? None of those people were EVER disciplined or fired or even publicly reprimanded even when the case against the team evaporated. Nifong got disbarred and is in Jail – most of the Gang of 88 got promoted.

        So yes – Duke facilitated that travesty.

        Mr Purdy is a professor of law at that institution – the fact they are settling the lawsuits out of court says much for the “justice” this man preaches.

        • Paul Hoogeveen

          You seem to be confusing faculty with administration there, Mr. Confederate States Navy Ironclad. The two operate in distinctly different spheres.

          • CSNIronclad

            Duke university administration and a large number of the faculty behaved like a kangaroo court and lynch mob over the lacrosse case. No one in that group was ever fired, reprimanded or in any way rebuked over that incident.

            Mr Purdy is a number of the Duke legal organization, a group that also did zero on this travesty. Therefore I don’t pay attention to anyone from Duke as far as legal matters go.

  • nolarkinsley

    Josiah . although Jacqueline `s stori is surprising,
    last week I bought themselves a Chrysler from having made $5060 thiss month
    and-in excess of, 10/k last-month . it’s realy the easiest-work I have ever
    done . I started this 4 months ago and pretty much straight away was bringin in
    at least $78 per-hour . why not look here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • jefe68

    Florida Illegally Drew Congressional District Boundaries To Benefit GOP, Judge Rules

    http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/judge-invalidates-floridas-congressional-districts-appeal-likely/2188030

    • TFRX

      Looks like Texas has some competition.

  • Eliza_Bee

    Snowe, Dashle, and Purdy are trying to do something about the most serious problem the US faces, so I wonder why commenters waste time criticizing them. (I call it our most serious problem because nothing is getting done to address the real problems, and our country is starting to go down the tubes.)

    The problem runs deep, but I think the best way to start unwinding it is to reduce fund-raising for electoral campaigns and get rid of gerrymandering. People won’t take the trouble to vote if they think their vote means nothing, and there are many who think their vote means nothing with good reason.

    (I still vote, but have quit writing to my senators and representatives because they in no way represent me and it’s a waste of time. The only meaningful vote I have on the federal level is for president.)

    The MayDay PAC and the stamp stampede are a couple campaigns working on eliminating money for politics.

    • Paul Hoogeveen

      Because complaints and criticisms are easy to communicate. Finding ways to build common ground and shrink the widening divisions in the country will take real effort and real work. meanwhile we’re all sitting on our butts in front of our computers, tablets, and smartphones, soap-boxing instead of acting.

  • Guest

    The ideas are good, but everything is moving in the opposite direction. We’re basically doomed. This is gonna be a legislative lost generation.

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Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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Guest Renee McLeod of Somerville, MA's Petsi pies shows off her wares. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

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Pallbearers carry a coffin out of a military transport plane during a ceremony to mark the return of the first bodies, of passengers and crew killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, from Ukraine at Eindhoven military air base, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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