90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Two Former Senators, One Fix For US Democracy?
In this Feb. 2, 2009 file photo, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

In this Feb. 2, 2009 file photo, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

If you talk with former US Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Tom Daschle (D-SD), they’ll quickly admit that there aren’t any easy fixes for the current political stalemate in Washington, D.C.

“Congress and the President aren’t solving any of our important problems,” Snowe said. “That should disturb all of us.”

But the two former Senators think they have a solution that will — over time, eventually — help tweak the lack of meaningful movement in DC and our respective state capitals and make a real difference in political compromise.

At the root of our political paralysis is our drawn-out primary system, the Senators told us.

“Working across partisan lines encourages a primary challenge,” Snowe said. Often, those primaries are full of motivated and highly partisan voters who send similarly partisan actors to DC. For a centrist, civil Congress — the Senators and their Bipartisan Policy Center write — a nonpartisan redistricting system and national, unified primary voting day could help change the tenor of debate and discussion in Washington.

And that new Congress should be in session more often, Daschle told us.

“Congress is only in session around nine days a month,” the former Majority Leader said. “The money chase is increasing problem.”

Many of our callers today pointed out that few political leaders take these kinds of positions while they are in office or in larger positions of actual power, which may be true, but Snowe said there isn’t anything new or extreme by their policy prescriptions.

“I’m a can-do person and this is a can-do country,” Snowe said. Is she right? Can a national conversation and earnest dialogue change our political system for the better? Or do you agree with Duke University Law professor Jedediah Purdy, who thinks political fights can lead to real policy progress?

Or are  you with our self-described Libertarian caller from Nashville, who thinks that a stalled Congress is a good thing that helps prevent further governmental abuses?

Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook, Tumblr and @OnPointRadio.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 30, 2014
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rises over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. (AP)

Social media is changing how the world sees and talks about Israel and Gaza, Israelis and Palestinians. We’ll look at the impact.

Jul 30, 2014
Janitta Swain, Writer/Exec. Producer/Co-Director Dinesh D'Souza, John Koopman, Caroline Granger and Don Taylor seen at the World Premiere of 'America: Imagine The World Without Her' at Regal Cinemas LA Live on Monday, June 30, 2014, in Los Angeles, CA. (AP)

Conservative firebrand Dinesh D’Souza says he wants an America without apologies. He’s also facing jail time. We’ll hear him out.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 29, 2014
This April 28, 2010 file photo, shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. Colstrip figures to be a target in recently released draft rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that call for reducing Montana emissions 21 percent from recent levels by 2030. (AP)

A new sci-fi history looks back on climate change from the year 2393.

 
Jul 29, 2014
The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP)

The “Do-Nothing” Congress just days before August recess. We’ll look at the causes and costs to the country of D.C. paralysis.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
This 15-Year-Old Caller Is Really Disappointed With Congress
Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014

In which a 15-year-old caller from Nashville expertly and elegantly analyzes our bickering, mostly ineffective 113th Congress.

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

More »
Comment
 
The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

More »
Comment