Bob Schieffer’s weekly commentaries are usually the voice of reason – here, no exception:
Finally, today, well, it has taken a while, but we have finally done it. We have created a Congress incapable of doing what it was supposed to do… It is as if Detroit made a car with a fine radio and piercing headlights and comfortable, beautiful seats, but a car that couldn’t do what it was created to do and that is move forward. Here is how it happened. The cottage industry that has grown up around Congress, the consultants, the commercial makers, the pollsters, has made the cost of running for office prohibitive, so those who do run must spend nearly all of their day calling people and begging for money. It takes an overwhelming ambition to be in office to be willing to do that, most people want no part of such a life. So, the talent pool of candidates has shrunk to not bad people but not always the same kind of people who used to run for office. Even worse, in order to raise the vast sums needed, a candidate must sign off with so many special interest groups before getting to Washington that once here their positions are already set in stone. They can’t compromise on anything. So we have what we have, a legislative body unable to reach agreement on anything. The founders forged both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution through ingenious compromises, ingenious compromises and courage. Today, compromise is no longer seen as a virtue, but as selling out and political courage, well, it’s given way to schemes to raise the money needed for the next election. So we keep asking, is the system broken, the short answer is, yes. The larger question, can it be repaired? Not without a large injection of political courage. Right now, I don’t see very much of that.
Photo credit: Center for Strategic & International Studies