U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill suggested our country’s malaise with its government is due in part to Congress spending too much time listening to the “noisemakers” rather than working together to solve the country’s problems.
In an interview at the Washington Riverfront this week, the moderate Democrat said part of the problem is that there are too many congressmen trying to score political points rather than working on addressing real issues.
The result is government gridlock and a frustrated electorate.
She mentioned that no one ever calls her office urging her to compromise. But she gets lots of calls from people on both extremes of the political spectrum telling her how to vote.
McCaskill said the majority of Missourians and indeed, Americans, are middle-of-the-roaders when it comes to politics. More than playing to the left and right, McCaskill says they just want their government to get things done.
The majority of people are reasonable, but they aren’t passionate about it. Their views are drowned out by the screamers on both political fringes.
She pointed to the Affordable Care Act as an example. It’s not perfect, she said, and Congress could improve it, which would be better for the country.
But that’s unlikely to happen because Republicans are bent on using it as a “political weapon” in the upcoming elections rather than fixing it, according to McCaskill.
McCaskill is correct when she points out that extremism is hampering the legislative process. No doubt we are a divided nation when it comes to politics and always have been. But there was a time when members of Congress were able to negotiate across the aisle to produce important bills. That is happening with less and less frequency.
She also is correct in suggesting that those who want compromise in Congress need to make their voices heard. They need to be more passionate. They need to hold Congress accountable for their inaction.
We need more problem solvers in Congress and fewer ideological placeholders.