The senior Senator from Arizona has been leading the charge lately for a return to bi-partisan cooperation and compromise in Congress. In a column in today’s Washington Post he said, “Congress will return from recess next week facing continued gridlock as we lurch from one self-created crisis to another. We are proving inadequate not only to our most difficult problems but also to routine duties. Our national political campaigns never stop. We seem convinced that majorities exist to impose their will with few concessions and that minorities exist to prevent the party in power from doing anything important. That’s not how we were meant to govern. Our entire system of government — with its checks and balances, its bicameral Congress, its protections of the rights of the minority — was designed for compromise.” Given the enormous respect Senator McCain has earned over the years from his colleagues, we can expect that his exhortation will have some beneficial effect. But the tribal partisan behaviors will quickly return. It would be far more effective — and permanent — if that exhortation came from the American people, backed up by the Public Check on Congress mechanism by which Senator McCain’s colleagues would feel severe consequences for ignoring it. Much of the original vision of the Founders concerning compromise would be restored.
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