The system is pretty badly bent if it’s not broken. And it is beyond our capacity as reporters to fix it. I think a lot of it has to do with institutions. Start with the fundamental structure of the Congress; the ___________ in which Congressional districts are now drawn makes it almost impossible to have the House of Representatives function in its historical role of representing short-term swings in public opinion. Because so many of those districts have been gerrymandered to fix permanently for one party or the other. The political parties themselves have been weakened over the years, though they have come back somewhat in financial terms. And the relationship at the personal level between members of the two parties is as poisonous as I’ve ever seen it, and that is something that they have to solve. We can’t solve it for them.
I think it would be changing the way in which we draw the Congressional districts to make more of them competitive. I think if we had 200 competitive House races every two years instead of 30 or 40, you’d have a totally different kind of Congress – one where issues would be dealt with, not kicked down the road.
Recorded on: 9/13/07