Those of us who count ourselves among the Boomer Generation probably recall that once upon a time in American politics there was a thing called a “moderate.” These were elected representatives, both Democratic and Republican, who gravitated toward the middle of the political spectrum, who could be counted upon to consider all sides of a situation and then serve as the “moderating” force that resulted in bills being debated, adjusted and ultimately passed. All this was done in the spirit intended by the founding fathers of elected officials representing the best interests of their constituents while coming together collectively for the good of all.
Today, this seems like ancient history, even myth—those long-ago days when the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate sat down together, with allies and aides, and hammered out legislation, with compromise often the necessary ingredient for progress. In those mythical times, it wasn’t about winning politically—or not losing—but about responding to the will of the electorate, and doing what was best for constituents and the country. Now, however, moderation has been replaced by polarization that has the system frozen.