As executive director of congressional programs at the Aspen Institute and senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, part of Dan Glickman’s job is to create more civility in government and encourage bipartisanship – a tough endeavor in this political climate. Watch Glickman discuss the growing partisanship in Congress and how we can make America’s political system more cooperative:
“It’s a lot more bitter and what I call ‘tribal’ today than what it was when I first came to Congress, which was about 30 years ago,” said Glickman, who previously served as Secretary of Agriculture under President Clinton and earlier represented Kansas’ fourth congressional district. “The party’s have much stronger roles and it has almost become like a parliamentary system.”
Being in the political center is now viewed as “weakness,” Glickman noted, “and that’s tough – that’s problematic.”
Despite the fact that nine percent of all people don’t currently have a positive attitude toward Congress, there is reason to be optimist on this front.
“I think most members of Congress don’t want to be gridlocked all the time,” Glickman said. “We have to do our best to not get rid of partisanship but to get rid of the gridlock of excessive partisanship and find more ways to think of our country as a team, more than our party as a team.”
Political parties shouldn’t be thinking of each other as “sports teams trying to kill each other,” he said. ”I still think our political system is resilient and I don’t think people want it to fail and we do need to work together better.”
genConnect was credentialed press at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo., where we interviewed the premier speakers and attendees at the conference. For more of our video interviews and articles from the Ideas Festival, click here.
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