Andrew Ferguson of The Weekly Standard interviews Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), who talks about how bipartisanship and “crony capitalism” can lead to bad public policy. Senator Coburn isn’t worried that the parties in Congress can’t cooperate; he’s worried that they’re too good at cooperating in their own interest, and not in the interest of the American people that elected them to serve. “That’s one of the attractions of crony capitalism: It’s wonderfully bipartisan, so long as we can spread the wealth around, so that the most powerful interests stay happy enough to write campaign checks.”
Ferguson agrees with Senator Coburn on the problem of bipartisan “accomplishment” in Congress, pointing out that, “The muddy trail of mischief left by bipartisanship is a long one: the prescription drug benefit, Fannie Mae, campaign finance reform, the No Child Left Behind education reform, and an almost limitless number of pernicious expenses that Republicans and Democrats together renew automatically (federal subsidies for nearly everything).”
And the problem is, according to Senator Coburn?
“I say the problem is not that we don’t get along,” Coburn said last week. “We get along too well. Government is twice the size it was 10 years ago. The president can’t spend the money if we don’t appropriate it. So it’s not a presidential problem. It’s a congressional problem.”
It’s no wonder that approval ratings for Congress are so low these days – even our own legislators don’t approve.