In my almost 50 years of public life I’ve seen Washington at its best and I’ve seen Washington at its worst. The good news is I’ve seen Washington work. I’ve seen Republicans and Democrats work together on issues. When I got elected to Congress, Tip O’Neill was the Speaker, Bob Michel was the Minority Leader. They were willing to work together. Did they have their political differences? Of course, but they worked together on issues. And that’s how our democracy functions. That’s how we are able to govern and deal with the challenges that we face, is when people are willing to come together regardless of party, regardless of ideology, and work together, find compromise and get things done. That is what the heart and soul of our democracy is all about.
And today? I’ve never seen Washington as partisan, as divided, and as dysfunctional as it is today. The parties are in their trenches. They don’t want to come out of the trenches. They don’t want to work together on all of these issues that confront us, whether it’s the debt, whether it’s funding infrastructure, whether it’s immigration reform, whether it’s tax reform, all of these myriad of important issues that need to be dealt with. So I think the great challenge we face is whether or not we are going to find the leadership to get back to a process of governing.