Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tom McMillen: Members Need to Spend More Time in Washington

In the midst of the Supercommittee negotiations unraveling and the partisan bickering that's gripped the Capitol, former Congressman Tom McMillen thinks a little more time in Washington could help ease some tension on the Hill.

"If you go back to Jerry Ford, he said, 'The lack of civility in Washington is due to the jet airplane,'" says McMillen. "The fact that people are jetting in and out of here and spending two day here they don't get to know their colleagues--in particular their colleagues on the other side. More and more families don't live in Washington. It used to be where you kids and your wife got to know other members' families of both parties. It makes it a different environment."

Another major difference McMillen sees between the time he spent in the House and what it's like to work there now is the 24 hour news cycle. He continues, "In this day and age, people are jetting off. There's TV and talk radio that's chewing them up everyday and it's a very acrimonious environment. We really as a nation, have to realize that we're all in this together and we have to put aside some of this partisanship."

(As an aside, I had to ask the one-time NBA player if he'd had a chance to hoop it up with President Obama. He said, it's an open invitation. "Well I've always offered if he ever needed a tall left hander or two to help the President," he told me.)
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