At a public gathering the other day, someone asked me how I’d sum up my views on Congress. It was a good question because it forced me to step back from worrying about the current politics of Capitol Hill and take a longer view.
Congress, I said, does some things fairly well. Its members for the most part want to serve their constituents and the country. They may be ambitious — it’s hard to be a successful politician if you’re not — but they’re not motivated primarily by personal interest. Most are people of integrity who have chosen to try to advance the national interest and are willing to work within our agitated political environment.
They also strive to reflect their constituents’ views. They’re not always successful at this — I think members of Congress tend to underappreciate voters’ pragmatism and overestimate their ideological purity.