The Norman Transcript

Editorials

November 21, 2013

Dysfunctional system

NORMAN — Former Oklahoma Congressman Mickey Edwards and former U.S. Sen. David L. Boren occupied different sides of the political aisle during their respective stints in Washington. Mr. Edwards was an Oklahoma City Republican, and Mr. Boren was a Seminole Democrat.

They’re both university educators now, all the wiser for having been in Congress, and are ready to share their views. They were singing from a similar hymnal Wednesday night at an Associates Dinner on the University of Oklahoma campus.

Mr. Edwards and Mr. Boren have both written books with common themes: partisan gridlock, the influence of money on public policy, incivility among elected officials, redistricting to draw safe districts for elected officials of both parties. All told, the two have complained in print and out loud that Congress is no longer reflective of the majority of Americans.

Mr. Edwards said he was “embarrassed” at having worked within the dysfunctional system, as he did from 1977 to 1993. He now has time to think about all the intricacies of Congress and why things are done the way they are done — things like two podiums, two cloak rooms, majority and minority leaders, filibusters and primaries.

The parties punish leaders who try to work together. Challengers from the left and the right of candidates will portray their opponents as working with the enemy and alert the party faithful who vote in primaries and show up at conventions where some candidates are nominated.

The spoils of decades of partisan governing has made voter registration among independents soar. In their zeal to remain in power, parties may be writing their own obituaries.

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editorials
  • State is No. 2 in barbecue

    Americans love the marriage of smoke, fire and meat, but geography plays a part in how strong the passion is. Estately Blog has created a map charting which states are home to the most barbecue enthusiasts. Oklahoma comes in at No. 2 in ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Keep guns off campus

    Some Oklahoma lawmakers just won’t let the issue of allowing handguns on campus to go away. A joint legislative study will take a look at campuses around the nation to see if there is a way to accommodate faculty, staff and students who ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Improving children’s lives

    Social service organizations that have long-term debt for their headquarters and operating needs often spend much of their fundraising efforts meeting those obligations....

    July 29, 2014

  • State, local jobmarkets look up

    A tight labor market is often a big problem for economic development professionals. They need to be able to promise companies that there are willing workers in the community’s labor pool....

    July 26, 2014

  • Be careful out in the heat

    This week’s triple-digit temperatures are contributing to heat-related illnesses. The state health department’s Injury Prevention Service reminds Oklahomans of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke....

    July 25, 2014

  • Get smart on crime

    It’s no secret that prison guards have become the frontline mental health case workers in Oklahoma prisons. Accessing mental health services outside of prison is tough but even harder behind the walls....

    July 25, 2014

  • Quite the resilient bunch

    The people of Moore are a resilient bunch. They’ve bounced back from tornadoes before, but the current renaissance may be the quickest yet. FEMA officials said it would take two years to see some sense of normalcy. That’s hardly the case....

    July 24, 2014

  • A fresh start for VA

    All of us have high hopes for the confirmation and success of Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert McDonald. If confirmed — and most believe he’s a shoe-in — McDonald will take over a paralyzed system of health care that is not ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Call up National Guard

    We’re not sure it will help, but you have to hand it to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He deployed up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure his state’s border with Mexico this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • It’s only getting worse

    Conditions for children in Oklahoma were starting to look up for a few years, according to the annual Kids Count reports. Now we know it wasn’t getting better. The recession was impacting the rest of the country, dropping their scores....

    July 23, 2014