November 29, 2011
Lee Hamilton is Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.
Stories this photo appears in:
As a member of Congress, you get used to being graded. Interest groups send you questionnaires, check your voting record, and then issue their “report cards.” Editorial writers opine freely on your performance. Pollsters issue monthly updates on how Congress is faring with the public.
There’s no question that presidential debates have some value, but there can be too much of a good thing.
The failure of the congressional Supercommittee to reach an agreement on reducing the deficit was not just bad fiscal news. It was a significant failure of political leadership.
Individual politicians rarely fit into neatly defined categories. And the truth is, trying to reach agreement on complex issues forces both sides to temper the purity of their visions.