The Daily Rundown | March 01, 2012
>>> i made a decision not to run for reelection in the united states senate and pursue other opportunities outside the senate. the frustrations that, yes, there is a political system here in washington where it's dysfunctional and the political paralysis has overtaken the environment to the detriment of this country.
>> senator snowe is the latest in a string of moderates who have either been forced out of congress or chosen to leave over the last 2 1/2 cycles. and she's not the first to issue a call for cooperation on her way out the door.
>> taking advantage of political gusts or whims, is not what our constituents expect of us, nor is it what they deserve. we must have courage to come out of the fox holes, the fox holes we dig into, to the middle to where the rest of america is.
>> that was from democratic senator blanche lincoln delivering her farewell address in 2010 . she joins me now. thank you, both.
>> thank you.
>> both of you, you didn't choose to leave. you both got booted out arguably by -- you had problems because of the ideological left, in your case, ideological right in your case. you watched senator snowe leave and the way she's leaving and how do you react?
>> well, first, i'm very sad. i believe that she was truly one of the last centrists middle of the road senators a person willing to work with both sides with anybody to get things done. blanche and i have talked about this and she confirms all of that. and i just think she was a very competent senator. i think she was going to be reelected rather easily, and i believe her reasons are she's just frustrated by the inability to get things done, and that's a problem for this country. i believe the senators need to work together to achieve a greater good for people once they are elected.
>> to me it was almost more impactful, senator lincoln, because arguably the republicans have a better shot at getting the majority in the u.s. senate . so she was going to be committee chairwoman. 50/50 chance. everything was going to go her way and she walked away. that to me was almost more -- made her statement more impactful.
>> well, it does because she realizes, unfortunately, until people's mind sets really change. until people really look at what has to be done in washington as public servants and not as politicians, we're not going to put the economy back on track the way it should. we're not going to solve the problems we need to solve in this country. i worked with mike castle when we were in the house, what an incredible guy who was really working to solve problems. and olympia's the same way. as chairman of the small business committee . she understood what small businesses out there were all about. she's one of my best friends from the senate. so i applaud her for being courageous to do those things, but we're going to miss her.
>> something about the blunt amendment today that to me -- and it's the cynical side of me, democratic leadership, they're excited because they threw a wedge issue that they think that they're going to be able to use. which reminds people, it's an amendment to the highway bill .
>> yes, exactly.
>> and that happens in the senate. the senator can discuss that better than i, but that happens.
>> it's not the rules committee , it's a little more limited. and you're right, it's something that's unrelated, it's become a political issue, and i'm not that familiar with all the details of it. but it is a social issue, which is being raised, which is very divisive, you know, particularly among women perhaps in this country. and that's a problem, i think, for the republican party . it's a problem in the republican primary that's going on right now. it could be a problem in the general election . so i think regardless of where you are on it, it's problematic politically.
>> i think as you see olympia snowe leave in the northeast, scott brown may lose, there might not be any republicans in new england anymore. it's hard to be a republican and get elected in the state of delaware , in the south, it's hard to be a democrat and get elected. if we have these self-isolation, what does that do to the average american that lives in those places if they're only representative of one party?
>> well, it weakens their ability to have a say in cha has to happen in washington . because they become so segregated in a way that it's not representative of who we are as a nation and what needs to happen to strengthen our nation in the global economy and, you know, in politics. we are strong as a nation because we because of our diversify and because of all of the differences that the states bring to the debate in the senate and the house. the congressional districts that make it up. this is -- we're a part of a world political system and a world economy now. and we need to strengthen ourself, not cause that --
>> why isn't there -- there's always talk of an independent running for president. why aren't there more independents that run. there are a lot of people that want you to do that. why aren't there more independents that run for the u.s. senate ? seems to me a place you could get away with it.
>> perhaps. political parties have a lot of ammunition, they have a lot of money, they have a lot of powers one way or the other. if you're not within one or the other, it's not difficult to do. i perhaps could've done it, lisa murkowski did do it. the only thing i can take credit for in this last election was the fact that lisa told me that my defeat is what finally triggered it for her. she said i'm going to do it. i decided not to do it. and that's the way it is. it's very, very difficult. and politics is difficult. i mean, virtually everything you do in congress now is looked at by the political parties as usually something negative. and the legislation you may have thought was good for one reason or the other and the other party will attack you on that. it happens on a routine basis. happens with a lot of the cable television , a lot of talk radio , if you will. all that's become much more ideological than it used to be. there's not a balance as far as a lot of the news is concerned to say nothing of the websites and the various, you know, individual people out there who are making comments.
>> and people go to where they can hear what they want to hear.
>> i've got to leave it there before i get in trouble. thank you, both, for bringing reasonable discussion this morning.