Senator Snowe’s desires do not comport with post-2010 reality. The debate in Washington has moved beyond how much to spend and how much power to cede to government. It was within the confines of those debates that Senator Snowe burnished her persona as a consensus builder. Fortunately, that time has passed.
Last week, she described the parties as being in a “parallel universe” and said there was simply “too much partisanship.” Those complaints about Washington sound eerily similar to those of retiring Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-MN), another media described moderate. Last week he decried the “heightened level of partisanship” and the “unraveling” of “a fairly strong bipartisan consensus.”
Disgust with Washington is nothing new; in fact, it is a growing phenomenon. As Washington plays an ever-larger role in our daily lives, its actions (or lack thereof) have become subject to more scrutiny, and rightly so.
Local transportation officials recently lamented the lack of action on a federal transportation bill because it was creating uncertainty. That uncertainty which makes it impossible to plan and puts states in untenable fiscal situations. Aside from returning to the big spending days of old, the only way to cut through the dysfunction is to return the power to the states.
The answer is not to further empower Washington lawmakers and bureaucrats. Their power has grown significantly in the recent decades and all we have to show for it is more debt, more powerful bureaucrats and more dysfunction. For whatever reason, “moderates” failed to understand this, which makes them no different from their big-government brethren in the liberal and progressive movements.