In their joint appearance on "Fox News Sunday," Sens. Trent Lott and Dianne Feinstein unwittingly gave a seminar on the corrupting influence of governmental power, the "bipartisanship is a virtue" myth and the urgent need for term limits.
During their interview, which was billed as a "rematch" but more closely resembled a love fest, the senators seemed to agree with each other way more than they disagreed -- and this from legislators reputed to be ideological opposites.
The senators were busy congratulating themselves over their collegiality and how nice senators looked during Seersucker Suit Week in the Senate, and commenting on the ignorance of American talk show listeners.
While I'm no fan of incivility, I would have felt far better represented if these two lovebirds had engaged in heated debate and at least one of them demonstrated the faintest connection with us mortals outside the governing class.
Speaking of which, host Chris Wallace asked Lott about his recent statement that "senators on both sides of the aisle are being pounded by these talk radio people who don't even know what's in the bill."
Though Lott lamely attempted to weasel out of his statement, he did nothing to restore his credibility on this issue. Nor did he apologize for or retract it.
Unlike the Senate, which has tried to ramrod this bill through with an unprecedented lack of hearings, talk radio has been informative and hosted a serious, substantive dialogue on the bill. It is not the ever-demonized talk radio that is casting about disparaging barbs like "racism" and "nativism" to tar its opponents. It is politicians and other high-browed commentators whose commonality is demonstrated by their shared arrogance.
Both senators argued, typically, that any action on the immigration bill is better than none. Sadly, career politicians of both parties too often believe America's continued greatness depends on their proactive, energetic governance and superior knowledge and moral judgment.
When politicians behave as though they believe governance is about them rather than representing the competing interests of people with largely different worldviews, something is way out of kilter. The Framers never anticipated governance without conflict or controversy, but structured the system precisely to accommodate the vigorous presentation of competing interests.