The PBS Question We Know the Answer To

Rob Lanphier robla at
Sun Feb 23 15:55:22 PST 1997

>From the PBS debate transcript at

   SMITH: Let me ask you all, both practicing politicians and citizens,
   how do we encourage a political system and an election system that
   celebrates and encourages compromise?

I've got to give credit to Congressman Orton, who gave an answer which
lead me to believe he may be one of the few who actually has a bit of a

   CONG. ORTON: It is and the Senator is absolutely right. Part of the
   problem and the lesson that we should have learned over the last
   several years in the Congress that we saw very vividly in your
   documentary is that, in fact, you cannot focus power and control in one
   person or one faction or one group. 

   And if you try doing that with the political parties that is what has
   actually occurred. That is why the Republicans' revolution is now
   crumbling. Because it was the vision of a particular individual or a
   particular focal group that then wanted to push that forward. And the
   centrist, the compromise, the people in the country disagree with one
   particular vision. 

   And, so, I believe that what we're seeing right now, rather than
   strengthening of parties, is the collapse of the two-party system. 

Nonetheless, we need to get more political scientists who actually
understand what we are talking about speaking from authority and giving
laymen's answers to these questions.

Rob Lanphier
robla at

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