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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 12/05/2012

Mickey Edwards on how to fix Congress


Mickey Edwards at his book party last week. (Gia Regan)
Why is it always the members who have already left Congress who have the big ideas for how to fix Congress? Hmm? Why is that, Mickey Edwards?

Because, the former eight-term rep told us, serving in Congress is like being in a dysfunctional family. You just assume it’s all normal “until you get distance” from it. “That’s when I had time to reflect,” he said.

At a book party last week rolling out his new “The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans,” the gregarious Oklahoma Republican, now a VP at the Aspen Institute, ticked off some of the things that started eating at him after he left Congress 20 years ago: Why do we have a partisan Speaker? Why do members get committee assignments based on promises to do the party’s bidding? Why do the parties get to decide who’s on the ballot?

“Then you think, ‘This is ridiculous. That’s not how democracy works,’” Edwards said.

Well, why not go back into Congress and, you know, change things? “You think I’m going to run for office?” he laughed. “I can do more from outside.” Plus: “I would lose my primary.”

Does he still consider himself a Republican?

“Yes,” he said, then paused. “No, wait. I consider myself a non-Democrat.”

He paused again. “I don't like either party. They’re focused on what’s good for their own private club.”

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By  |  12:00 AM ET, 12/05/2012

 
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