"The public is to blame as well. I think the people have gotten dumber."

BBW: What is the state of bipartisanship and how has it changed since your arrival in Washington?

SNOWE: Well, it’s dramatically changed. When I arrived in the House of Representatives in 1979, we worked on a bipartisan basis. I ended up co-chairing the Congresswoman’s Caucus for 10 years with Pat Schroeder, and even though we had differences among the women in the Congresswoman’s Caucus on the question of choice, for example, we transcended those differences. We achieved family medical leave. We did child support enforcement, pension reform, to name a few. Now it’s perpetual campaigning…

BBW: Congressman Ackerman, you’ve been here 30 years. Can you define comity as it existed when you arrived versus how it exists now?

ACKERMAN: Your premise is that comity exists now. It may not be entirely accurate. It used to be you had real friends on the other side of the aisle. It’s not like that anymore. Society has changed. The public is to blame as well. I think the people have gotten dumber. I don’t know that I would’ve said that out loud pre-my announcement that I was going to be leaving. [Laughter] But I think that’s true. I mean everything has changed. The media has changed. We now give broadcast licenses to philosophies instead of people. People get confused and think there is no difference between news and entertainment. People who project themselves as journalists on television don’t know the first thing about journalism. They are just there stirring up a hockey game.

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