I believe most Americans want a Grand Bargain both in substance and in style. They want to see our politicians working together, acting collectively. We underestimate how much the toxic political rancor in Washington today casts a pall over the whole economy and makes everyone want to just hold fast to what they have.
Republicans or Democrats who doubt this might want to give a call to Howard Schultz, the C.E.O. of Starbucks, who got so fed up with Washington politics that he bought a full-page ad in this newspaper urging Americans not to give political donations to incumbents of either political party until they show a real willingness to compromise and fix our mess.
In response, Schultz told me, “I’ve been inundated with messages from people I’ve never met. They are all sharing their stories that have one common theme: ‘We don’t feel represented, and we don’t recognize the country.’ The extremes on both sides have completely overwhelmed the silent majority of the country. I am not afraid to say to both extremes: the ideology that you represent is not the country. A person at Starbucks sent me an e-mail the other day with the Pledge of Allegiance and underlined was one word: ‘indivisible.’ The people in Washington should reread the Pledge of Allegiance and look up ‘indivisible.’ ”