Steve Kroft’s joint interview with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, broadcast Sunday on “60 Minutes,” didn’t break much new ground in terms of the inability of the U.S. Senate to get things done.
But it was fascinating nonetheless.
Though Sens. McConnell of Kentucky and Reid of Nevada sat side by side, almost touching, both acted as if they were alone with the interviewer. Yes, each referred to the other as a friend, even “my good friend,” but that phony Senate collegiality is no more valid than the boast about the Senate being the “world’s most deliberative body.” Once, maybe.
What Mr. Kroft’s interview revealed is what small men Sens. McConnell and Reid, two of America’s most powerful politicians, are. They couldn’t even look at each other, and when discussing how the Senate had strayed so far off course and what it would take to restore compromise and credibility, each blamed the other — or at least the other’s party, for the Senate’s failings. Sen. Reid repeated a couple of familiar quotes, one by Sen. McConnell, and all Sen. McConnell could do was trash Obamacare and Democratic spending.
Neither even remotely resembled a statesman. The interview only underscored the low regard Americans have for Congress. Lamentably, though these two men might switch jobs in January, depending on which party controls the Senate, both still will lead — or at least be the front man — for their respective caucuses.
As for change, if there is any, it will be incremental in the extreme. As Mr. Kroft noted at the conclusion of the interview, 20 of the 22 incumbents seeking re-election are expected to win. Perhaps a few of them, and some of the winners in races for open seats, will remember that public service means serving the public’s interests, not the party’s interests.