Schieffer: Lack of Collegiality a Greater Danger Than Terrorism

May 31st, 2015 10:47 AM

Friday morning, Kyle Drennen at NewsBusters covered retiring Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer's appearance on CBS This Morning. Schieffer went into the same predictable whines seemingly every retiring establishment press reporter does as they're about to leave: there's too much money in politics, we can't control the news like we used to, congressional gridlock has never been worse, blah-blah-blah..

One other peculiar item, gleaned from David Bauder's Associated Press report on his own interview with Schieffer, needs to be noted before the CBS reporter rides into the sunset (possibly interrupted from time to time, as Bauder noted, by "some elder statesman role").

As we look at one of Schieffer's explanations for increased gridlock, keep in mind that this is the same guy who in his TV appearance referred to "what the founders had in mind" when he complained about the influence of money in politics:

Schieffer is disturbed by the changes he's seen in Washington. It's a meaner place, he said, partially fueled by Internet anonymity but also by a lack of collegiality. Lawmakers of all stripes and their families used to know each other better but now spend more time in their districts and less time in the capital. Some families never move.

More senators and congressional representatatives routinely return to their districts when Congress is not in session. My goodness, they don't even uproot themselves and their families from the areas they represent to live in glorious Metro Washington. So they don't get to socialize with other politicians' families. The horrors!

Bob, you should know that the founders wanted citizen legislators, not professional politicians. Someone who goes home after doing his or her duty in Washington each week and lives in his or her home district when their chamber is not in session fits that model far more closely than someone who takes up permanent residence in Washington. Some of the latter don't even bother with the formality of having any kind of residence in the district or state they are supposed to represent; former Indiana senator Dick Lugar comes immediately to mind. How can someone who didn't live in the Hoosier State for decades credibly claim to represent them?

Schieffer's sense of how important this problem is comes out in the very next paragraph:

It has led to an inability to get things done that Schieffer says is a greater danger to the country's future than terrorism.

"It," based on the preceding paragraph, is the "lack of collegiality."

For Schieffer, this lack of collegiality "is a greater danger to the country's future than terrorism."

Hey Bob: The potential harm done by more terrorist attacks on U.S. interests and U.S. soil is far greater than the damage caused by harsh words between the President, the White House, senators and congressmen.

Readers can also be forgiven for believing that Schieffer's definition of "collegiality" is as follows: "giving the left what it wants after pretending to put up a fight."

Cross-posted at