A FEW months back, after a column about ways to restore Congress to working order, I got a note from Mickey Edwards, former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, whom I had met when he was teaching at the Kennedy School. Now director of the Aspen Institute’s leadership program for elected officials, Edwards offered to send me his book on the topic.
I’m in his debt. Informed by his 16 years in the House, “The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans” is a practical primer on congressional dysfunction and how it could be changed. At a time when many political scientists favor strong parties, Edwards has a contrary view: He thinks political parties have elevated hyper-partisanship at the expense of a pragmatic problem-solving ethos.