Reporters and political writers alike have struggled to make sense of the current presidential contest and the preliminary success of outsiders in both parties. Their overall conclusion is that voters are deeply dissatisfied with the current political environment and with those who are entrenched in it.
Nebraska's Republican junior U.S. senator, Ben Sasse, reiterated the observations of reporters recently when he gave his maiden speech in the Senate. “If I can be brutally honest for a moment,” Sasse stated to his colleagues, “I'm home basically every weekend — and what I'm sure most of you hear — is some version of this: A pox on both parties and all your houses. We don't believe politicians are even trying to fix this mess.”
Sasse concluded his remarks with the following advice to his colleagues: “Each of us has an obligation to be able to answer our constituents' questions: Why doesn't Congress work? And what is your plan for fixing the Senate in particular?”
While Sasse's speech initially captured headlines on television and in newspapers, it barely made an impression on his senatorial colleagues. Indeed, what was especially noteworthy was the silence of his colleagues in the aftermath of his speech and the failure of any senator to propose a way out of this morass.
So like much else these days that comes before the Congress, Sasse's speech disappeared as if it had never been presented. Is it any wonder then that voters are looking elsewhere for direction and for leaders?