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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Casey on D.C. ‘dysfunction’: ‘We govern like a parliament’

Greg Casey, the president and CEO of BI-PAC, the Business Industry Political Action Committee, offered this view of the "dysfunction" in Washington, D.C.: "Those of us who are involved in that process spend so much of our time worrying about winning elections, we spend too little time worrying about winning policy debates, which is the idea that elections are supposed to be about." Addressing the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho, he said, "It is this focus, I believe, on who has the political control in the process ... that has contributed mainly to the dysfunction in Washington, D.C. ... This was on clear display last week."

Casey, former president of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry and former sergeant-at-arms and doorkeeper of the U.S. Senate, said, "This focus on the power ... has all but destroyed the process itself." He said decisions have been made "in conference rooms, not in hearing rooms," and said, "We've gone from a nation of laws and procedures ... to a government that is driven by ad hoc  impulse. ... We lurch from decision to decision without any commonality in the theme. ... So we act like a representative republic at election time, but now we govern like a parliament, where those who are in charge of the party basically focus on doing that which they want to do, to circumvent whatever process or rules they need to circumvent in order to pursue their policy or their philosophy. That's sort of where Washington is at this point in time."

Casey said "both parties have practiced this over the last couple of decades." He said it's "equally bad, whether you do it for the philosophy of the left or for the philosophy of the right."

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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