Former Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe said her party is much to blame for the dysfunctional gridlock that has gripped Capitol Hill and warned the GOP must evolve if it wants to have broad appeal with voters.
“Obviously the Republican Party is undergoing some significant and serious changes, and we’re going to have to rethink their approach as a political party on how they’re going to regroup and become a governing majority that appeals to a broader group of Americans than they do today,” said Mrs. Snowe while speaking on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.”
The Maine Republican, who retired in January after serving 18 years, said the art of legislating has been largely lost in the Senate. And with only six of 100 senators serving more than 20 years, she said she worries that a lack of institutional knowledge has hurt the body.
“You have a whole new group of lawmakers that know no other environment than the current one of dysfunction and disharmony,” Mrs. Snowe said. “Yes, that’s troubling, especially if there’s some [senators] that are not interested in learning how it used to work in order to understand what your role is as a legislator, which is of course to solve problems for your constituents and for the country.”
“That purpose has been lost today, regrettably, and that’s what we have to restore.”
Mrs. Snowe, now a senior fellow with the Bipartisan Policy Center, a centrist Washington think tank, said she misses the people she worked with in the Senate and loved the chamber as it was designed to work.
“You knew there was always potential for solving something,” she said. “That’s what it was always about for me, and that’s what was lost in the Senate — the art of legislating.”