Trent Lott aims to get Washington working

“People that land here now and . . . see what’s going on, they would be confused. I’m very unhappy with the lack of ability to get things done,” says Mr Lott, 74, now a lobbyist at Squire Patton Boggs. “I saw that coming back in 2006 and 2007 . . . it was getting meaner spirited and it was getting harder and harder, almost impossible, to pass basic things.”

Mr Lott, the son of working class parents, started in politics as a Democrat before representing Mississippi as a Republican for 35 years. He says the barriers to lawmakers co-operating include hectic fundraising agendas that cut the time for brokering legislation deals, to an unwillingness to live in Washington…

…“You cannot legislate and run a government like that,” says Mr Lott. “What happened was they stopped bringing their families up here. They don’t know each other. They don’t like each other. Their families don’t know each other. They don’t drink good whiskey together, they don’t smoke cigars and play gin rummy.”…

…While Mr Trump is riding the outsider wave, Mr Lott says that choosing an anti-establishment candidate for the Republican presidential nomination would end up making things worse in Washington. “I want a man or a woman that’s got experience in Washington . . . if you elect an outsider, you’re going to get an outsider. That’s what’s wrong with Barack Obama. He was going to come in and change the culture in Washington. He made it worse.”

The Financial Times
12/29/15