Raising Voters' Expectations and Ending Government Gridlock

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Why you should care

Because maybe the key to moving past D.C.’s interminable gridlock starts with every citizen expecting more from our representatives.

Nearly every profile you read or watch of former President Bill Clinton makes a point of mentioning his intellect. He’s known for immersing himself in the details of policy and for retaining minute details of what he’s read. So when OZY’s Carlos Watson sat down with Clinton, he asked him how he had developed such an intense and specific interest in public policy.

Clinton responded politely, describing his interest in people first, effective policy second and politics third. But then, in a more pointed tone, he said:

It’s funny: Politics is the only profession where people are surprised that you know anything.

 

He went on to say that it’s this lack of expectations citizens have for our elected officials that creates a political climate where airy generalities get substituted for detailed, practical solutions to complex problems.

Be sure to catch up on parts 1 and 2 of our exclusive interview with Bill Clinton to learn about his greatest influences and his advice to President Obama on healthcare.

Tomorrow we’ll get a more personal look at how the former president’s life has changed dramatically in recent years and why he encourages other baby boomers to follow his lead. Get the story delivered to your inbox by signing up for the OZY newsletter.

We couldn’t talk about problems in Washington without taking a turn to the gridlock we’ve seen reaching new heights this year. Again, Clinton identified voters as the key to turning the situation around:

Until [citizens] are willing to vote in the off-year elections in the same numbers they vote for the presidential election, you’re going to have this kind of political gridlock…

 

Find out more about what he means by tuning in to the video above. And sound off in the comments: Do you think his suggestions could produce meaningful change?

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