Shelbyville Times-Gazette: Alexander says Senate not as acrimonious as cable TV

Posted on August 30, 2011

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, visiting the Celebration on Monday night with his granddaughter, told the Times-Gazette that while there are major ideological differences on Capitol Hill, the atmosphere isn't as personally acrimonious as some might assume.

"People watch cable TV all day long, and all you see is people shouting at each other," said Alexander.

But he said the Senate is still the deliberative body envisioned by the founding fathers, and while there may be sharp differences of opinion he said senators can still work together on issues like the debt crisis.

"That's what the Senate is for," said Alexander.

Alexander joked that things in Washington were "better with the Congress gone" -- lawmakers are home on their summer break -- but he stressed the importance of finding a way to improve the economy.

"Every American's job is on the line," he said, accusing President Obama of undermining the "right-to-work" laws in states like Tennessee. Right-to-work laws prohibit making union membership a requirement of employment.

Alexander, a former Tennessee governor and former U.S. secretary of education, brought his 6-year-old granddaughter Taylor to the show; the two of them presented an award during class 107A, Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions, and then Alexander himself was presented with an award by Charles McDonald on behalf of the Celebration.

"It's a great family event," Alexander told the Times-Gazette, saying that he'd brought his daughter to the show when she was young.