The Senate Needs a Facilitator (and I Have an Idea Who)

07/18/2012 09:14 pm ET | Updated Sep 17, 2012

Try this one -- this is really thinking "out of the box":

The U.S. Senate is an absolute mess -- it is at a complete stalemate. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is getting done. Business people can't make business decisions about the future (hire? don't hire? buy more equipment?) because they don't know what the tax situation will be come January 1. They need prediction to make good business decisions but they can't until the Senate decides the tax bill. Prediction is more important that what is actually decided.

The Democrats have the majority and they decide if something gets debated or not. They decide if and when the tax bill gets debated and voted on. Right now the two parties in the Senate won't talk to each other and nothing -- absolutely nothing -- is getting done.

Senator Harry Reid is not performing as a leader of the Senate but as an advocate for his party, and he has blocked important issues from being debated and voted on -- most notably a budget for the country. The American people are suffering because Senator Reid is choosing advocacy over leadership.

Solutions and plans will only come if and when the two parties in the Senate begin to talk to each other. So, how can they get their talks jump started? They should do what we we do in the judicial system to jump-start discussion. They need to get a facilitator/mediator just to come in and get the two sides to begin to talk. This is not to convince either party of any particular position or convince them to vote any particular way, but merely to get them to talk to each other about the important issues. Perhaps, with good discussion, a solution (or compromise of some sort) will follow, as that is what happens in the court system. You get the two sides in the room and work them over.

So who would be the perfect facilitator? Who could get the two parties to speak to each other? Obviously it has to be someone with stature and since the Democrats have the majority and start the process, it makes sense to get a Democrat who can convince his party to begin to talk.

I think the Republicans should suggest former President Bill Clinton. The Democrats could not complain (they would look bad if they did) and I bet Clinton would love the challenge. The Republicans would have to love this idea since it puts the pressure on the Democrats to come to the table if it is President Clinton telling them to do so.

What do you think?

PS: Instead of taking a recess the entire month of August, the entire Senate should stay in Washington, talk to each other and maybe even resolve the issues they have ignored. We can't wait. It is abusive for the Senate to fail to try.