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More Political Divide Among Lawmakers

November 12, 2012, 5:02 PM by Peggy Moyer

More Political Divide Among Lawmakers
MITCHELL, SD -

On the heels of an election cycle riddled with negative campaign ads, it's timely that the annual George McGovern Conference in Mitchell focuses on how to move the country forward when it is spilt by political parties.

One of the many things former Senator McGovern will be remembered for is reaching across party lines to do what is best for the people.

Two former members of Congress, on opposing sides of the aisle, agree today’s candidates are going after each other personally.

"It muddies the water and it poisons the well from which we all drink," former Republican Congressman Gil Gutknecht of Minnesota said.

Gutknecht says the divide between political parties in this country has grown due to candidates being attacked personally rather than on their political positions. And one of his Democratic colleagues agrees. Max Sandlin is a former Democratic Congressman from Texas.

"It's okay to attack their political position or their vote or your disagreement, but most of our attacks now are more of a personal nature and we almost bluntly call them liars or say they're dishonest," Sandlin said.

While the men come from the opposite sides of the Congressional aisle, they share more than a lunch table at the McGovern conference.

Gutknecht and Sandlin also agree when it comes to McGovern's legacy.

"People knew very well where he stood. They knew where he was on the political spectrum. He didn't hide that but he wanted to be an honest broker and said, 'I'm in this position and you're in that position. How can we work together in a way that's good for the country?'" Sandlin said.

"Watching all of this get worked out and played out and the friction and fighting, its not always pretty but the truth of the matter is the system actually works better than most people think," Gutknecht said.

Gutknecht and Sandlin also talked about how today's 24-hour news cycle impacts politics, specifically on how quickly information is shared with voters via television and the internet.

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