TIME: What's wrong with Congress?
Nickles: In the past few years, the Senate has become probably more partisan than I think a lot of us like to see. I hope there will be greater attention focused on being statesmen and Senators, sinking into the legislative process and maybe having partisanship a lot lower [in priority].
Hollings: The body politic has got a cancer of money. I ran in 1998, and I raised $8.5 million. That's about $30,000 a week, each week, every week, for six years. If I missed Christmas and New Year's weeks, I'm $100,000 in the hole. So the race begins the next day [after your election]. We're collecting for six years out. That means we don't work on Monday. We don't work on Friday. I've got to get money, money, money, money. And I only listen to the people who give me money. With the shortage of time and everything else, you've got to listen to the $1,000 givers. I mean, no individual is corrupt, but the body has been corrupted. I've been trying to put in a constitutional amendment to regulate or control spending in federal elections. I had 12 Republicans supporting it in the '80s. Now I can't get a Republican because they say, 'Wait a minute. We've got the money. [The Democrats] have got [organized] labor.' [To Nickles] Now y'all have proved we ain't got labor.
Breaux: Yeah, but [Republicans] have got God on their side.
Nickles: [Getting up to leave, with a laugh] Well, I'm out of here.
Hollings: Money, money. That's got to be excised. I don't have any time for the people. I don't have any time for the Senators. I just got time for money. Hurry up and get the money so I can get on that TV to get re-elected.
Campbell: Fritz is right. When you divide it up by the number of days you have to raise it, you've got to raise a thousand bucks or two thousand every single day. [But] I'd like to think that with all of our weaknesses and all of our problems, we must be doing something right, because if you look at every emerging country, the kind of government they try to emulate is ours. Because we do have a government in which we try to include everybody, it's complicated as hell. When the Founding Fathers set it up, who in the world could have ever envisioned some of the complicated things we get involved in now, which very often are driven by almost a religious belief--like gun control, partial-birth abortion, gay marriage. I think we get driven an awful lot of times by those narrowly focused constituent groups. Sometimes we listen to those real volatile special interests more than doing the work that most people want--and that's staying somewhere in the middle.