I think that’s basically unfair — the issue isn’t individuals so much as the system they operate in — but it’s also an outcome that both parties in Congress have brought upon themselves by preferring an equilibrium in which it’s easier for the minority to regain power to one where it’s easier for the majority to govern effectively.Sorry, but this won't wash. Everyone hated Congress in the pre-institutionalized Congress of the 19th century, when it was the House that had the filibuster; they hated Congress when it ran with ruthless efficiency under Speakers Reed and Cannon and during the early years of Woodrow Wilson's presidency; they hated Congress during the New Deal; they hated it during the era of bipartisanship and the conservative coalition; they hated it when liberals took over and ended segregation and passed Medicare and Medicaid; they hated the reformed Congress of the 1970s; they hated it during the era of divided government; they hated it after the rise of the routine filibuster in the Senate; they hated it when the Gingrich Republicans took over; they hated it when the historic 111th passed tons of legislation. Trying to connect the American people's deep and long-standing contempt for their Congress with any particular set or arrangements or procedures is a mug's game.
Of course, he's correct about it being the system and not individuals, but only if "system" means Congress, regardless of particular rules and norms.
(Fine -- we don't have polling data that goes all the way back, but we do have Mark Twain and Will Rogers and Groucho and Mr. Smith and the rest of it, including of course Richard Fenno. If anyone knows of a flowering of Congress love during any particular period of American history, I'd be happy to hear about it).