I was listening to Barney Frank today on NPR. He said, regarding the healthcare debate, that republicans and democrats are basically on the same page on the big picture. They both believed there is a real issue that needs serious attention. However, he described that when you went into the details, that ideology created huge riffs between the different points of view.
They were on the same page in the big picture, but on different pages in the details.
My suggestion to them, from a UX standpoint is to focus on a resolution declaring the mission/vision of what they want to accomplish. Avoid all details. Just get everyone to vote the same way, just once, on a common description of the problem and the goals they want to achieve. Things like “Ensure that 95% of all Americans have real health insurance.” (or whatever)
If Barney Frank is right, then they should be able to pass a resolution describing the goals. If he is wrong, then they wouldn’t even be able to do that. How can they pass a detailed bill if they can’t even pass a meaningless statement of intent?
However, if they COULD pass a meaningless statement of intent, then that document becomes a very helpful guiding set of principles to use during negotiations. It helps provide boundaries and direction of intent. It would help move things along.
I am no expert on parliamentary procedure or the wild world of lobbyists and politicians. What I do know is that this issue is riddiculously complicated and I would like a statement from my representative saying what they are intending to do. I can’t follow the tiny details, but I can follow a high level doc. Not 5000 pages. I want something that fits on 1-3 sheets of paper.
It’s a thorny issue. I don’t envy the difficulties Barney Frank has to deal with.