A lot of us have been saying this for years now.
Let’s just say it:
The Republicans are the problem.
Of course, a lot of us have been ignored for years now.
But now that the statement appears in the opinion pages of the Washington Post, a lot of people are going to be saying: “My goodness, I never realized that.”
Except for Republicans. But then they’re the problem.
Why are they the problem? Well, the writers of the piece (Thomas E. Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Norman J. Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute) say:
We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.
When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.
Well, no manure, Mr. Holmes!
You just figured that our yourself? Is this officially the mainstream’s “Eureka” moment? Pray tell, what more do you have to pontificate to us lesser intellects?
Today, thanks to the GOP, compromise has gone out the window in Washington. In the first two years of the Obama administration, nearly every presidential initiative met with vehement, rancorous and unanimous Republican opposition in the House and the Senate, followed by efforts to delegitimize the results and repeal the policies. The filibuster, once relegated to a handful of major national issues in a given Congress, became a routine weapon of obstruction, applied even to widely supported bills or presidential nominations. And Republicans in the Senate have abused the confirmation process to block any and every nominee to posts such as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, solely to keep laws that were legitimately enacted from being implemented.
Uh, yeah. I think in order to come to that conclusion, you, like, had to be … oh, I don’t know … AWAKE?
There has to the some hint at the both sides do it argument, though I give these guys credit for not going full false equivalents.
Democrats are hardly blameless, and they have their own extreme wing and their own predilection for hardball politics. But these tendencies do not routinely veer outside the normal bounds of robust politics. If anything, under the presidencies of Clinton and Obama, the Democrats have become more of a status-quo party. They are centrist protectors of government, reluctantly willing to revamp programs and trim retirement and health benefits to maintain its central commitments in the face of fiscal pressures.
No doubt, Democrats were not exactly warm and fuzzy toward George W. Bush during his presidency. But recall that they worked hand in glove with the Republican president on the No Child Left Behind Act, provided crucial votes in the Senate for his tax cuts, joined with Republicans for all the steps taken after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and supplied the key votes for the Bush administration’s financial bailout at the height of the economic crisis in 2008. The difference is striking.
And a lot of us were pissed off that the Democrats folded the way they did during the Bush administration. But let’s get one thing straight. The Democrats didn’t just supply the key votes for the 2008 financial bailout. They provided the ONLY votes. I remember how shocked the world was when the GOP trashed the bailout. The Republicans were going to … (here I go again) … drive that bus off the cliff and into a river of hungry crocodiles next to a nuclear plant during an earthquake just as the tsunami wave reaches 50 meters carrying a school of piranhas being chased by great white sharks with al-Qaeda tatooed on their dorsal fins and plutonium bombs between their teeth.
Now, when you consider all this, why will this opinion piece get more attention than the things a lot of us have been saying to each other in our living rooms throughout America since George the Dumber was president?
No. 1: We don’t work for a place that has “Institute” or “Institution” in its name.
No. 2: We didn’t write a book.
This essay is adapted from their book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism,” which will be available Tuesday.
Anything to make a buck, I guess.