Take that you p.o.s. Via.
Take that you p.o.s. Via.
Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and guess what? They've never seen it this dysfunctional in all that time, and expand on the point in their WaPo opinion piece.
You're right, this is not the least bit surprising, but it's still nice to get some validation from Mann and Ornstein... as if we needed any, right?
As John Dean tweeted, this op-ed is so important given the sources, and it deserves some real attention. Their premise is, of course, that "the problem lies with the Republican Party" and that when one party is so off the charts ideologically, then coming together with the other political party to work through and resolve the nation's problems is nearly impossible:
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. [...]
While the Democrats may have moved from their 40-yard line to their 25, the Republicans have gone from their 40 to somewhere behind their goal post. [...]
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.
As for how Democrats behaved when George W. Bush was in the White House, "the difference is striking." That's right, the Dems actually provided crucial votes that got some controversial legislation passed, like tax cuts, No Child Left Behind, and the 2008 financial bailouts. (Not that they should have passed some of those laws...)
That was then.
Their advice to the press:
[S]top lending legitimacy to Senate filibusters by treating a 60-vote hurdle as routine. The framers certainly didn’t intend it to be. Report individual senators’ abusive use of holds and identify every time the minority party uses a filibuster to kill a bill or nomination with majority support.
Their advice to voters: "Punish ideological extremism at the polls."
My advice to Mann and Ornstein: Shout "The problem lies with the Republican Party" from the rooftops.
Thomas E. Mann is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Norman J. Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. 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.
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