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Two DC scholars mostly blame GOP for gridlock in Congress

April 30, 2012

UPDATE II: The view from The Fix.

UPDATE: Comtois weighs in.

For another perspective, read what Marc Comtois has to say over at Anchor Rising.


Although American might not much like hyper-partisanship, it continues to rule Washington. Two Congressional scholars, one of them associated with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, put most of the blame for that on Republicans.

NPR this morning featured a lively interview with the AEI’s Norman Ornstein, a self-described centrist, and Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution, about their book, “It’s Even Worse Than it Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism.”

Mann and Ornstein posit that democracy in America is being endangered by extreme politics. From the first day of the Obama administration, Ornstein says, our constitutional system hasn’t been allowed to work.

“When we did get action, half the political process viewed it as illegitimate, tried to undermine its implementation and moved to repeal it,” Ornstein says.

The authors make no secret of whom they blame for most of the dysfunction in Congress — the Republican Party. And Ornstein says some of his colleagues at AEI, which is known as a conservative-leaning think tank, “are going to be quite uncomfortable” with his position.

“We didn’t come to this conclusion lightly,” he says. He points out that he and Mann have been highly critical of both parties in previous works. For example, they called the Democrats “arrogant, condescending [and] complacent” after Democrats had been in the majority for 40 consecutive years up to 1994.

Ornstein adds, “But for Republicans currently inside Congress, you have a new set of litmus tests and a new outlook that leads them in directions where you can’t say that there is such a thing as climate change, you take positions on things like immigration that are simply off the rails, and if you compromise, you are basically defiling what the party stands for.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Mister Guy permalink
    April 30, 2012 9:41 pm

    It’s obvious that most of the blame for the majority of gridlock in D.C. lays at the feet of the GOP, especially their Tea party members. The needless, self-inflicted wounds of 2011 (the phony “debt ceiling” issue & govt. “shutdowns”) were mostly the causing of the far Right-wing in the GOP. Doubling down on the failed policies of trickle-down economics, firmly refusing to raise taxes on any level no matter what the costs, and endless & rampant obstructionism in the U.S. Senate in the form of record high filibusters is what the GOP is now unfortunately known for. Like it or not, governing & legislating requires compromise, and those that are not interested in compromise have no business being in govt. service.

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