Let's just say it : The Republicans are the problem.
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17-05-2012, 04:10 PM
Let's just say it : The Republicans are the problem.
http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/14/opinion/fr...?hpt=po_r1


I'm searching everywhere for the published paper but can't find it. Just dozens of pages of sites reporting that it was written. Can any super searchers find it?

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17-05-2012, 06:39 PM
RE: Let's just say it : The Republicans are the problem.
Ran in the Washington Post a couple weeks back - decent article...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/l...story.html

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17-05-2012, 06:45 PM
RE: Let's just say it : The Republicans are the problem.
(17-05-2012 06:39 PM)Seasbury Wrote:  Ran in the Washington Post a couple weeks back - decent article...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/l...story.html
I have to sign up to view the page. I get enough email already. Is it the actual paper or just an article about it? Could you copy/paste if it's the paper?

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.”

-Mark Twain
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17-05-2012, 06:48 PM
RE: Let's just say it : The Republicans are the problem.
Wow GT, not only do you still use IE, but you have yet to adopt the dummy email account strategy yet. I've got three accounts. One for stuff and people I actually want to hear from, one for stuff I don't mind getting but In no way want to see in my email every day, and one for por... stuff like this, that I never want to see. Get with the times old man.

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17-05-2012, 06:53 PM
RE: Let's just say it : The Republicans are the problem.
You won't get spam from the post unless you request it...

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17-05-2012, 07:00 PM
RE: Let's just say it : The Republicans are the problem.
(17-05-2012 06:48 PM)lucradis Wrote:  Wow GT, not only do you still use IE, but you have yet to adopt the dummy email account strategy yet. I've got three accounts. One for stuff and people I actually want to hear from, one for stuff I don't mind getting but In no way want to see in my email every day, and one for por... stuff like this, that I never want to see. Get with the times old man.
I use Chrome at home.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.”

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17-05-2012, 07:03 PM
RE: Let's just say it : The Republicans are the problem.
That rhymed.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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17-05-2012, 07:03 PM
RE: Let's just say it : The Republicans are the problem.
The problem with articles criticizing one party or the other, supporters of that party are simply going to shrug it off as "typical democrat" and not actually see the facts or evidence presented.
The idea of you herd but you didn't listen.

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17-05-2012, 07:55 PM
RE: Let's just say it : The Republicans are the problem.
(17-05-2012 07:03 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  The idea of you herd

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The problem is money.

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17-05-2012, 09:06 PM
RE: Let's just say it : The Republicans are the problem.
Here ya go, GT:


Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.



By Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, Published: April 27 in the Washington Post


Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican, was recently captured on video asserting that there are “78
to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. Of course,
it’s not unusual for some renegade lawmaker from either side of the aisle to
say something outrageous. What made West’s comment — right out of the
McCarthyite playbook of the 1950s — so striking was the almost complete lack of
condemnation from Republican congressional leaders or other major party
figures, including the remaining presidential candidates.


It’s not that the GOP leadership agrees with West; it is that such
extreme remarks and views are now taken for granted.


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.


“Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the
traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of
bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when
discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled
bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that
move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one
side is so far out of reach.


It is clear that the center of gravity in the Republican Party has
shifted sharply to the right. Its once-legendary moderate and center-right
legislators in the House and the Senate — think Bob Michel, Mickey Edwards,
John Danforth, Chuck Hagel — are virtually extinct.


The post-McGovern Democratic Party, by contrast, while losing the bulk
of its conservative Dixiecrat contingent in the decades after the civil rights
revolution, has retained a more diverse base. Since the Clinton presidency, it
has hewed to the center-left on issues from welfare reform to fiscal policy.
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.


What happened? Of course, there were larger forces at work beyond the
realignment of the South. They included the mobilization of social
conservatives after the 1973Roe v. Wade decision, the anti-tax movement
launched in 1978 by California’s Proposition 13, the rise of conservative talk radio
after a congressional pay raise in 1989, and the emergence of Fox News and
right-wing blogs. But the real move to the bedrock right starts with two names:
Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist.


From the day he entered Congress in 1979, Gingrich had a strategy to
create a Republican majority in the House: convincing voters that the
institution was so corrupt that anyone would be better than the incumbents,
especially those in the Democratic majority. It took him 16 years, but by
bringing ethics charges against Democratic leaders; provoking them into
overreactions that enraged Republicans and united them to vote against
Democratic initiatives; exploiting scandals to create even more public disgust
with politicians; and then recruiting GOP candidates around the country to run
against Washington, Democrats and Congress, Gingrich accomplished his goal.


Ironically, after becoming speaker, Gingrich wanted to enhance
Congress’s reputation and was content to compromise with President Bill Clinton
when it served his interests. But the forces Gingrich unleashed destroyed
whatever comity existed across party lines, activated an extreme and virulently
anti-Washington base — most recently represented by tea party activists — and
helped drive moderate Republicans out of Congress. (Some of his progeny,
elected in the early 1990s, moved to the Senate and polarized its culture in
the same way.)


Norquist, meanwhile, founded Americans for Tax Reform in 1985 and rolled
out his Taxpayer Protection Pledge the following year. The pledge, which binds its signers to never support a tax increase
(that includes closing tax loopholes), had been signed as of last year by 238
of the 242 House Republicans and 41 of the 47 GOP senators, according to ATR.
The Norquist tax pledge has led to other pledges, on issues such as climate
change, that create additional litmus tests that box in moderates and make
cross-party coalitions nearly impossible. For Republicans concerned about a
primary challenge from the right, the failure to sign such pledges is simply
too risky.


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.


In the third and now fourth years of the Obama presidency, divided
government has produced something closer to complete gridlock than we have ever
seen in our time in Washington, with partisan divides even leading last year to
America’s first credit downgrade.


On financial stabilization and economic recovery, on deficits and debt,
on climate change and health-care reform, Republicans have been the
force behind the widening ideological gaps and the strategic use of partisanship.
In the presidential campaign and in Congress, GOP
leaders have embraced fanciful policies on taxes and spending, kowtowing to
their party’s most strident voices.


Republicans often dismiss nonpartisan analyses of the nature of problems
and the impact of policies when those assessments don’t fit their ideology. In
the face of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, the
party’s leaders and their outside acolytes insisted on obeisance to a
supply-side view of economic growth — thus fulfilling Norquist’s pledge — while
ignoring contrary considerations.


The results can border on the absurd: In early 2009, several of the
eight Republican co-sponsors of a bipartisan health-care reform plan dropped
their support; by early 2010, the others had turned on their own proposal so
that there would be zero GOP backing for any bill that came within a mile of
Obama’s reform initiative. As one co-sponsor, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), told The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein: “I
liked it because it was bipartisan. I wouldn’t have voted for it.”


And seven Republican co-sponsors of a Senate resolution to create a
debt-reduction panel voted in January 2010 against their own resolution, solely
to keep it from getting to the 60-vote threshold Republicans demanded and thus
denying the president a seeming victory.


This attitude filters down far deeper than the party leadership.
Rank-and-file GOP voters endorse the strategy that the party’s elites have
adopted, eschewing compromise to solve problems and insisting on principle,
even if it leads to gridlock. Democratic voters, by contrast, along with self-identified
independents, are more likely to favor deal-making over deadlock.


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.


The GOP’s evolution has become too much for some longtime Republicans.
Former senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraskacalled his party “irresponsible” in an
interview with the Financial Times in August, at the height of the debt-ceiling
battle. “I think the Republican Party is captive to political movements that are
very ideological, that are very narrow,” he said. “I’ve never seen so much
intolerance as I see today in American politics.”


And Mike Lofgren, a veteran Republican congressional staffer, wrote an anguished diatribe last year about why he
was ending his career on the Hill after nearly three decades. “The Republican
Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a
representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of
the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe,” he
wrote on the Truthout Web site.


Shortly before Rep. West went off the rails with his accusations of
communism in the Democratic Party, political scientists Keith Poole and Howard
Rosenthal, who have long tracked historical trends in political polarization,
said their studies of congressional votes found that Republicans are now more
conservative than they have been in more than a century. Their data show a
dramatic uptick in polarization
, mostly caused by the sharp
rightward move of the GOP.


If our democracy is to regain its health and vitality, the culture and
ideological center of the Republican Party must change. In the short run,
without a massive (and unlikely) across-the-board rejection of the GOP at the
polls, that will not happen. If anything, Washington’s ideological divide will
probably grow after the 2012 elections.


In the House, some of the remaining centrist and conservative “Blue Dog”
Democrats have been targeted for extinction by
redistricting, while even ardent tea party Republicans, such as freshman Rep.
Alan Nunnelee (Miss.), have faced primary challenges from the right for being
too accommodationist. And Mitt Romney’s rhetoric and positions offer no
indication that he would govern differently if his party captures the White
House and both chambers of Congress.


We understand the values of mainstream journalists, including the effort
to report both sides of a story. But a balanced treatment of an unbalanced
phenomenon distorts reality. If the political dynamics of Washington are
unlikely to change anytime soon, at least we should change the way that reality
is portrayed to the public.


Our advice to the press: Don’t seek professional safety through the
even-handed, unfiltered presentation of opposing views. Which politician is
telling the truth? Who is taking hostages, at what risks and to what ends?


Also, stop 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.


Look ahead to the likely consequences of voters’ choices in the November
elections. How would the candidates govern? What could they accomplish? What
differences can people expect from a unified Republican or Democratic
government, or one divided between the parties?


In the end, while the press can make certain political choices
understandable, it is up to voters to decide. If they can punish ideological
extremism at the polls and look skeptically upon candidates who profess to
reject all dialogue and bargaining with opponents, then an insurgent outlier
party will have some impetus to return to the center. Otherwise, our politics
will get worse before it gets better.


tmann@brookings.edu


nornstein@aei.org


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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