Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein's reality check has been pinging around the blogs the past few days. Money quote:
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.
Bernstein reframes the debate:
The Republican Party is severely dysfunctional, not severely conservative. And it's going to take honest, sane, conservatives to restore it to health. How that can happen, alas, I have no idea at all.
Jennifer Rubin fumes:
If Ornstein and Mann were really shameless, they’d ignore the president’s partisan attacks on Republicans (accusing them of putting party above country, wanting us to breath dirty air and drink dirty water) and his failure to propose comprehensive immigration reform, preferring to use it as a wedge issue to inflame ethnic antagonisms. If they cared not a fig for their professional reputations, they’d throw around adjectives ("extreme" is always an easy one) with no factual support and cite intemperate House Republicans rather than the legions of deal-making Republicans in both Houses. They would cite fringe cranks like former senator Chuck Hagel.
[A] listing of things that Democrats have done that annoy Rubin doesn’t get to the problem that Mann and Ornstein are concerned about, which is a dysfunctional political party that the Madisonian political system isn’t well-equipped to handle. Not one that is too conservative, or one that does annoying things, but one that, for example, acts as if having a Republican Member of the House claim that dozens of Democrats are members of the Communist Party is just normal partisan sniping.
Amen. To give two simple examples: the outrageous use of the filibuster in the Senate and the refusal to give an incoming president in the midst of the worst recession since the 1930s a single vote on a stimulus package that was one third tax cuts.