Thursday, May 03, 2012

Laying the Blame

Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, authors of a new book examining the state of our government with the ominous title It's Even Worse Than it Looks, assess the current congressional gridlock and come away with the same conclusion that anyone who's been paying attention to the last few years of unfettered ideology coupled with unabashed obstructionism already knows quite well: It's the Republicans' fault. Say they:
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.
And to those who quickly deploy the "pox on both their houses" chestnut to assign both parties an equal share of the blame for these shenanigans, the authors make the same point I have several times before that while the Dems have displayed plenty of incompetence plenty of times over the years, it's nothing when compared to the outright, gleeful maliciousness that passes for "politics as usual" in the modern day GOP:
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.
Indeed it is. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Whether we're talking about the House or the Senate, the state of absolute disfunction that characterizes our congress is unlike anything I've ever seen in my lifetime. And it sure doesn't look like this next presidential election -- regardless of who wins -- will make things any better. Read the rest of their excellent analysis here.

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