Republicans Are the Problem
In an op-ed piece in the Washington Post, a couple of scholars from liberal and conservative think tanks, discuss the state of American politics.
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.
And a word of advice for a mainstream media terrified of being portrayed as partisan.
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.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for Republicans and the media, conservative or otherwise, to change their ways. It won’t be happening in the immediate future. It’s taken four decades for the diseased parasite to work its way deep into the conservative movement and its not about to leave voluntarily. Change will likely only happen by way of the ballot box.
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.
Which it will. Until demographics catches up and bites Republicans on the ass (30 percent of the population will be Hispanic by 2050), expect matters to worsen. The only other hope at ending the current state of insanity and ensuing political gridlock is Republicans losing a number of elections in succession. It might be the catalyst needed for a self-awakening within conservative ranks.
In the meantime, the wingnuts on the right will continue to run the asylum while a weak-kneed MSM laments on how both sides do it.