[update below] [2nd update below]
So say Thomas E. Mann and Norman Ornstein, the well-known Washington think tank scholars of American politics at, respectively, the centrist Brookings Institution and conservative American Enterprise Institute, in a devastating tribune—excerpted from their latest book—in The Washington Post. They cut right to the chase
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.
I wonder how long Ornstein will remain at the very right-wing AEI with his take on the ever more frightening GOP. Among other things, he and Mann quote Mike Lofgren, a longtime GOP congressional staffer to whom I linked last September, who
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”
An apocalyptic cult. Or simply an extreme right-wing party. One thing’s for sure: if I had to choose between the current GOP and the French Front National of Marine Le Pen, I would take the latter without the slightest hesitation. The Republican party has really gotten that bad.
UPDATE: WaPo reports that Mann & Ornstein can’t get on the Sunday morning talk shows to discuss their book. Too hot to handle. Incredible. Or maybe it isn’t. (May 14)
2nd UPDATE: Thomas Mann has an article on The Atlantic website (May 26, 2014) entitled “Admit it, political scientists: Politics really is more broken than ever.” This passage merits quoting
That mismatch between parties and governing institutions is exacerbated by the fact that the polarization is asymmetric. Republicans have become a radical insurgency—ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited policy regime, scornful of compromise, unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of their political opposition. The evidence of this asymmetry is overwhelming.
The GOP these days may not only be the equivalent of the French FN but even worse…