Per Ed's post from this morning: I don't like shameless gall in politics any more than the next guy; my preference is for unmitigated gall. (Just kidding.) Yes, Obama may throw an elbow or two, but he plays the game fairer than most. And while Mr. Atwater and Mr. Rove, the two architects of Republican campaign tactics, did not invent "shameless gall," they may have more patents on it than anyone else.
So, both sides do it and Ed is right: We have sandbox elections that turn into playground government.
But are both sides — Republicans and Democrats — equally guilty for this immaturity?
Norm Ornstein and Tom Mann have studied politics for 40 years. Norm is affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute, a Republican think-tank, and Tom with Brookings, generally considered more aligned with Democrats. Here is the headline on their conclusion in an Outlook piece from this weekend:
"LET'S JUST SAY IT: THE REPUBLICANS ARE THE PROBLEM"
Forgive the childish use of all caps, but it is worth emphasis. Here's what these two Congressional and political scholars conclude:
“‘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.”
And that side, of course, is the Republican Party as it stands today. That's a shame, it's galling, and it is a long-term unmitigated disaster for our country.