Our governing crisis, in one sentence

September 30, 2013

Greg Sargent boils our "current governing crisis" down to two sentences. I'm going to try to do it in one sentence:

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics — it is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

Okay, so that's not my sentence. It's Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein's sentence. But these past few weeks have acted like an advertisement for their book "It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism."

That pretty much does it. If I had more space, I might add Mann and Ornstein's next sentence: "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 if I had even more space, I'd say that the Republican Party's problem is not that all or even most of its members are so extreme, but that the "silent majority" that knows that governing-by-crisis is bad for the country and bad for the GOP is too scared to take on the party's activist base.

But I don't have more space, of course, and I'd never betray the purity of this post's concept by adding more explanation on some technicality.

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Dylan Matthews · September 30, 2013