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Five Delusions About Our Broken Politics - Thomas E. Mann & Norman J. Ornstein - The American Interest Magazine

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Finding an American who does not think our politics are dysfunctional is much harder these days than finding Waldo. Approval of Congress hovers around 10 percent, limited, John McCain often jokes, to “paid staff and blood relatives.” Of course, Congress rarely enjoys a high approval rating, even when things are operating well. But to the two of us, with more than 42 years each of experience immersed in the corridors of Washington at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, this dysfunction is worse than we have ever seen it, and it is not limited to Capitol Hill. The partisan and ideological polarization from which we now suffer comes at a time when critical problems cry out for resolution, making for a particularly toxic mix.

It is not going to be easy to find structural fixes to our problems because many of them flow from an increasingly corrosive culture, not just from institutional breakdowns. We have many ideas for significant reforms and other changes, but before we can consider remedies for our political dysfunction, we need to rid ourselves of much seductive wishful thinking. Here are five bromides to avoid.

Great article, but still I wonder.

If everyone thinks our political system is dysfunctional, why can't anyone seem to be able to fix it?

Follow the money.

There are some people not motivated by money.

I guess they're relatively unarmed compared with the people with money.

It's because they don't want to fix it. There are no more moderates of any party in Congress right now (due in large part to persistent gerrymandering of safe seats), only Radical, History Ignorant Leftists and Norquistian Crypto-Jihadists. For both sets of radicals, the Great Recession is the scene for the final battle between good and evil, with the whole of civilization at stake, while conveniently ignoring the reality that this battle itself is doing more damage than the other side could ever conceivably get away with.

Every time I hear or see some article blaming the GOP as the sole source of DC's dysfunction, I have two words: Nancy Pelosi.

There's plenty of blame to spread around, and the dysfunctionhas been going on for as long as I can remember.

I think many voted for our current president with the idea that he might be able to fix it.

As the NYT article chastises us; we have built a country where the rational self-interest is not only an impetus for action, but an expectation.

We can do much, much better.

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