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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Barbarians at the gate

This ought to become the most read opinion piece in politics today, for the simple truths it lays out.

Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein are among the eminence grise of the Washington political culture, frequent sources of comment for two think tanks that often set the tone and agenda of political reporting. Their thesis is stark and direct:
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.
Republicans have long been masters of the talking points and their resolve to stay on message is unrivaled. It is a tactic as obvious as the day is long, and one that plays into the journalistic weakness of striving to provide "fair and balanced" coverage -- and an unwillingness to call a lie a lie.

Going into a final campaign where presumptive nominee Mitt Romney and his cohorts have already concocted tales of things Barack Obama has not said or done, and where a GOP leadership has done all in its powers to stifle economic recovery, it's important to remember the warning of two men who are key players in Washington culture:
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.
The coming election is simply one for the soul of America.

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