Extremism In Congress: ‘Even Worse Than It Looks’?
Congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein are no strangers to D.C. politics. The two of them have been in Washington for more than 40 years — and they’re renowned for their carefully nonpartisan positions.
But now, they say, Congress is more dysfunctional than it has been since the Civil War, and they aren’t hesitating to point a finger at who they think is to blame.
“One of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition,” they write in their new book, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks.
Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, join Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep to talk about the book, which comes out this week.
Mann and Ornstein posit that democracy in America is being endangered by extreme politics. From the first day of the Obama administration, Ornstein says, our constitutional system hasn’t been allowed to work.
“When we did get action, half the political process viewed it as illegitimate, tried to undermine its implementation and moved to repeal it,” Ornstein says.
The authors make no secret of whom they blame for most of the dysfunction in Congress — the Republican Party. And Ornstein says some of his colleagues at AEI, which is known as a conservative-leaning think tank, “are going to be quite uncomfortable” with his position.