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Friday, July 27, 2012

Ornstein and Mann - still being ignored:

Some musing by Francis Wilkinson at Bloomberg:
Republican Extremism and Intransigence: Not Newsworthy

For decades, Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution and Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute have occupied the bull's eye at the center of the middle of Washington centrism.

So it's pretty amazing that they can drop a book like "It's Even Worse Than It Looks" smack in the center (sorry) of an election year and cause so few political ripples. ...

[Ornstein and Mann write:]
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.
It's hard to imagine a more wholesale indictment from two eminent political scientists, each with a decades-long track record of nonpartisan analysis. It's equally hard to imagine the press quietly absorbing a similarly pedigreed indictment of the Democratic Party; the elite press, in particular, would likely talk of nothing else. Yet mainstream news outlets, while giving the authors fairly prominent play, seem to treat the their thesis as neither new nor news.

What gives?

Perhaps it's the soft bigotry of low expectations. The most anguish over the state of the Republican Party seems to flow from conservatives in varied states of excommunication, such as David Frum, Bruce Bartlett and a cadre of smart, young writers who object to the empowered-state vision of Democrats but can't abide the devolution of the Republicans. Many liberals, having perhaps never given sufficient credence to conservative thought in the first place, regard the book's premise with a knowing shrug. Elected Republicans, naturally, dismiss the book as partisan hackery (though former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel gave it an enthusiastic blurb). Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, with characteristic deference to facts, denounced the authors as "ultra, ultra liberal." But the authors -- and their centrist disposition -- are well known. Perhaps their thesis is, too. It's just that no one knows what can be done about it, or by whom.


3 comments

"unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science"

This is why there is no political discourse in this country. Discourse requires a reference to facts and the reaching of a logical, reasoned conclusion. You can't get past the first step.

How'd we get to this point? What can be done about it? Where is the intellectual right? Where is the press? Remember when we use to have one? (Notice that the British press didn't take long to declare Romney and idiot.)

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