In a noble effort, Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, earlier this year published a book, It's Even Worse Than It Looks: Howthe American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, in which they insisted that Republicans are indeed the guilty party. These two guys are Washington mainstreamers and hardly quick or eager to issue such a severe verdict. Here's their summation:David Corn
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.That's a strong indictment from these fans of Washington centrism and compromise. (Their Republican rogue's gallery includes Newt Gingrich, Grover Norquist, Rep. Allen West, and the House Republican leaders who countenance the extremism within their caucus.) And they urged the Washington press corps to resist the siren call of both-side-ism: "We understand the values of mainstream journalists, including the effort to report both sides of a story. But a balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon distorts reality. If the political dynamics of Washington are unlikely to change anytime soon, at least we should change the way that reality is portrayed to the public."
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.
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.
Much of the establishment media has not taken Mann and Ornstein's advice. The Republicans are not routinely depicted as obstructionists and extremists. The political disputes of Washington are frequently cast as food fights, with Ds and Rs each responsible for the flying mashed potatoes. And as long as Obama ends up with pie on his face, the congressional Republicans care little how much is on theirs.
Can Obama do anything to change this script?
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2009:
So, it has been well established over the last two weeks that New Jersey GOP gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie has been a one-man traffic wrecking crew in his adult life. Apparently, it gets much, much worse:
[In 2002] Christie hit a motorcyclist after making a wrong-turn that had him briefly going the wrong way down a one-way street in Elizabeth. The motorcyclist ended up in hospital, but Christie didn't get so much as a ticket. And a police official told the Star Ledger that Christie "did identify himself as U.S. attorney."
That would seem to contravene Justice Department guidelines on standards of conduct.
So, just like the 2005 case where he was stopped for speeding and driving an unregistered and uninsured car, Chris Christie pulled out the "do you know who I am" card, and got off lighter than the average citizen could ever hope for.
So, define Christie as a really lousy driver, and a guy who tries to use his status to avoid proper punishment. You can also, apparently, add liar to the mix.
Great Daily Kos Radio from the convention today. We brought a full two hours this morning, which we packed with speech reviews, pundit roundups, and fun guests. Greg Dworkin kicked off our morning polling and analysis fix, and our placement in the blogging workspace at the PPL netted us sit-downs with cskendrick, Daily Kos Associate Campaign Director Rachel Colyer (RachelLive), and Daily Kos' own brother wonder team, David and Dante Atkins.