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2 Beaverton Politics- United States Politics

It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism

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It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism Cover

ISBN13: 9780465031337
ISBN10: 0465031331
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

 
Acrimony and hyperpartisanship have seeped into every part of the political process. Congress is deadlocked and its approval ratings are at record lows. America’s two main political parties have given up their traditions of compromise, endangering our very system of constitutional democracy. And one of these parties has taken on the role of insurgent outlier; the Republicans have become ideologically extreme, scornful of compromise, and ardently opposed to the established social and economic policy regime.
 
In It’s Even Worse Than It Looks, congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein identify two overriding problems that have led Congress—and the United States—to the brink of institutional collapse. The first is the serious mismatch between our political parties, which have become as vehemently adversarial as parliamentary parties, and a governing system that, unlike a parliamentary democracy, makes it extremely difficult for majorities to act. Second, while both parties participate in tribal warfare, both sides are not equally culpable. The political system faces what the authors call “asymmetric polarization,” with the Republican Party implacably refusing to allow anything that might help the Democrats politically, no matter the cost.
 
With dysfunction rooted in long-term political trends, a coarsened political culture and a new partisan media, the authors conclude that there is no “silver bullet” reform that can solve everything. But they offer a panoply of useful ideas and reforms, endorsing some solutions, like greater public participation and institutional restructuring of the House and Senate, while debunking others, like independent or third-party candidates. Above all, they call on the media as well as the public at large to focus on the true causes of dysfunction rather than just throwing the bums out every election cycle. Until voters learn to act strategically to reward problem solving and punish obstruction, American democracy will remain in serious danger. 

 

Synopsis:

In the wake of yet another disastrous year in American politics, two of the nations foremost experts on Congress provide their brief, strongly argued take on whats wrong and how to fix it.

Synopsis:

Though partisanship is as old as American democracy, political acrimony is no longer confined to moments of high passion; it’s a permanent state of affairs. Congress is deadlocked and its approval ratings are at record lows. America’s two main political parties have given up their traditions of compromise, creating a mismatch between our Constitutional democracy and the functional realities of modern politics. And one of these parties has taken on the role of eternal adversary; many Republicans refused to so much as acknowledge the legitimacy of those duly elected officials who do not fit within their own rigid ideological framework.
In The Road to Obstruction, Congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein present a grim picture of how personal pettiness and childish tribalism have led Congress – and the United States – to the brink of institutional collapse. Since the Republicans were rewarded for their obstructionist tactics in the 2010 midterm elections, they have refused to allow anything that might help the Democrats politically, resulting in grinding gridlock. At the same time, artificial barriers to compromise – such as campaign pledges, the abuse of arcane parliamentary rules, and purity tests in primary campaigns – have exacerbated pre-existing structural deficiencies in all branches of government.

Having diagnosed the problem, the authors endorse some solutions, like greater public participation and institutional restructuring of the House and Senate, while debunking others, like independent or third-party candidates. Above all, they call on the media as well as the public at large to focus on the true causes of dysfunction rather than just throwing the bums out every election cycle. There is no “silver bullet” reform that can solve everything, but without attempts to restore functionality to our government, American democracy will remain in serious danger.

Synopsis:

Hyperpartisanship is as old as American democracy. In moments of heightened rancor, congressmen and senators used to challenge each other to duels or hit each other with canes. But now, acrimony is not confined to a moment; its a permanent state of affairs. Nor is it confined to Congress; it has seeped into every part of the political process. Thus, Congress approval ratings are at record lows, and both Democrats and Republicans are disgusted by the governments inability to get anything done.

In Its Worse Than It Looks, Congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein present a grim picture of how personal pettiness and childish tribalism have led Congress – and the United States – to the brink of institutional failure. Though the nation handed the reins of governance to the Democrats in 2006 and then again in 2008, the Republicans pursued obstructionist tactics, and since they were rewarded for those tactics in 2010, things have only gotten worse. Since the 2010 midterms, the legislative process has been stuck in a grinding gridlock because of the Republican Partys refusal to allow anything that might help the Democrats politically, no matter what the cost. At the same time, artificial barriers to compromise – such as campaign pledges, the abuse of arcane parliamentary rules and purity tests in primary campaigns – have been erected, exacerbating pre-existing structural deficiencies in all branches of government.

Having diagnosed the problem, the authors offer solutions. There is no “silver bullet” reform that can solve everything, but increased education, greater political participation, more outlets for responsible, non-extreme voices, and institutional restructuring of the House and Senate will fix Congress functionality and rescue American democracy from the bickering and gridlock of recent decades.

About the Author

Thomas E. Mann is the W. Averell Harriman Chair and senior fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution. He is a former executive director of the American Political Science Association. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
 
Norman J. Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of a weekly column for Roll Call, called “Congress Inside Out.” He lives in Washington, D.C. Both are fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
 
They are coauthors of The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

D Randall Spydell, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by D Randall Spydell)
This book is an easy, but pointed read about the development of the acrimony and partisanship in the government of the USA. Not a pundit rambling on about his or her inclinations and observations, but a well-assembled story with data of what the Congress did, when they did it, and how it's evolved into the dysfunctional monster it is today. And not just a succinct history of how we got where we are today, but Part II includes some well-considered suggestions and strategies for how to get out of the mess we're in. I strongly agree with Tom Daschle's statement on the back of the dust jacket, "If every member of Congress would read just one book on the subject, my wish is that it would be this book." I recommend that every sentient and voting American also read this book before voting in the next election.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780465031337
Author:
Mann, Thomas E
Publisher:
Basic Books (AZ)
Author:
Mann, Thomas E.
Author:
Mann, Thomas
Author:
Ornstein, Norman
Author:
Ornstein, Norman J.
Subject:
Political Parties
Subject:
Politics - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20120531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
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Science and Mathematics » Geology » General

It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism Used Hardcover
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$9.95 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Basic Books - English 9780465031337 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
In the wake of yet another disastrous year in American politics, two of the nations foremost experts on Congress provide their brief, strongly argued take on whats wrong and how to fix it.
"Synopsis" by , Though partisanship is as old as American democracy, political acrimony is no longer confined to moments of high passion; it’s a permanent state of affairs. Congress is deadlocked and its approval ratings are at record lows. America’s two main political parties have given up their traditions of compromise, creating a mismatch between our Constitutional democracy and the functional realities of modern politics. And one of these parties has taken on the role of eternal adversary; many Republicans refused to so much as acknowledge the legitimacy of those duly elected officials who do not fit within their own rigid ideological framework.
In The Road to Obstruction, Congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein present a grim picture of how personal pettiness and childish tribalism have led Congress – and the United States – to the brink of institutional collapse. Since the Republicans were rewarded for their obstructionist tactics in the 2010 midterm elections, they have refused to allow anything that might help the Democrats politically, resulting in grinding gridlock. At the same time, artificial barriers to compromise – such as campaign pledges, the abuse of arcane parliamentary rules, and purity tests in primary campaigns – have exacerbated pre-existing structural deficiencies in all branches of government.

Having diagnosed the problem, the authors endorse some solutions, like greater public participation and institutional restructuring of the House and Senate, while debunking others, like independent or third-party candidates. Above all, they call on the media as well as the public at large to focus on the true causes of dysfunction rather than just throwing the bums out every election cycle. There is no “silver bullet” reform that can solve everything, but without attempts to restore functionality to our government, American democracy will remain in serious danger.

"Synopsis" by ,
Hyperpartisanship is as old as American democracy. In moments of heightened rancor, congressmen and senators used to challenge each other to duels or hit each other with canes. But now, acrimony is not confined to a moment; its a permanent state of affairs. Nor is it confined to Congress; it has seeped into every part of the political process. Thus, Congress approval ratings are at record lows, and both Democrats and Republicans are disgusted by the governments inability to get anything done.

In Its Worse Than It Looks, Congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein present a grim picture of how personal pettiness and childish tribalism have led Congress – and the United States – to the brink of institutional failure. Though the nation handed the reins of governance to the Democrats in 2006 and then again in 2008, the Republicans pursued obstructionist tactics, and since they were rewarded for those tactics in 2010, things have only gotten worse. Since the 2010 midterms, the legislative process has been stuck in a grinding gridlock because of the Republican Partys refusal to allow anything that might help the Democrats politically, no matter what the cost. At the same time, artificial barriers to compromise – such as campaign pledges, the abuse of arcane parliamentary rules and purity tests in primary campaigns – have been erected, exacerbating pre-existing structural deficiencies in all branches of government.

Having diagnosed the problem, the authors offer solutions. There is no “silver bullet” reform that can solve everything, but increased education, greater political participation, more outlets for responsible, non-extreme voices, and institutional restructuring of the House and Senate will fix Congress functionality and rescue American democracy from the bickering and gridlock of recent decades.

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