A senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute teamed up on a blunt op-ed in today's Washington Post, which is quite a stunner considering their establishment credentials.
"Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem" is the title.
"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," wrote Thomas E. Mann of Brookings and Norman J. Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, based on their upcoming book It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism.
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.
After tracing the shift of Republican ideology to the far right, Mann and Ornstein warn America's media that "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."
Mann and Ornstein bottom-line it this way:
If our democracy is to regain its health and vitality, the culture and ideological center of the Republican Party must change.