Tag Archives: Thomas J.Mann

A conventional understanding of facts

Sorry it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but things around here are crazy.  To get back into the swing of things, here's an article, cowritten by a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute,* that claims that the source of rancor and animosity in Washington is, you guessed it, ultra-right wing Republican intransigence.

Some sample grafs:

Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican, was recently captured on video asserting that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. Of course, it’s not unusual for some renegade lawmaker from either side of the aisle to say something outrageous. What made West’s comment — right out of the McCarthyite playbook of the 1950s — so striking was the almost complete lack of condemnation from Republican congressional leaders or other major party figures, including the remaining presidential candidates.

It’s not that the GOP leadership agrees with West; it is that such extreme remarks and views are now taken for granted.

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.

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.

No kidding.  Sadly, the authors go on to claim that the Democrats have "moved to the left" as well.  I think this is false.  My argument is as follows: Obamacare was copied from Mitt Romney, the current Republican candidate.  Republicans call this Heritage foundation idea "socialism."

*Update: the original said Norm Ornstein was a fellow at the "Heritage Institute," which doesn't exist.  But if it did, it would be called the "Heritage Foundation."  But that's not where Ornstein is a fellow.  He's a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, still a conservative think tank.  I got that much right, at least.