May 18, 2012:
Brad DeLong: So why aren’t you advocating the rapid destruction of the Republican Party as fast as possible? Why aren’t you telling everyone go out and vote Democrat now, for this is your last chance?…
Norman Ornstein: I am not with that. I mean this--if we get identified as people whose goal is to elect Democrats then this book goes right into the trash. I guess I wasn’t sort of clear about—-what I am saying is one inference to draw from us in the last chapter is you look through this and look at the different dynamics of what could happen is if you agree with the republicans sort of running of the tracks, then they are going to have to suffer defeat before they change. That’s not the same as going out and saying everyone vote Democratic you know.
At the time, I thought Norm Ornstein was simply being incoherent:
- If he thought that America needs a very different Republican Party because the current party has run off the tracks--which he did…
*And if he thought that they will only change after they suffer defeat--which he did…
Then for America's sake Norm Ornstein ought to have been calling for everybody to vote Democratic.
Which he would not do.
Now it sounds like he has changed his mind:
Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein: Brighter future for politics and policy requires a different Republican Party:
The Republicans have become a party beholden to zealots--with little respect for science, facts or compromise: From the perspective of November 7, the day after the election, change looked promising. Barack Obama won a second term with a clear majority and, in the process, became the first president since Dwight Eisenhower to win both election and reelection with 51 percent of the vote or more. Republicans lost a net of two seats in the Senate…. Democrats gained seats in the House… did win the popular vote—the aggregated national votes cast for House elections—by 1.4 million votes….
[But] the deep dysfunction that has gripped our political system for the past several years has not disappeared. If anything, it is even more pronounced…. It was Pat Toomey himself who made clear what had happened, in a conversation with reporters:
In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it….
Parliamentary-style parties in a separation-of-powers government are a formula for willful obstruction and policy irresolution…. The Republican Party continues to demonstrate that it is an insurgent force in our politics, one that aspires to rewrite the social contract…. These two factors—asymmetric polarization and the mismatch between our parties and governing institutions—continue to account for the major share of our governing problems. But the media continues, for the most part, to miss this story…. The framing of this question reveals much about the state of American politics and media commentary on dysfunctional government…. Under present conditions of deep ideological polarization of the parties, rough parity between Democrats and Republicans that fuels a strategic hyperpartisanship, and divided party government, opportunities for bipartisan coalitions on controversial policies are severely limited. Constraints on presidential leadership today are exacerbated by the relentlessly oppositional stance taken by the Republicans….
Ironically, Obama made great efforts to work cooperatively with Republicans during his first term. He learned painfully that his public embrace of a policy virtually ensures Republican opposition and that intensive negotiations with Republican leaders are likely to lead to a dead end….
As we write, there remains some chance that negotiations over the FY 2014 budget will produce an agreement…. Any degree of success in this arena requires enlisting a small group of Senate Republicans who have tired of the lockstep opposition to Obama and relish an opportunity to legislate…. A coalition of seventy or more senators passing such a package might generate enough political pressure that Speaker Boehner needs once again to set aside the Hastert Rule and bring the measure to the House floor….
A brighter future for politics and policy requires a different Republican Party, one no longer beholden to its hard right and willing to operate within the mainstream of American politics…. Republicans have reason to believe the 2014 midterm elections will strengthen their position in Congress, even if they continue on the oppositionist course…. But Republicans also know that there are risks associated with brinksmanship and obstruction, and they could be setting themselves up for a trouncing in 2016. Nothing concentrates the minds of politicians and their parties so much as the prospect of electoral defeat and political marginalization.