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AP News: Congress' dysfunction long in the making


TheGreatBuzz

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I usually don't start threads, especially political ones because they are to hard to manage. But I thought this was well worth sharing. And makes a lot of good points. And it doesn't really blame one side or the other. I wonder if the rest of us here can do the same? :ols:

Anyways, here is the opening paragraphs and some other quotes I thought worth highlighting. Rest at link.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CONGRESS_GRIDLOCK_WHY?SITE=DCTMS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Why does Congress barely function today?

The legislative branch of the world's most powerful nation is now widely scorned as it lurches from one near-catastrophe to the next, even on supposedly routine matters such as setting an annual budget and keeping government offices open.

Congress is accustomed to fierce debate, of course. But veteran lawmakers and scholars use words such as "unprecedented" to describe the current level of dysfunction and paralysis. The latest Gallup poll found a record-high lack of faith in Congress

Instead of a two-party system, American government has become a battle between warring tribes, says Mickey Edwards, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma who has taught at several universities. When House and Senate leaders set out their goals and strategies, he said in an interview, "it comes down to the party first," with the public's welfare lagging behind.

Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., in one of several essays on Congress' decline, writes that "Fox and MSNBC ... certainly inflamed partisanship." Social media, he says, has "popularized nonfact-based reality."

"The voters bear some blame," Davis added, noting recent elections in which the greatest energies were on the edges, not the middle.

Edwards, who has written extensively on government since leaving Congress in 1993, said in a recent article for The Atlantic that Americans have created a political system "that makes cooperation almost impossible and incivility nearly inevitable."

There's hope it might improve somewhat, over time, Edwards said in the interview. But for now, he said, members of Congress are responding to voters who say "if you compromise, if you reach across the aisle, we will defeat you."

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