It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism by Thomas E. Mann, Norman J. Ornstein |, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism

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

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by Thomas E. Mann, Norman J. Ornstein
     
 

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Hyperpartisanship is as old as American democracy. But now, acrimony is not confined to a moment; it’s a permanent state of affairs and has seeped into every part of the political process. Identifying the overriding problems that have led Congress—and the United States—to the brink of institutional collapse, It’s Even Worse Than It

Overview


Hyperpartisanship is as old as American democracy. But now, acrimony is not confined to a moment; it’s a permanent state of affairs and has seeped into every part of the political process. Identifying the overriding problems that have led Congress—and the United States—to the brink of institutional collapse, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks profoundly altered the debate about why America’s government has become so dysfunctional. Through a new preface and afterword, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein bring the story forward, examining the 2012 presidential campaign and exploring the prospects of a less dysfunctional government. As provocative and controversial as ever, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks will continue to set the terms of our political debate in the years to come.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-09
Two scholars examine how today's hyperpartisanship has crippled our government. In a country famous for its rough-and-tumble politics, are things really worse than they've ever been? Yes, wrote Brookings Institution senior fellow Mann and American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Ornstein in last year's best-seller, and the answer is still yes in this paperback edition with an updated preface and new afterword allowing the authors to factor in the 2012 election results. To explain the dynamics of the institutional dysfunction plaguing Congress, they begin with a chronicle of the 2011 fight over the debt limit. They trace the governmental breakdown to two sources: 1) the mismatch between our separation-of-powers government and an increasingly parliamentary-style of party politics that features rigid ideologies, a prioritizing of political strategies over national welfare, and an unwillingness to compromise; and 2) the asymmetric nature of the polarization--i.e., a wildly out-of-the-mainstream Republican Party. After dismissing a number of hoary "solutions" to the problem (a vigorous third-party movement, a balanced-budget amendment, term limits), the authors offer their own proposals for fixing the parties and reforming our governmental institutions, most very lofty--e.g., mandatory voting, shifting authority between and within the branches of government--few likely to be adopted. They reject the notion that we're merely passing through an unfortunate phase and insist that we're at an unprecedented impasse. They go on to criticize the mainstream media for its false sense of equivalence, its unwillingness to hold Republicans more properly accountable for the current dysfunction. The authors, who've collaborated before (The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track, 2006), style themselves as straight shooters, nonpartisan analysts who've worked for decades in Washington with members of both parties. They say they are calling out the Republican Party only because the evidence obliges. Likely, at least half the country will disagree. Precisely the sort of argument that causes a stir in establishment D.C. but only small waves elsewhere.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465074730
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
09/03/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.04(h) x 0.76(d)

Meet 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.

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