Political scientist Jonathan Bernstein has some comments on the recent Tom Mann and Norm Ornstein OpEd which has generated so much discussion in the political blogverse. He has some interesting observations to add to the original findings.
The key is what all of Mann and Ornstein’s examples are about, which is radicalism and irresponsible behavior, not ideological extremism. The most liberal, or most conservative, Member of Congress can find ways to compromise with the other side; there’s nothing inherent in conservativism, or even in ideological extremism, that precludes compromise, comity, respect for institutional norms, and other things that Gingrich/DeLay Republicans — and that’s what we have today — are lacking.
And that gets back to the question of what is “really” conservative, because the problem is that when your leadership is so radical, and radically dishonest as well … , it’s very difficult for a party to really develop either viable policy or principled policy.
The Republican Party is severely dysfunctional, not severely conservative. And it’s going to take honest, sane, conservatives to restore it to health. How that can happen, alas, I have no idea at all.