Paul Jacob

Republicans are under attack from the highest towers of official Washington — the gnashing of chattering-class teeth now even more pronounced following Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock’s decisive victory over 36-year incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Dick Lugar.

Two weeks ago, even before Mourdock’s triumph, the Washington Post published a column, entitled, “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.” Authors Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution and Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute are the resident scholars (read: apologists) of our nation’s capital or, as Post columnist Ezra Klein described them, “the two most respected, committed scholars — and defenders — of the U.S. Congress.”

That serves as both hoity-toity street cred for the national political class and, considering congressional approval ratings, an ugly black-eye before the American people.

“We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years,” wrote Mann and Ornstein, “and never have we seen them this dysfunctional,” adding, in phony non-partisanship, “Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.”

“Our advice to the press,” the pair generously offered, “Don’t seek professional safety through the even-handed, unfiltered presentation of opposing views.” Put in layman’s terms: “When you do your reporting, slap a finger or five on the scale. Tell people to vote for the Democrat.”

What else can be done? Apparently, Republicans cause gridlock. Especially conservative Republicans concerned about the federal government’s splurging of our tax dollars and adding a trillion more in debt every year.

When Republicans don’t agree with Democrats, how can government grow?

Like Mann and Ornstein, Mark Mardell, the North American editor of BBC News, understands. He too bemoans Lugar’s ouster, “If you think you have seen gridlock, just wait and watch Goldwater’s final victory”


Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.