The framers of the Constitution didn’t expect elected officials to sacrifice their own power. They designed a system intended to align the interests of those officials with the public good. The trouble is that they did not anticipate the rise of political parties. Decades of ideologically diffuse parties — a Democratic coalition cobbling together urban liberals and Southern segregationists, a GOP joining Rockefeller progressives with McCarthyite reactionaries — masked this fundamental problem. In the modern system, single-party rule is the only condition that should be expected to produce major legislation. Americans want the two parties to get along, but they fail to understand that this requires one of them to acquiesce in its own defeat.The post on the Georgetown Dinner Party Cargo Cult and the once might Quinn is, quite possibly, the most deliciously cruel. This is a brilliant line "It’s hard to argue against this kind of analysis because, like gut-based electoral forecasting, it’s not quite coherent enough to rise to the level of wrong. “ But I was shocked to find Chait slipping into naive over-optimism way back in the Halcyon Spring May 2 2013 (at 7 in the f'ing morning -- does the man sleep ?).
A similar divide, pitting many (though not all) of the same pundits against each other, can be seen in analysis of legislation. There is a quant way of looking at it, which assumes that a law will get passed if a majority of the House and 60 Senators deem it in their interest to change the law in such a way that the president also deems an improvement over the status quo. The quants believe there are few such opportunities because polarized parties make them responsive to very different interest groups and belief systems.Just to think that an alleged cynic so recently imagined that a mere majority in the House was enough. Now we know that this is only true if Boehner decides to ignore the Hastert rule, which the founders put right there in article 13 of the Constitution. Chait's over-optimism is quite specific and explicit
If Obama signs new laws, it will be interpreted as him beating the other team. That only happens if Republicans cooperate. And Republicans don’t want to lose! There’s a unique situation with immigration reform, because Republicans perceive a long-term need to court a growing constituency, which justifies the cost of handing Obama a victory.The Senate Immigration Reform bill has the support of the President and a majority of representatives, but it won't get passed. The extended unemployment insurance extension bill passed the senate and has the support of the President and a majority in the House, but it probably won't get passed. Oh how I long for the happy days when 60 Senators 218 Representatives and one President were enough and when people called the place where bills go to die "the Senate." Dear Brad DeLong Republican party isn't just worse than you imagine possible even after taking into account the fact that it is worse than you imagine possible, it's worse than Jon Chait imagined possible, and he has one evil imagination.