Why is government so dysfunctional right now?:
Republicans Against Reality, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: ...The sad truth is that the modern G.O.P. is lost in fantasy, unable to participate in actual governing. ... Consider what went down in Congress last week.
First, House leaders had to cancel planned voting on a transportation bill, because not enough representatives were willing to vote for the bill’s steep spending cuts. Now, just a few months ago House Republicans approved an extreme austerity budget... But ... a significant number of representatives ... balked at the details. ...
Then House leaders announced plans to hold a vote cutting spending on food stamps in half — a demand ... likely to sink the ... effort to agree with the Senate on a farm bill.
Then they held [a] pointless vote on Obamacare, apparently just to make themselves feel better. ... And then they went home for recess, even though the end of the fiscal year is looming and hardly any of the legislation needed to run the federal government has passed.
In other words, Republicans, confronted with the responsibilities of governing, essentially threw a tantrum, then ran off to sulk.
How did the G.O.P. get to this point? ... For a long time the Republican establishment got its way by playing a con game with the party’s base. Voters would be mobilized as soldiers in an ideological crusade, fired up by warnings that liberals were going to turn the country over to gay married terrorists, not to mention taking your hard-earned dollars and giving them to Those People. Then, once the election was over, the establishment would get on with its real priorities — deregulation and lower taxes on the wealthy.
At this point, however, the establishment has lost control. Meanwhile, base voters actually believe the stories they were told — for example,... government is spending vast sums on ... complete waste or ... don’t do anything for people like them. (Don’t let the government get its hands on Medicare!) And the party establishment can’t get the base to accept ... reality without, in effect, admitting to those base voters that they were lied to.
The result is ... a party that ... seems unable to participate in even the most basic processes of governing.
What makes this frightening is that Republicans ... have a majority in the House, so America can’t be governed at all unless a sufficient number of those House Republicans are willing to face reality. And that quorum of reasonable Republicans may not exist.