“This is an era of titanic challenges and tiny politics. On issue after issue, the Republican and Democratic parties preen and pose but ultimately duck their responsibilities to solve the transcendent problems of our times,” Ron Fournier writes.
First Read: “Compared with all the big problems at home and abroad, our politics right now seems so small… And the biggest takeaway here is that Washington can no longer handle the large issues — unless it has a gun held to head (the expiring Bush tax cuts, the need to raise the debt limit). So much of this is a function of divided government; elections have consequences, right?”
“But as we’ve noted before, what separates our current era of politics from past ones is the unwillingness to give the opposition any kind of ‘win.’ Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill didn’t agree on much and fought over plenty, but they compromised enough on the low-hanging fruit for Americans to have faith in the political system. Ditto George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy when it came to education reform. Yet what’s different today is that there’s no compromise on the low-hanging fruit. And everything now turns into a huge political battle, even on subjects that weren’t controversial decades ago — like when Reagan and Bush 41 used executive action to protect certain undocumented immigrants from deportation.”