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The Republican Party has become increasingly unwilling to compromise on legislative questions, leading in many cases to gridlock and dysfunction. Last summer's debt limit debacle and the Republican Party's increasing use of cloture motions in U.S. Congress collectively emphasize the lengths to which the party will go to force its agenda.
In the June installment of the American Enterprise Debates and in partnership with AEI's Election Watch series, AEI's Norman J. Ornstein argued that the Republican Party has morphed into an extremist group that employs parliamentary tactics to marginalize its competition, without any regard for problem solving. In so doing, Republicans have forsaken the views of traditional GOP figureheads like Ronald Reagan, Calvin Coolidge and Jeb Bush.
Steven Hayward, also of AEI, countered by pointing out that, for most of its congressional history, the Republican Party would cede ground on pivotal issues to Democrats, who now feel they are entitled to a permanent legislative majority. Republicans recognize that we are at a tipping point in our national history, and they are simply using the historical tools of the Democrats to try to restore their party's principles and to reverse the growth of government.
In the next American Enterprise Debate and Election Watch event, Norman J. Ornstein, resident scholar at AEI and co-author of “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks” will face AEI fellow and Reagan biographer Steven F. Hayward in a spirited debate about whether the Republican Party has become too extreme. Ornstein will argue that Washington, D.C.’s intractable gridlock results from an unbending and increasingly immoderate GOP, while Hayward will respond by claiming that a go-along-to-get-along GOP strategy is a recipe for disaster.
Norman J. Ornstein, AEI
Steven F. Hayward, AEI
Stuart Rothenberg, The Rothenberg Political Report
Wine and Cheese Reception
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Norman J. Ornstein is a long-time observer of Congress and politics. He writes a weekly column for Roll Call called "Congress Inside Out" and is an election eve analyst for CBS News. He served as co-director of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and participates in AEI's Election Watch series. He also served as a senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission. Ornstein led a working group of scholars and practitioners that helped shape the law, known as McCain-Feingold, that reformed the campaign financing system. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. His most recent book, the New York Times bestseller “It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism” (Basic Books, 2012), co-authored with Thomas Mann, chronicles the growing dysfunction of the American political system.
Steven F. Hayward is the F. K. Weyerhaeuser fellow at AEI and writes on a wide range of public policy issues. He is the author of the “Almanac of Environmental Trends” and of many books on environmental topics. He has written biographies of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and of Winston Churchill. His most recent book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents” (Regnery, 2012) is a survey of the presidents from Wilson to Obama. Hayward is also a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.
Stuart Rothenberg is editor and publisher of The Rothenberg Political Report, a nonpartisan political newsletter covering U.S. House, Senate and gubernatorial campaigns, presidential politics, and political developments. He is also a twice-a-week columnist for Roll Call, Capitol Hill’s premier newspaper. Rothenberg has appeared on “Meet the Press,” “This Week,” “Face the Nation,” “PBS NewsHour,” “Nightline” and many other television programs. He is often quoted in the nation’s major media, and his op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. Rothenberg served as an election night analyst for “PBS NewsHour” in 2008 and 2010 and for CBS News in 2006. Before that, he was an on-air political analyst for CNN for over a decade, including election nights from 1992 through 2004.