Constraints on Leadership in Washington

By Sarah A. Binder and Thomas E. Mann – These times call for clear thinking, constructive engagement among policymakers, and decisive public action. Yet such a response by our political system seems, at best, a distant dream.

Perhaps we should take heart that the pathologies of contemporary American politics—ideological polarization, extreme partisanship, the permanent campaign, the problem of campaign funding, the rise of new media, the devaluation of compromise, the demise of regular order in Congress—have not rendered policy-making on critical issues completely ineffectual. Large budget deficits in the 1980s turned into surpluses at the end of the 1990s in large part because of comprehensive budget agreements between presidents and Congress in 1990 and 1993. more>


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