Kevin Drum, in smacking around David Brooks (something I always love to watch), makes a very good point. He notes that, for all the talk of how long it's taken to build the new skyscraper at 1 World Trade Center, it's actually almost exactly the same as the length of time it took to build the original two towers.
We have to be wary about romanticizing the past in diagnosing our current government's ills, an annoyingly consistent problem with conservative narratives. It isn't that our government is more rancorous than in the past. You think Vietnam and HUAC weren't rancorous? It isn't that we're less practical or more blinded by ideology as a people. We've always been impractical, and we've always been tossed about and/or frustrated by ideologues.
Drum thinks our government's real core problem right now is structural: "... our political structure has evolved into a weird hybrid that has the tight party discipline of a parliamentary system contained within the institutional framework of a presidential system that was specifically designed to work best without any party machinery at all."
It's not a bad point. I think there are party-specific problems as well (specifically that one party refuses to fight for its own values and regularly rejects its own core constituencies), not to mention one gigantic procedural problem in the Senate that rhymes with "shmilibuster."
Yeah, I'm finally on board, even if it means President Romney privatizes Social Security and sends John Bolton to the Supreme Court. Down with the filibuster! Let the majority party rule!