Press Release: Why Is it ‘Worse than It Looks’? Mann and Ornstein Tell All
On May 24, 2012 –The Common Good hosted a discussion with authors Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein about their controversial new book It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism.
The usually centrist political scholars defended their harsh criticism of the Republican Party for espousing extreme views and making our democracy ineffective. They cited a shift in cultural attitudes favoring extremism in both parties, but more heavily within the Republican Party, as the problem. “Today, with Republican candidates sworn to ‘no compromise’ and positions like ‘no new taxes’ set in stone, it is becoming nearly impossible to find common ground,” said Ornstein.
“We at The Common Good were early to understand and advocate the importance of citizens on either side of the political spectrum productively discussing issues together. We heartily agree with the conclusions of these respected scholars and their extremely important conclusions. We ignore them at our peril. The Common Good has long advocated for a better informed and more actively involved citizenry as part of the solution to our current problems. Finding consensus is critical for a healthy democracy. At the very least, civility, basic respect and an open mind are critical, if we ever hope to address the enormous problems we face,” said TCG founder Patricia Duff.
Mr. Ornstein and Mr. Mann stressed the lack of fact-based arguments, denial of science and hyper- partisanship as causes for our democracy faltering today. “While Democrats have moved more to the center, Republicans have gone so far right that the party looks completely different than even 10 years ago,” said Mr. Mann.
Mr. Ornstein and Mr. Mann discussed solutions to increase civic participation and restore democracy through initiatives such as weekend voting or legislation to mitigate the damage caused by Citizens United case, which allows unlimited corporation campaign donations, among others. “Finally, it will be about changing the culture,” Mr. Ornstein said. “We need leaders in the business community, in education as well as in politics and government to step forward and help show the way back to a more reasoned debate. We cannot keep undermining the very legitimacy of the other side.”
See the event. Norman and Thomas begin speaking at 10:50 minutes in.
And here are a few photos from the event.
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The Common Good is non-partisan organization that strives to inspire broad participation in our democracy through the free exchange of ideas and civil dialogue. We are dedicated to finding common ground and encourage civic engagement to support a thriving democracy.