The Truth about Republican Obstructionism

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from NCPA,

Washington is in a post-policy moment. Congress passes little of substance. Few bills make it to a vote, and those that do are intended as messages, symbols or stunts, rather than policy reforms.

A convenient conventional wisdom has developed, blaming Republican Party obstructionism for refusing to cooperate with Democrats to get the gears of legislation turning again. GOP obstructionism is not imaginary, but this self-serving narrative misses the point. It is not unreasonable for Republicans to decline to cooperate on an agenda they do not support.

The real problem is that Republicans do not have a policy agenda of their own. They have opposition to the president, and a lingering taste for tax cuts, defense spending and domestic surveillance. And that’s about it.

Democrats have ridiculed Republicans for their limited agenda, but they too are stuck in a rut. The president makes speeches gesturing toward policy reforms, but they largely repackage old ideas. America’s political parties have reached the end of their agendas.

This is what really lies underneath the recent policy stagnation — not obstructionism, but exhausted party agendas with nowhere left to go. The truth is that both parties have largely achieved their long-term policy goals and neither has a strong sense of what to do now.

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