Republicans Now Accidentally In Favor of Good Governance

I’m not sure whether it was in response to my earlier item or not, but Andrew Sprung tweets:

So constructive to have all hands in a major political party poised to highlight & gloat over every glitch in major new gov service.

Presumably he’s being sarcastic, but you know what? It is constructive! It’s absolutely a good thing to have a major political party poised to highlight every glitch in what government is up to. Not so much the gloating, but that’s not doing any harm. The highlighting is definitely a good thing. One of the strong points of the two-party system is that it leaves an out party with every incentive to identify everything that’s going wrong. Not just in government, but in the nation as a whole.

The problem isn’t highlighting the glitches, or even gloating about them. The problem is that the current radical GOP is actively opposed to fixing ACA problems, to the point of obstructing attempted fixes. That’s a problem. But it’s also not normal at all. A healthy party would either promote fixes in order to get more mileage out of their claim that the administration botched thing, or at the very least use glitches and needed fixes as an opportunity to get its own policies adopted. Flat-out rejectionism is definitely a problem, but it only comes up because the normal party incentives of winning elections and enacting public policy don’t seem to be working as well as they should for the radical GOP.

But seeking out poor public policy and calling attention to it? That’s extremely healthy for the system.

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

Jonathan Bernstein

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.