Is Washington getting less dysfunctional?
Don't look now, but things are actually getting done in Washington, D.C.
Witness the last month: We didn't go over the fiscal cliff. We averted (at least for the moment) adebt-ceiling standoff. On Monday, Congress passed, with barely any drama, aid for victims ofHurricane Sandy. And the bipartisan push for comprehensive immigration reform seems to be going awfully well.
Could Washington really be getting less dysfunctional? Are we seeing an abatement of the constant rancor and gridlock that have so defined Congress in recent years? And if we were, would we even know what it looked like?
Consider the case of immigration reform. On Monday, a bipartisan group of senators unveiled a legislative framework that would create a path to citizenship while tightening border security. The "Gang of Eight" are a truly disparate group of individuals, spanning the far right (Jeff Flake, Marco Rubio) and far left (Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin), brought together by their shared interest in addressing a stubborn but politically sensitive issue.
This is something Washington politicians used to do, or so I've read. It was called leading. Taking political risks to advance policy. Finding common ground, putting partisanship aside, and all those hoary bromides we've learned to roll our eyes at, because they aren't supposed to happen anymore.