Procedural Revolution: Klein Responds

Earlier this week, our own Nick Baumann pointed out the “revolutionary cynicism” espoused by lefty bloggers Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein. Their radical views, he wrote,  indicate “a near-total loss of faith in the system.” Yglesias was quick to respond that his cynicism is nothing new because he “always knew that Barack Obama wouldn’t be able to get anything done.”

Ezra Klein weighed in on the issue this afternoon. Here’s an excerpt (with a sweet graph!):

To make a related point to the previous post, I’m not sure I’d term calls for procedural reform “radical,” much less “revolutionary.” The history of Congress is, in part, a history of procedural reforms. Newt Gingrich made a bunch of changes in 1994. Democrats made a bunch of changes in 1975. John F. Kennedy made some big changes in the early 1960s. FDR changed the way Congress worked, and so too did Woodrow Wilson. This isn’t something invented by a bunch of bloggers in the early 21st century.

There’s nothing abnormal about changing the rules of a governing body in response to changes in the country. It’s pretty common, for instance, for political scientists to remark on the incredible rise in party polarization in recent decades. According to Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthale, political polarization is at its highest point since Reconstruction: