WASHINGTON — On a day filled with both rising and falling hopes, President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans struggled inconclusively Thursday to find common ground that could avert an economy-tanking default and possibly end the 10-day-old partial government shutdown that has idled 350,000 federal workers.
[np_storybar title=”Andrew Coyne: U.S. and Canadian politics dysfunctional in opposing ways” link=”http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/10/09/andrew-coyne-u-s-and-canadian-political-systems-both-dysfunctional-in-opposing-ways/”]
One way of explaining the current breakdown in the U.S. political system is in partisan terms. If only those Republican congressmen were not so intransigent. If only Barack Obama would negotiate.
But this does not get us very far. It does not explain how they got that way, or why it has come to this. And it does not offer much of a way out of the current impasse, or of preventing the next.
So it’s probably more useful to look at the problem in systemic terms. Intransigent, even extreme people exist in…
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