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By Fareed Zakaria
In trying to explain how Washington got into the mess it is in, pundits and politicians have focused on ideology. They point out that the country has become more polarized, as have political parties, in particular the Republican Party.
The diagnosis is accurate but there is another, distinctive cause of the current crisis that might have even more long-lasting effects – the collapse of authority, especially within the Republican Party, which might mean that these new tactics of threats, crises, and deadlock are now the new normal.
On the surface, the behavior of the Republicans today looks a lot like that in 1995 and 1996, when the party took a strongly ideologically oriented position, stood its ground, and shut down the government. But that movement was led by a speaker of the house, Newt Gingrich, who inspired, shaped, and directed it from start to finish.
John Boehner, by contrast, has openly acknowledged that his understanding of leadership is to "sort of manage whatever [his] people want to do," as CBS's Bob Schieffer memorably put it. It proved easier to resolve the crisis in the 1990s because Gingrich had the power to speak for his side.
Watch the video for the full Take. For more, read the Washington Post column.