Here, I'll pass it to them to say it:
This certainly isn't a novel insight to any of us frustrated progressives -- but it is pretty strong stuff from this oh-so-Establishment source.
This volume reminded me of California Crackup, a very similar book about the Golden State that I wrote about last year: great diagnosis, lousy suggestions for a fix. Like those California writers, Mann and Ornstein seem to cling to the notion that there's an unheard, moderate, centrist majority that just needs some systemic tweaks in some legislative rules and voting procedures plus better leadership from their betters to get the ship of state back on an even keel.
California actually points to a very different solution whose working out we're still in the midst of -- an emerging majority that is sick of being obstructed by reactionary, bigoted idiocy finally rises up and simply takes back the institutions of government. Democrats were hamstrung in Sacramento for decades, but the recent election finally left the Republicans under the one-third level in the legislature, meaning that more normal politics can be resume. This won't end conflict, but it will shift the working out of policy to between people who all want the state government to succeed -- Democrats of different flavors -- even when they differ on priorities and how to get there.
It didn't look as if this could ever happen in California, but the turnaround has begun. We'll find a way to get there nationally as the Republican Party becomes more and more a nasty southern rump of whining older whites. Something will give, impossible as that looks at the moment.