Bitter, ugly confrontations between politicians who are willing to put party politics above love of country, who are willing to bring the world’s economy to its knees rather than compromise one inch, who appear to be completely ignorant of how government accounting works let alone how business works have been on full display in recent weeks. A small but ruthless minority has forced its will upon the majority demonstrating that democracy in America is dying. Ross Douthat is absolutely right that this whole episode has diminished th presidency. (The Diminished President.) Paul Krugman is even more right (The President Surrenders) that this deal is a “disaster” for America. Not only the deal itself but the process by which it was achieved at the 11th hour will surely diminish America’s standingin the world. As a New York Times editorial put it, “To Escape Chaos, a Terrible Deal” and one that will haunt the Republic for years to come. The only silver lining in all of this is that the world’s politicians, not just ours, appear to be in a race to the bottom. With luck Europe will get there before us but that is small consolation indeed. Jacob S. Hacker, professor of political science, and Oona A. Hathaway, professor of international law both at Yale, are surely right to suggest that we need to reform the political system to avoid catastrophic debates like this again and encourage responsible lawmaking.