Krauthammer is right: an unresolved ideological battle doesn't mean that Washington is "broken".

We're in the midst of a great four-year national debate on the size and reach of government, the future of the welfare state, indeed, the nature of the social contract between citizen and state. The distinctive visions of the two parties -- social-democratic vs. limited-government -- have underlain every debate on every issue since Barack Obama's inauguration: the stimulus, the auto bailouts, health-care reform, financial regulation, deficit spending. Everything. The debt ceiling is but the latest focus of this fundamental divide.

The sausage-making may be unsightly, but the problem is not that Washington is broken, that ridiculous ubiquitous cliche. The problem is that these two visions are in competition, and the definitive popular verdict has not yet been rendered.

Our Constitution was designed so that these sorts of ideological battles would unfold slowly and be played out over the course of several election cycles. This is a feature, not a bug.

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