Americans are disenchanted with politics, their government, and their leaders. For evidence, we don't have to look very far: the elections of 1994 turned over control of Congress for the first time in 40 years, and the new House Republicans' Contract with America was the biggest single anti-government initiative since the Boston Tea Party, with term limits, campaign finance reform, and a balanced budget amendment high on its list of priorities.But before Americans climb again on a new bandwagon of government restructuring, they would do well to listen to Cal Mackenzie's admonitions in The Irony of Reform. The trouble with contemporary government, he explains, is not a lack of change or “restructuring” over the years, but rather the disjointed, inadvertent, and unpredictable pattern of reform we have followed since World War II.Mackenzie traces the roots of our current distress, noting that more tinkering will only lead to more—though perhaps different—problems. Something much bolder is needed—a new approach that enables leadership, facilitates coalition building, and enhances accountability. Mackenzie proposes a cure for the political ills diagnosed here—a hard and painful cure for a very crippled body politic.

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