Thanks for Nothing

A bipartisan deal used to mark the end of dysfunction. Now it's just the beginning

Illustration by Matt Dorfman for TIME

In the weeks before the debt-ceiling debacle was resolved, Barack Obama took a cultural wander through the recent history of U.S. political dysfunction. He started reading Rick Perlstein's powerful book Nixonland, whose thesis and subtitle, The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America, suggest the beginnings of the current political chasm. The President also watched the brilliant 1976 film Network, which predicted our current TV-news carnival. For Obama, these two works are history: he was a child in the '60s, just barely a teenager when Network debuted. For me, they're memory lane. And I can tell you that American...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!