Unfortunately, we’ve become used to a gridlocked government. But in a democracy, we tend to tolerate congressional failures because re-election constitutes our consent to whatever they do—or don’t do.
It is a different story when unelected government employees fail to do their jobs. If, say, an entire IRS division responsible for tax-exemption issues simply ignores a long-standing lack of enforcement of the Tax Code, we should not chalk it up to politics. We want to hear another explanation such as incompetence, laziness, lack of staff, even malfeasance. Any of those explanations is easier to accept than the idea that civil servants fear political repercussions simply for doing their jobs.