Bartlett points out the differences between now and 1994 when a new Republican Congress and Bill Clinton resulted in gridlock (here):
…But today the situation is quite different. The economy is in the tank and the budget is clearly on an unsustainable path, in large part due to actions taken by Republicans when they were in power. They completely dismantled the deficit controls put in place by the elder Bush and Clinton so that they could cut taxes willy-nilly without paying for them, and in the process thoroughly decimated the governmentâ€™s capacity to raise adequate revenue to fund its essential functions. Adding insult to injury, Republicans enacted a massive new entitlement program, Medicare Part D, without paying for a penny of it on top of every pork barrel project any Republican ever imagined.
The point is that gridlock under todayâ€™s circumstances will not be benign, as it was in the late 1990s, but toxic, preventing our political system from grappling with problems that demand action and will only get worse the longer it is delayed….And as I have previously warned, I am very fearful that it will be impossible to raise the debt limit, which would bring about a default and real, honest-to-God bankruptcy â€” something many Tea Party-types have openly called for in an insane belief that this will somehow or other impose fiscal discipline on out-of-control government spending without forcing them to vote either for spending cuts or tax increases.