**UPDATED**

The Democratic and Republican parties have outworn their effectiveness, their usefulness and the charade of competence that Congress struts through our elected officials.

From Mike Allen:

BACKSTAGE “” HOW THE SUPERCOMMITTEE FLUNKED: The supercommittee last met Nov. 1 “” three weeks ago! It was a public hearing featuring a history lesson, “Overview of Previous Debt Proposals,” with Alan Simpson, Erskine Bowles, Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin. The last PRIVATE meeting was Oct. 26. You might as well stop reading right there: The 12 members (6 House, 6 Senate; 6 R, 6 D) were never going to strike a bargain, grand or otherwise, if they weren’t talking to each other. Yes, we get that real deal-making occurs in small groups. But there never WAS a functioning supercommittee: There was Republican posturing and Democratic posturing, with some side conversations across the aisle.

Also see the CNN report.

The party’s over.

UPDATE (11.21.11): Reuters confirms, after Congress failed, the supercommittee fails too.