The Difficulties of Bipartisanship
Matt Yglesias has some smart thoughts on bipartisanship. In particular, he notes that there's no such thing as a "bipartisan vote." It's a moving target. The more seats a particular party has, the harder it is to achieve a bipartisan outcome. When you're dealing with 48 Republicans, including six moderates, it's fairly easy to find a couple willing to deal. When you're dealing with 40 Republicans, two of whom are moderates, it gets harder.
That's to be expected. A party's most moderate members are generally its most vulnerable members. Smaller minorities tend to be more ideologically rigid, because the minorities got smaller when the moderates lost their elections. That means that a real attachment to bipartisanship could lead to Democrats offering more conservative legislation even as the country moved further to the left with each successive election. Which would be a bit perverse.
(Photo credit: Mara Melina - The Washington Post)
June 11, 2009; 4:22 PM ET
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