WASHINGTON -- Beneath the warm pledges of bipartisanship and the earnest calls for cooperation in the midst of a grave crisis lurks an unpleasant fact: From the moment it loses power, the opposition party turns immediately to the task of getting it back.

E.J. Dionne, Jr. is the author of the recently published . He is a Washington Post columnist, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a professor at Georgetown University.

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.