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Partisanship And Accountability

I tidbit I haven't seen reported before, in a story about efforts by Democrats to build evangelical support for climate and immigration legislation:

The effort comes after Schumer and Kerry spent months negotiating with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to build GOP support for two of President Barack Obama’s top initiatives.
Despite those talks, both were forced to unveil legislative proposals in the last few weeks without any Republican co-sponsors.
Republican leaders have told their colleagues not to sign on to any Democratic proposals before clearing it with the entire GOP conference, but some of the country’s staunchest conservatives want to see action in Washington on climate change and immigration reform.

It's yet another reminder of how far removed the reality of politics is from most voters' perception. People believe that the two parties ought to be cooperating -- a belief that is probably in large part a legacy of America's long reign of ideologically incoherent parties. But not only do they fail to understand why this is unlikely to happen, they have no idea how to assign accountability for the failure of such cooperation. If you actually do care about bipartisanship, you should know that by electing a Republican, any Republican, you're voting for somebody who's pledged to avoid bipartisanship.

On the flip side, many conservatives are voting to elect Democrats who compile independent voting records that are mainly based on being released to vote against the party line when their vote isn't needed. So one of the central themes of American politics, bipartisanship, turns out to be both unrealistic and almost impossible for voters to assess.