Purity politics have deep roots in American history, and we ought to look back much further than November to understand the real attractions, and the equally real pitfalls, of purism. It's a tension that dates back to America's founding, and beyond.
Without reform, we're doomed repeat and amplify the exasperating gridlock of the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling talks. That's why Senate Resolutions 4 and 6 need the support of Democratic senators and the White House. The American people strongly support overhauling the filibuster.
In many ways, the new Congress should look like the old one. Prospects for a grand bargain over taxes and spending remain dim. I also expect that congressional power will remain concentrated in the hands of party leaders, and that rank-and-file legislators will continue to grumble about it.
"By the time I left Congress, there was no significant bipartisan legislative activity -- none. We went from a time that produced a number of bipartisan bills to a time in which there were virtually none."