The problems in the Senate today are pretty much entirely about the third thing that Packer discusses: partisanship and full exploitation of the Senate rules to create obstacles to the Senate working at all. Packer's story about the banking bill and Senator Corker, I think, is the key one. In that case, it turned out that none of the other problems of the Senate (three day weeks, staff, lack of personal relationships, time absorbed by raising money) mattered at all: when they wanted to Democrats and one mainstream conservative Republican had no trouble at all working together on a bill. But in the end, it turned out that Corker's participation was impossible because party discipline demanded it.
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