How Did the GOP Get More Done With Fewer Votes?

Bush got plenty done with 55 votes; Obama's struggling with 60

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Even after surviving Sen. Joe Lieberman's hammer-drop on health care, Democrats still face internal wrangling as truculent Sen. Ben Nelson and obstreperous Howard Dean toss obstacles in reform's path. Why, when Democrats have 60 votes in the Senate, do they seem to be struggling more than Republicans to pass ambitious legislation, when the GOP had no more than 55 votes under Bush? This is the question vexing blogger John Aravosis. Though the premise that Republicans passed more is disputable, he gets an answer from MSNBC analysts this morning. The reason Republicans had an easier time, Domenico Montanaro writes, is that Democrats were actually willing to cooperate:

Why was George W. Bush seemingly more successful getting some his legislative priorities passed ... with smaller GOP majorities in the Senate? While recognizing that Obama has been in office for just 11 months, and that the Medicare prescription-drug fight had nearly the amount of drama this current battle has, perhaps here's an answer to Aravosis: Democrats actually voted with the Republicans. After all, Ted Kennedy worked with Bush on No Child Left Behind, and numerous Dems backed the tax cuts. By nature, are some Democrats just more willing to want to cut a deal than their current GOP counterparts are?

Did Democrats under Bush give Republicans an easier time in Congress?

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