In fact, both impulses share the same flaw: too little emphasis on doing what is right.
Writing in the Washington Post last week, Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann blasted Republicans, who they dub "the problem" in America, calling GOP legislators "ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition." Conceding that the GOP is often awful, consider the shortcomings of the centrist bipartisanship the authors recommend.
"Democrats were not exactly warm and fuzzy toward George W. Bush during his presidency," they write. "But recall that they worked hand in glove with the Republican president on the No Child Left Behind Act, provided crucial votes in the Senate for his tax cuts, joined with Republicans for all the steps taken after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and supplied the key votes for the Bush administration's financial bailout at the height of the economic crisis in 2008. The difference is striking."
What strikes me about that list is how much better off America would be if the Democrats had refused to help pass No Child Left Behind and its counterproductive regime of standardized tests; if they'd opposed deficit-exploding tax cuts while America financed two wars with borrowed money; if they'd opposed the civil liberties-infringing parts of the Patriot Act; and if they'd at minimum made bailout money contingent on the immediate end of "too big to fail" banks. Why should Democrats be credited with helping a bad president from the other party to pass wrongheaded policies that most people in their own party correctly regard as having made us worse off?