BOSTON (CBS) – It’s one of the biggest political clichés there is, a common phrase fed-up voters tell pollsters when expressing their frustration with Congress – we just want them to work together to get things done.
And the abysmal approval ratings for Congress show voters aren’t getting what they want.
So why do we keep voting in people who are relentlessly partisan?
The Lugar Center, a Washington think tank, puts out an annual bipartisan index that measures the frequency with which members of Congress co-sponsor a bill or attract co-sponsors for their bills across party lines, a sign, they argue, of efforts to “prioritize governance over posturing.”
And our Massachusetts delegation does not do well.
In the Senate, Elizabeth Warren ranked 88th among the 100 members, and Ed Markey ranked 92nd. At the very bottom of the rankings, for context – Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders, perhaps the Senate’s most outspoken ideologues.
Things are a bit better in the House, where rankings range from the relative bi-partisanship of Seth Moulton at number 34, and Joe Kennedy at 119. But Bill Keating, Michael Capuano and Jim McGovern are well down in the 200s.
We live in contentious, polarized times, no question. But these scores predate the inauguration of President Trump. This can’t be blamed on him. It’s business as usual.
And remember, these rankings aren’t based on the way they voted, but on their failure to build working coalitions across party lines.
They might argue the other side is so irrational, they simply can’t find dance partners, but others seem to manage. That’s why a bad score here should be seen as bad news for the scorer.