One of “the-lie-is-more-compelling-than-the-truth” stories routinely advanced by the news media is the notion that increased partisanship infects the body politic of Republicans and Democrats alike. Under this view, uncritically advanced on major news networks, is the notion that the current ideological polarization between the Republican and Democratic parties has grown massively over the past decades (TRUE) but that both political parties are equally to blame for it (FALSE).
Perhaps the best rebuttal of this premise is the work of political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson (Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy). What they demonstrate quite clearly is that Republicans – far from eliciting broad public support for their actions – have managed to eke out victories on issue after issue – when Americans views of their actions range from dubious (see http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5033567) to downright hostile. That rebuttal of the Republican thesis had been recently underscored by Republicans like Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute in his book (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lets-just-say-it-the-republicans-are-the-problem/2012/04/27/gIQAxCVUlT_story.html ). Their point: the Republican Party has become an insurgent outlier in American politics, “unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science.”