It all depends on what the issue is. And when it comes to cracking down on civil liberties under the excuse of fighting terrorism, bipartisan comity breaks out all over the place and a government in gridlock suddenly finds an open lane to move quickly.
The latest example of this is the rapid action on renewing the warrantless wiretapping provisions of the 2008 legislation that were due to expire at the end of last year. As Adam Serwer writes:
There’s nothing like a debate over warrantless wiretapping to clarify how the two parties really feel about government. On Friday, the Senate voted to reauthorize the government’s warrantless surveillance program, with hawkish Democrats joining with Republicans to block every effort to curtail the government’s sweeping spying powers.
As the Senate debated the renewal of the government’s warrantless wiretapping powers on Thursday, Republicans who have accused President Barack Obama of covering up his involvement in the death of an American ambassador urged that his administration be given sweeping spying powers. Democrats who accused George W. Bush of shredding the Constitution with warrantless wiretapping four years ago sung a different tune this week, with the administration itself quietly urging passage of the surveillance bill with no changes, and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) accusing her Democratic colleagues of not understanding the threat of terrorism.
President Obama quietly signed the legislation on December 30, 2012, while the media was obsessing about the fiscal cliff, after he and Feinstein resolutely blocked all attempts to provide even minimal safeguards to prevent abuse and protect individual privacy.
When it comes to creating a national security state, most of the people in congress sing the same tune, regardless of party affiliation.