Over the past century, DW-Nominate has revealed a steady increase in congressional polarization. Democrats have moved to the left, while Republicans have moved to the right. But Republicans have moved a lot farther than Democrats.But that is bullshit. Yes, the parties have become more polarized, but not because one is moving right and the other left. Both parties are moving right, and the perfect example is the health care reform. All the Democrats coming together and voting for it, while all Republicans vote against is a sign of how polarized the parties are.
This was a GOP/conservative think tank developed policy. It was the conservative solution for universal health care. Democrats hated this 20 years ago, so the mere fact that they now ALL voted for it is a sign that they have moved RIGHT, not left. It is also an impressive sign of just how polarized the parties are that zero Repubs will vote for their own fucking policy just because it is being brought up under Democratic control!
Both parties have moved right on policy. From a left-right, policy stand point Obama is more conservative than Nixon. But on that chart, which deals with polarization, he looks far, far more liberal. This wrong-headed conflation of left-right politics and party polarization problematic...
The Dems move right to capture more support from "moderate republicans" and the Repubs to further differentiate themselves from Democrats. But the public will generally consider Dems to be liberal and Repubs to be conservative, so their movement actually skews left vs. right in the minds of most [voters].
This makes legit policy discussion virtually meaningless since people will just assume that how liberal/conservative something is can just be determined by who votes for it. This then makes any notion of compromise nearly impossible, since GOPers don't want voters to think they are liberal, they have zero motivation to vote for anything that will happen with Democrats in control...even if it is something that people (their constituents) will like!