Health Care Overhaul: Is Bipartisanship Dead?

But even incorporation of political ideas from both sides of the aisle seems increasingly challenged by party leaders, who often urge their members to adhere strictly to doctrine.

On ABC News' "Top Line" last week, Republican Party chairman Michael Steele issued a warning to Republicans who may consider supporting Democrats' health care bill: "You do not want to put yourself in a position where you're crossing that line on conservative principles, fiscal principles, because we'll come after you," he said.

Democratic leaders have appeared equally entrenched at times. Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the president, told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that Democrats have listened to Republicans' ideas but there are no guarantees they'll compromise.

"[Obama] has reached out," she said on "This Week" Nov. 1. "He has listened. He has reached across the aisle ... [but] that doesn't mean that you actually have to change what you think is in the best interests of the American people simply to get a Republican vote."

Climate Change Legislation: Hope for Bipartisanship?

What's now missing in the health care debate is a pair of strong political leaders to bridge the divide, people such as former senators Bob Dole and Tom Daschle, Grumet of the Bipartisan Policy Center said, who "had moments of significant partisan debate but always found the ability to work together.

"What doesn't work is to show up with a several hundred page bill and say, 'What tweaks do I need to make to get your vote,'" Grumet told ABC News. "I do think that there's going to have to be a decision among Democrats that it is desirable to bring Republicans in at the front end to craft the architecture of these bills."

Grumet said he sees hope for bipartisanship's return to Washington in the early stages of the climate change debate, where Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, the independent Democrat from Connecticut, have recently expressed a desire to collectively start the bipartisan process anew.

ABC News' Teddy Davis and Rick Klein contributed to this report.

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