Yes, every situation in Washington, no matter how seemingly trivial, does evolve into a fight. Just look at the recent fight over a couple of billion dollars worth of pork in the recent Hurricane Sandy relief bill.
Yes, both parties do continually refer to hurtful events in the past. The Robert Bork hearings, the Justice Thomas confirmation, President Clinton’s impeachment, the Bush tax hikes, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Obamacare, etc., etc. Not an hour goes by in Washington without both parties dredging up past partisan fights.
The art of compromise? Gone. Forging a path together that is acceptable to both? Hasn’t happened in at least a decade. And shared “moral, ethical, or lifestyle values?” Not anymore.
According to Pew, the gap in political values between Republicans and Democrats has never been higher and has grown worse than the gaps between other groups. Since 1987, Pew has annually asked Americans 48 values-based questions (e.g. “Do you think that most poor people in the United States are people who work but can’t earn enough money, or people who don’t work?”).