The Lugar Center, founded by former Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) is a “platform for informed debate on global issues.” The Center recently published its Bipartisan Index which ranks each member of Congress on his or her ability to work with colleagues from across the aisle. The report uses bill sponsorship and co-sponsorship data rather than a subjective methodology.
Some will challenge the methodology because it does not account for the substance of a bills. It is far easier to co-sponsor with a colleague from the opposing party a bill that, say, honors veterans than one that proposes reforms to social security. Senator Lugar freely acknowledges this in his introduction to the report.
Even so, we believe the Bipartisan Index adds great value. It names names, effectively praising (and reinforcing the behavior of) those who practice bipartisanship and dinging those who don’t. In so doing, it raises awareness in a tangible way to the need for our leaders to improve their ability to govern, not just posture.