We're hearing a lot of "bipartisanship" talk from incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Understandably, they want to send a signal to the public that they are actually interested in governing and delivering for the public.
But they must know full well that there ain't going to be much compromising with this lot of right-wing Republicans.
Unless they're planning on a lot of caving in to conservatives, they may be setting false expectations with the public.
When problems don't get solved, they may be seen as failing to clear the bar they are setting for themselves.
How to avoid this problem?
Start talking about "principled bipartisanship."
Start making clear that they are willing to work across the aisle, but only to forge agreements in line with core Democratic principles shared by most Americans.
(Which I define in Wait! Don't Move To Canada! as representative, responsive, responsible government and fair, adequate taxation.)
That way, which those deals don't materialize, the public will recognize who was fighting for them and who wasn't.
That will help lay the groundwork for 2008, making the case that a Democratic president is needed for the public to finally, truly get their government back.
Furthermore, rallying public opinion around a set of core principles will also help keep right-leaning Dems in line, making it politically risky to sell out their party and its principles.