From Deseret News:

“The Senate is a very collegial place both within and between the two parties,” said James Wallner, a senior fellow at R Street Institute and scholar on the Senate and legislative procedure. “The only time I’ve ever seen a lack of collegiality has been when you have senators who are perceived to be undermining individual members’ electoral viability. And Mitt Romney doesn’t appear to be doing that.”

Wallner, who is skeptical McConnell will let the Senate get anything done in an election year, said a person like Romney voting against the majority position illustrates what he believes is broken in the Senate and how to fix it.

He said deliberations over big issues usually take place behind closed doors where members are lobbied and persuaded to get in line and not exhibit their differences in open debate where they can be held accountable by their constituents.

“By voting no in a very high-profile setting like that and being the only Republican to do so, it shows Romney saying, ‘I am the one who casts my vote, no one else, and I am willing to be held accountable for that decision,” Wallner said. “That is a very, very important thing and I think too many senators don’t do that.”

Another exception to voting the party line is sometimes Lee, who is often among one or two votes against measures that he feels cede too much power to the executive branch. His recent blowup over the administration’s unwillingness to be questioned, behind closed doors, about the killing of an Iranian military leader illustrated his own penchant for stepping out on issues he’s passionate about.

“I think Utah is very lucky to have two senators, regardless of their specific positions, who are willing to put themselves out there and are OK with allowing their constituents to hold them accountable,” Wallner said. “I think it’s very impressive.“

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