Rush Limbaugh might have popularized the term "borked," meaning someone denied their fair due. On the May 21, 2010, Real Time broadcast, Bill Maher suggests the bad blood and anger between the parties can in large part be traced to the denial of confirmation to Ronald Regan Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.
Maher, who was high school age at the time of Watergate, might have missed the big reason Bork did not get confirmed.
There were unanswered questions about the Watergate break in, and prior to congressional hearings, Special Watergate Prosecutor, Archibald Cox, put a bur under Nixon's saddle, so much so that Nixon wanted Cox fired, which he could do as the investigation was being conducted under the authority of the Attorney General, Elliot Richardson. So Nixon told Richardson that Cox had to go, but Richardson refused and offered his resignation rather than go through with it.
Nixon accepted the resignation, to put it politely, and ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox. Ruckelshaus refused and resigned. Finally Nixon went to Robert Bork, the Solicitor General, who complied.
These were not Democrats that bucked Nixon; these were the President's men.
If anything, Bork was borked when he followed orders. Perhaps if he had been the Attorney General at the outset and fired Cox, it would have been unpopular, but it might have been forgotten, but given Richardson's and Ruckelshaus' stance, made Bork look anything but sterling.
But I say that the bad blood goes further back -- it helps to be old enough to remember the 1960s as something first-person, rather than something in a history book.
The real problem is that the 1960 election was stolen by the Democrats when the Chicago machine under John Daley manufactured enough votes to tip the state and give John F. Kennedy the White House. Nixon did not contest it, later accusation of Nixon being a "crybaby," notwithstanding.
The idea of dirty tricks really harks back to the dirtiest of tricks in those Chicago election returns. The dogged examinations of chads in Florida is a legacy of that election as is much of the Republican distrust of the Democrats ... and if they stole the 2000 election, at worst it was only getting even; at best it was a preemptive move to keep the Democrats from pulling another 1960.
Bork was borked when he fired Cox.
The bad blood goes back quit a way, and from those wounds and bitterness, much of what we see in politics today, at least in part flows back to the election of 1960.