We’re always begging for bipartisanship, but, sometimes, it’s not what it’s cracked up to be.

On Wednesday, for example, 182 Democrats and 48 Republicans got together in the U.S. House of Representatives and killed a bill that would have avoided a government shutdown and provided desperately needed assistance to areas of the country hit hard to by recent weather disasters.

So, members of the two major political parties, voting the same way for different reasons, deftly turned the admirable concept of “bipartisanship” into a recipe for gridlock.

Ironic, you say? How about this for irony: Republicans who voted against the bill didn’t like it because it spent too much money; Democrats voted no because it didn’t spend enough.

No wonder Congress can’t get anything done.

The bill at issue was a “continuing resolution” that would have appropriated money to keep the federal government in business through mid-November. The resolution was needed because Congress hasn’t adopted a budget for the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Sound familiar? Of course it does. We went through this government-shutdown song and dance just last April, before an 11th-hour compromise produced a budget agreement that kept the feds’ lights on and the government checks flowing.

House Republicans finally passed a bill in the wee hours Friday that would have financed government operations though Nov. 18 and provided more than $3.6 billion for disaster relief, but the Senate tabled it Friday afternoon and has scheduled a vote on an amended version for 5:30 p.m. Monday.

That action meant there would be no last-minute bargain heading into the weekend, even though both houses of Congress were scheduled to begin a weeklong recess. As we conjured up this editorial on Friday afternoon, there was no word on whether the House would convene next week to take up the Senate’s amended bill.

If April’s experience was any predictor, and you’d think it would be, it seems safe to guess that at some point the House and Senate will strike a deal to help disaster victims and avert a government-shutdown crisis — until the next government-shutdown crisis.

And, it seems painfully certain, there will always be a next one.

This is how most of our elected representatives now choose to “lead” — by recklessly lurching from one crisis to the next, by constantly taking us to the brink of financial and political disaster, by cavalierly subjecting the people they are paid to serve to repeated episodes of uncertainty and fear. And all the while, the economy languishes, the unemployment lines lengthen, the rumblings of discontent intensify.

How long can politicians behave this way before the country says, “We’ve had enough”?

There are those who have gone so far as to predict that Americans’ frustration could one day boil over into violence in the streets; it has, after all, happened elsewhere.

We reject that view. The American people believe in our system of government and believe in this country’s resilience. We have weathered hard times before and we will weather them again.

But in the absence of significant ideas and legitimate solutions — neither major political party seems to have so much as a hunch for dealing with our problems — the least we can expect from our so-called leaders is some evidence of common purpose, some meager attempt at meaningful cooperation.

President Obama and leaders in Congress are clearly consumed by their desire for political advantage, to the exclusion of virtually any other concern and certainly to the exclusion of the their constituents’ best interests.

The spectacle of Obama playing politics with the critical issue of jobs and of his opponents refusing even to consider presidential proposals that anyone can see are worthwhile and achievable is discouraging, if not flat-out depressing. Why did we elect these people? What right do they have to behave this way and then ask us to vote for them again?

We can only hope that somehow a potential working majority of them will hear their collective conscience telling them to do the right thing, or at least decide that doing the right thing would serve their political interests.

The country needs help. We need leadership. We need it now.