In the 1920s, Republicans held a wide range of views on economic issues, with both progressives like Robert La Follette — who favored railroad nationalization and was endorsed by the Socialist Party of America when he ran for president — and free-market conservatives like Calvin Coolidge within the GOP fold. Then both parties grew more unified during the Depression, and then more diverse again after World War II. Since the 1960s, both parties have grown more unified, but Senate Democrats more so. So what does the House look like?
The parties diverge less here, but the story of parties — especially Democrats — growing more ideologically diverse after World War II and then more homogenous from the 1960s on out is still in view. Steve Smith — the WashU professor who gave me his data on this — cautions that the metrics are less useful the farther back you go, so let's just look at data since 1947. The blue lines are Democrats, red Republicans, dashed lines the House, and solid lines the Senate:
In recent years, the trend has been for Democrats — especially in the Senate – to grow more unified as the Republicans largely stay the same. A large part of this is likely the exit of Southern Democrats from the coalition, meaning many conservatives left the Democratic fold, but in the House the Democratic convergence continued well into the 1990s and 2000s. All of which suggests that, contrary to popular belief, Democrats aren't actually worse at party discipline, and aren't more ideologically varied, than Republicans. If anything, in recent years they're grown more ideologically coherent than the Republicans.
In you case you missed it: in 2009, House Democrats and Republicans voted with their parties an average of 93 and 91 percent of the time, respectively. In the Senate, it's 93 percent and 89 percent. The parties, in short, are extremely unified, to an unprecedented degree.