Here’s a question. Did it occur to you — when Mr. Obama moved into the White House — that Republicans would simply grind governance to a halt? Hats off to you if you saw that coming. You are a political genius, a seer and a prophet.
It never occurred to me.
And to my even greater discredit, if anyone had asked me (no one did, of course) would GOP obstruction — injurious as it is to the American people — backfire? I would have said, how could it not? How could a party engage in straight-out obstructionism for two, or four, or six years and not pay a penalty with voters?
Well, the results are in. I was wrong. The Republicans are not at all popular, but they certainly did win. Their hand is stronger than ever. There was no penalty for six years of obstructionism.
Mitch McConnell, the new leader in the Senate, is now seen as an “effective strategist” for using all the levers of obstruction in the Senate. Sure, it’s bad for America when we can’t even fix roads and bridges (!?!), but it was part of a winning “strategy”. Of course, so was redistricting. Yes… again… bad for voters, but good for the GOP. (Let’s say hello to Glenn Grothman, Wisconsin’s kooky new GOP Congressman, replacing old-school GOP conserva-moderate, Tom Petri. Grothman didn’t even need to campaign; the district was that rigged to elect the Republican.)
To be sure, none of this is transformative. The government hasn’t worked properly for ordinary citizens in 35 years, and now in these mid-term elections we have gone even a few steps further in a wrong direction. But, in perspective, it’s just another few steps… you know, in a long journey.
Having demonstrated that pure obstruction “works” (for partisan ends, not the general public), will the Republicans now abandon it… or dial it back even slightly? Why in the world would that happen?
President Obama has said today that he will — tomorrow evening — unveil a series of executive actions on immigration policy. A predictable chorus of Republican drama queens, having for six years deliberately failed to address immigration issues, will now fall on their fainting couches, wailing that
a dangerous dictator the President is forcing them into a strategy of obstruction, which they were just about to stop doing, you know, until THIS happened… and now blah blah blah they have no other choice.