Bend It Like Boehner
Greg Sargent makes an important observation:
That's damn clever -- as nakedly obstructionist a move as you could dream up. And it's not the first time, either. As Think Progress notes, Republicans have repeatedly used sex-related amendments to cause the gears of government to seize up.
It couldn't be more obvious what the intent of these moves is. Yet is there any evidence voters care? Dems have spent the past year highlighting this kind of stuff. And polls show that voters agree that Republicans are not interested in good faith cooperation with Obama and Dems.
Yet there's no evidence that there's any correlation between this and the political fortunes of the parties. Polls show that Dems hold a small edge at best over the GOP in the generic ballot matchup -- even though Republicans have far lower favorability ratings.
Just as voters don't care about bipartisanship for its own sake, it seems likely that they just tune out the constant railing about GOP obstruction as so much Beltway white noise. Perhaps it only encourages a sense that Washington is dysfunctional, souring voters even more on government -- and on both parties, including the one that's running the place.
It's a sad but true fact about American culture that winning isn't everything, it's the only thing.
I've told the story before about sitting despondently in my front yard on the morning after the Supreme Court stopped the vote in Florida chatting with my neighbor about how shockingly undemocratic it was and wondering whether or not people would accept Bush as president. He shrugged and said that most people probably secretly respect him more for having gotten away with it. That was way too cynical for me at the time. Now, not so much. All you have to do is watch one of the ubiquitous reality show competitions (or Wall Street) to see that bending the rules is considered the smart move.
And while it's true that Republicans whine all the time about Democrats breaking the rules, they do it with a smirk and a wink thereby letting everyone know they are the ones gaming the system. (Do you think they really cared that someone called General Petraeus, General Betrayus? --- And doesn't that seem quaint at this point considering the current level of discourse?)
The Democrats should just eliminate the filibuster and let the Republicans howl. The teabaggers will have a mass aneurysm, of course, babble about revolution and say black helicopters are coming to take the babies away to FEMA camps, but so what? They do that when Obama attends the White House egg rolling ceremony. The Dems should be far less afraid to have that fight than to be seen whining about how the Republicans aren't playing fair. That's the main thing people like about them. It shows they are winners.