Steve Benen is wondering what the Republicans are thinking with this petty nonsense over President Obama's Cabinet nominees.
Granted, Republicans aren't exactly in a position of power or leverage, and it's unreasonable to think the party will just roll over and let Democrats do as they please for the foreseeable future. But where's the strategy? Where's the evidence that the party has learned lessons following its electoral fiasco? Where's any indication at all that the Republican Party has changed, even a little?Well, I don't think the party has changed any. I think they're trying the same strategy they tried back in 1992 when they managed to get President Clinton to dump a couple of nominees because of crap objections. The difference is that this time it's not working, in part because Obama won such a clear victory and also because the Democrats have administered quite a junk kicking in Senate races in the last two cycles. Clinton's Democratic party was on the decline and the Republicans knew it, so they could go after Clinton's nominees without having to worry about the Democrats punching back too hard. And Clinton hadn't won a mandate election, so he had limited political capital to spend.
Now, it doesn't say much for the foresight of the Republican Senators who are trying to play the game with much less stroke--in fact, all it really tells us is that they are lacking in ideas and haven't yet gotten used to being in the minority again and how to effectively fight back. At the moment, it feels a lot like the Republicans are a little confused by the fact that the Democrats aren't caving on this stuff--I can understand, because it's a new experience for me as well.
But I don't think that this flailing will necessarily cost them in the next election cycle. By the time the next round comes, this petty nonsense will have faded and the Republicans will be on to some other petty nonsense which hopefully won't stick. And the cycle will continue.