I really don't have a problem with the stunt Senate Republicans pulled yesterday by refusing to give unanimous consent to allow hearings to continue after 2:00. It's a matter of consistency for me.

There were a number of times when Democrats were in the minority in the Senate when I wished they would do the same thing to oppose legislation. Just off the top of my head--some of the Bush tax cuts, the expansion of the war in Iraq, after the Gang of 14 allowed some egregious choices to make it to the federal bench and the filibuster was threatened (a position I came around on not long after that). And of course, I've been in favor of making Senators who threaten to filibuster actually make good on it, rather than do the fakey version we have today. The ability to slow down government deliberation is a good one to have at times, and what I and others may see as petulance, others may look at as a necessary action to slow down harmful legislation. It's all a matter of perspective.

Which is not to say I agree with the current Republican obstructionism. Critics of it are correct when they say it's the equivalent of a temper tantrum from a spoiled child. The most obvious reaction to Sen. McCain's threat that Republicans were going to refuse to help after health care reform passed was, after all, "so what's different now?" But I do understand where it comes from, because there have been times when I pleaded with my own Senators to engage in those types of tactics.

I'll be surprised if it lasts--there are too many ways for Democrats to create a backlash against it, and this health care win seems to have provided them with a feistiness they're often accused of lacking. And then things will return to normal, until the next major legislation comes up for a vote, and we'll get to hear how this is the WORST THING EVER!!!! and how Democrats will lose more seats than actually exist unless they immediately cave in to every demand the Republicans make. And so on.

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