For the last few decades, at least, the modus operandi of the Republican Party has been to seek every advantage in order to use power to its fullest, most extreme extent. Yeah, sure, both parties exist as a way to consolidate power, but the Democrats have, since at least FDR, had tempering elements within its ranks (we on the left call them "assholes" or "Lieber-men"). However, the Republican approach to power has been to rape and pillage, to slash and burn, to kill 'em all and let God sort it out. From the impeachment of Bill Clinton to the Iraq war to the expansion of presidential authoritah, for the GOP, power exists to be used. No, not "used." How about "wielded like a medieval cudgel"?
To take it further, Republicans are a troop of sweaty, paranoid psychopaths handed loaded AK-47s and told to wait to fire until they see the whites of the enemies' eyes. What's that psychopath gonna do? Be patient? Hell, no. He's gonna wildly shoot up shit, not giving a happy monkey fuck what gets blown away in the process - the enemy, the farm animals, his own fellow troops. What's it matter when he's got a machine gun and he wants to fire and feel the pulse and heat of power in his hands?
Right now, while running a long con on the American people (more on that in a sec), congressional Republicans have completely upended the actual running of the government through their extraordinary abuse of the rules of the Senate. For instance, there's 420 bills passed by the House that are now awaiting passage in the Senate. It's like the Senate has become the plaque build-up in the arteries of democracy, the constipated colon of America. In their crazed embargo on progress, the GOP Senators have behaved like a douchebag junior executive who's told he can use a company car for personal reasons and then takes one for a joyride across the country with his douchebag friends. Yeah, it was within the rules, but when accounting sees this, it's probably gonna fuck up the privilege for everyone who wasn't a jerk-off about it. But, hey, d-bag won't get his rocks off again, either. He fucked himself.
So now Republicans, who have made the filibuster, once a measure of last resort, into the way the Senate runs, are saying that they won't be able to pass things if they have the majority because they need 60 votes. As John Aravosis points out, um, no, you only need 50 votes to pass a bill. But because they themselves fucked the process like a horny farm boy with a dying donkey, they're expecting a fucking in return. Oh, noble Republicans, fear not. Because you'd be dealing with Democrats, and we crumble and shit ourselves at a whispered "boo." (What? "Buck up"? Why don't you go buck yourself.)
If the Republicans take back the House and (in a Democratic doomsday scenario) the Senate, history will show that it was because of one of the great con jobs ever played in politics. For what is the current political zeitgeist but the result of one long game of three-card monte played for the rubes who actually think they'll know where the queen is? The con is this: Republicans and their media allies have convinced too many voters that Democrats have either accomplished nothing or have only accomplished things that will hurt them. They have done so despite the facts that: 1. a great deal has been accomplished; 2. what hasn't been accomplished is due almost entirely to Republican obstructionism; and 3. what's been passed has been watered down in order to appease Republicans and some of the asshole Democrats. The greatest part of it? That the GOP's refusal to govern is them standing up for "American" values, which, if you think about it, is about right.
In other words, Republicans use extremist tactics and extremist rhetoric (for, truly, there's not a single thing passed in this Congress that even approaches "socialism"), and, if those fail, they lie outright. And in doing so, they make their mostly reasonable, way-too acquiescent opponents seem like despicable fuckbags who want America to become part Mexico/part Sharialand. That's an awesome con job: shutdown the functioning of part of the government through procedural chicanery that most people won't give a damn about (A hold? What the fuck is that? We don't have time for civics classes anymore) and blame the majority, which is easy to understand: "Oh, Democrats in power. Democrats must naturally suck."
The frustrating part is that, even if polls now show some tightening in races, it's worked. The con job has been successful. The ultimate plan of the GOP is to make governing in DC so impossible, so untenable, that it ceases to function except on the limited terms of a savage conservatism. And we're making it possible. The whiplash-inducing fickleness of the American electorate is part and parcel of a people who are deluded with their sense of individual self-worth and entitlement. Those who bitch about President Obama's lack of bipartisanship are idiots. Obama gave the Republicans a Marshall Plan of political cover after their devastation in 2008. And, like Germany before it, they used it to grow powerful again.
Now, we get Republicans who are pretending to behave honorably. Olympia Snowe said yesterday, "Frankly we haven't done our jobs well here in Washington and that disturbs me. There's all this partisanship and polarization, and ultimately it yields two outcomes: either scorched-earth victory for one side or political stagnation." No shit. And who was it that negotiated in bad faith over the health care bill? Oh, yeah. Olympia Snowe.
You can't unfuck something that you've fucked. Republicans have paid almost no long-term price for the Caligula-like madness of the Bush administration. There's a chance that, now, two-years later, they're gonna get rewarded for refusing to participate in running the country. It's like setting free an arsonist after you've started to rebuild the house and telling him, "Oh, and here's those matches we took from you. Sorry for the inconvenience."
Coming soon: Yeah? So what are you gonna do about it?