I wanted to write something in regards to something else on another website that had me thinking. A commenter, in response to something I had written, asked how the Republican party was being obstructionist if they are a superminority in both houses of Congress, and that I, as well as other Democrats, should stop "whining" about the "powerless oposition."
First, I would like to point out that I am not a Democrat, but am a Republican, as I have been for over the past 10 years. The reason why I believe the powerless Republican party to be obstructionist is mainly because of their desire for bipartisanship, but at the same time refuse to participate on any type of legislation with the Democrats, primarily health care reform. While Democrats had held large "super"-majorities in both houses, there was a call for working across the aisle by President Obama, in an attempt to operate outside the Washington norm. While the Democrats presented a bill, the Republicans refused to offer a counterpoint, and instead, they attacked the legislation as not being bipartisan, when they had prevented the legislation from ever getting that far. Conservatives had then attacked Congressional policy, building up a belief in America that Democrats required a "super-majority" to pass any legislation, and in order to do so, would need either every Democratic senator to vote on the bill or to get other parties to consent, but the Republicans had also solidified their ranks in opposing any legislation. Therefore, this "powerless oposition" successfully convinced the media and the public to believe that Democrats needed the sixty votes, and now with Scott Brown in office, the Republicans believe they have the power to filibuster, which would then obstruct the continuance of the legislative process, which I would safely assume they would try to prolong until midterm elections, so that Republicans may be able to gain seats in both chambers. The Republicans have also attacked use of the procedure known as reconciliation, as a tool to get around the super-majority "requirement," and in essence bypassing the bipartisanship the GOP loves to simultaneously desire and avoid at all costs.