The following article by Laura Clawson is cross-posted from Daily Kos:
The New York Times channels Senate Republicans to let us know: Thursday’s use of the nuclear option “could usher in an era of rank partisan warfare beyond even what Americans have seen in the past five years.” In translation, now that Republicans can’t obstruct quite as much in one of their favored ways, they’re going to find new ways to harm the function of the nation’s government.
Republicans, wounded and eager to show they have not been stripped of all power, are far more likely to unify against the Democrats who humiliated them in such dramatic fashion.
These are people who were arguing there should be fewer judges on the nation’s second most important court simply to prevent President Barack Obama from filling vacancies. Frankly, there’s not that much more they can unify against Democrats. Oh, sure, occasionally a few Republicans helped break the filibuster on legislation and now they might refuse to do the part of their jobs that involves passing laws–Sen. Susan Collins is making noises about how the nasty partisanship involved in preventing Republicans from keeping the judiciary desperately understaffed might cause her to take her ball and go home join in filibusters of things like the Violence Against Women Act.
That’s the story: Republicans are committed to obstruction and to destruction of the government’s function. One tool of obstruction has been taken from them, so they’re going to wield the others with more fury–possibly even in cases where they think legislation like VAWA is necessary. But that’s not about Democrats somehow ushering in a new age of partisanship. It’s about Democrats forcing Republicans to shift tactics in the age of Republican extremism we’re already living through.