Democrats must give GOP a taste of its own medicine
There are two very predictable consequences of this year’s national election: first, it is most likely that the Republican leadership, after eight years of employing ardent and unprecedented obstructionist tactics in both the House and Senate, will suddenly become “sincere” advocates for cooperation in legislative matters; and second, that the Republicans will not lead by example, but instead will continue to block President Obama’s March nomination of Merrick B. Garland to the Supreme Court.
Given the likely continuation of this refusal by the Republican Party, it behooves the Democrats to spend the next four years obstructing one bill after another and all judicial appointments made by President-elect Donald Trump. After all, while voters claimed to be disgusted with their Washington government’s malfunctioning, they have in fact returned to office the very obstructionists they voiced discontent with.
There is a lesson here: The Republicans have greatly benefited from this very aggressive legislative tactic; if the Democrats choose not to reciprocate, they will lose any chance of influencing our national policies.
There presently exists a small window of opportunity for the Republicans to signal their sincerity about ushering in a new era of national legislative cooperation. They could immediately hold hearings on the Garland nomination. Barring this act of common respect for a sitting president and the Supreme Court, we will have a crystal clear demonstration that the Republican leadership only values “cooperation” if it means that the Democrats give them whatever they demand.
It is time for the Democratic Party to counter obstructionism with obstructionism. One cannot choose one’s opponent, but one can engage him on equal terms. Congress is no longer an idealized arena where polite logical persuasion can win the day. Only realistic tactics can possibly be effective in this hard-core obstructionist political arena.