We're learning that the minority still controls the Senate. So long as Republicans fundamentally don't want a bill to pass, they can make virtually limitless demands. The worst that happens is that Democrats simply give up and admit failure to the American people. Put another way: The worst that happens is overwhelming success. The trick is making sure the demands seem reasonable rather than obstructionist. But that's not too hard. Republicans know full well that they won't actually be forced to publicly filibuster the bill and defend their obstructionism while Democrats fan out across the news shows to warn of the economic dangers. Instead, Harry Reid will ask how the bill can be made smaller and leaner and more Republican. And maybe, for this, he'll get the crucial two votes assuring passage of an insufficient measure, the failure of which Republicans will run against in 2010.I still don't understand why the minority party is allowed to stop legislation through the threat of a filibuster. Or why, as Nancy Pelosi put it, 60 is the new 50. An actual filibuster (against a popular piece of legislation) requires a great deal of work to pull off and risks making the Republicans look even more outside the mainstream than they currently look. Yet the Democrats are trying to accommodate Republicans without forcing the GOP to embarrass itself. I do not get this.
The Republicans have a pair of threes and they're playing like they have a straight flush. The Democrats are doing the exact opposite.