Today is a day that will live in legislative infamy. Conservatives in the U.S. Senate set a modern day record for obstruction, forcing the 62nd cloture vote to move beyond a filibuster -- breaking the record for a two-year congressional session with a full year to spare.
To mark the day, Campaign for America's Future released a new report on the conservative "Block and Blame" strategy, detailing the year's cavalcade of obstruction. The report reminds us of Sen. Trent Lott's all-too-candid words from April, "The strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail ... and so far it's working for us."
It's certainly true, if not terribly insightful, that obstructionism can either work or fail.
When it works, it's because you obstructed things that voters didn't want in the first place -- like privatizing Social Security.
When it fails, it's because you obstructed things that voters want their government to do.
What have conservatives obstructed this year? Here's just a partial list:
-- Ending the disastrous occupation of Iraq.
-- Providing health insurance to millions more kids.
-- Empowering Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices.
-- Taking away handouts to Big Oil so we can invest in renewable energy.
-- Repealing the effective ban on embryonic stem cell research.
-- Investing more in health research.
-- Making it easier for workers to join unions.
-- Investing more in fighting poverty and training workers.
Is obstructing all of that popular legislation "working" for Republicans?
Here's the approval rating for congressional Republicans this month:
-- According to USA Today/Gallup: 26%.
-- According to ABC/W. Post: 32%
-- According to the Harris poll: 23%
Yes, the rating for Democrats is not great either.
But it's higher than the Republicans in two of the three polls -- USA Today/Gallup says 30% and ABC/W. Post says 40%.
And considering that all of the above initiatives boast majority support from the public, clearly the frustration with Democrats is not what they're fighting for, but how hard they're fighting.
That doesn't translate into any additional support for the conservative obstructionists.
The only hope the obstructionists have is for the media to fail to inform the voters what is being obstructed.
And since we know we can't rely on the media to tell the full story, it's up to us to spread the word.
A slightly different version of this post was published earlier at the Campaign for America's Future blog.