Most Obstructionists Don’t Hate America
I don’t think it’s fair to conflate persistent obstructionism with being devoid of ideas. Basically all major leftist public figures, not to mention a good number of libertarian and conservative ones, having been throwing around phrases such as “complete obstructionist nature of Republicans ” or “Republicans with no intention of solving any problems” (quotes lifted from the SEIU’s Andy Stern in this particular case), and it’s clear that they’re trying to find ways to say “support Democrats regardless of what they propose, because at least they have ideas.”
To be sure, the GOP doesn’t want to hand Congressional Democrats or the Obama administration anything resembling a legislative victory that they could campaign on in the next election. Their obstructionism is absolutely a unified political strategy. It’s also worth noting that in this climate it’s politically safer for a Congressional Republican who only agrees with 40% of a bill to vote against it, because right now the media is reporting on the GOP as a monolithic bloc whereas they’re writing long stories about the individual Democratic senators who are basically selling their votes.
But I disagree with the more general insinuation that a strategy of obstructionism is only pursued by people who have no interest in improving America. The problem is that in this climate and for the issues currently on the table, the Overton window of political possibility has shifted away from more universally palatable ideas. The GOP saw this firsthand when they did present a rival healthcare plan and were roundly laughed out of the room. It’s a PR challenge, but not necessarily an intellectual or moral deficiency, to respond by attempting to hold the line until the political climate turns more favorable.
By the way, I do not mean to in any way suggest that I agree with the GOP’s healthcare plan, or that Republicans would actually focus on palatable ideas were they to return to the majority. Most likely they’d find some dumbassness of their own to propose. I’m simply saying that as a general rule, I think it takes a pretty narrow mind to claim that the absence of a politically feasable alternate plan, and the subsequent decision to be obstructionist, represent either a willful desire to be unproductive or an absence of legitimate ideas.