The always-effective pain-in-the-neck strategy

THE ALWAYS-EFFECTIVE PAIN-IN-THE-NECK STRATEGY…. Congressional Republicans forced a brief but unnecessary delay on Hillary Clinton’s nomination, and have forced additional delays on the confirmation of the next Attorney General and Treasury Secretary. Today we learned that another conservative Republican senator is standing in the way of EPA nominee Lisa Jackson and Council on Environmental Quality nominee Nancy Sutley.

David Kurtz wonders what the Republicans are thinking.

Think about it for a minute. This is the Republican Party circa 2009: pro-torture and pro-global warming. This is what they’re staking their claims on. And willing to obstruct a wildly popular new President in the midst of not just a national economic crisis, but a convergence of international crises of which economic collapse is just one.

That is, of course, true. Congressional Republicans don’t really have a strategy in mind — they know these confirmations are going to go through anyway — but they’re flailing around, demonstrating little more than their ability to be nuisances.

I’m curious, as far as the Republican Party’s leaders are concerned, has anything changed over the last few months? Put aside the notion of soul-searching and introspection, and consider if the GOP has made any effort to change its tactics or direction in any meaningful way. If so, I don’t see it.

Republicans have the smallest House minority in nearly two decades, the smallest Senate minority in nearly three decades, are now easily outnumbered in the nation’s governorships, and got trounced in the presidential race. In response to all of this, GOP leaders have decided to spend this critical period blocking some of the president’s cabinet selections for ridiculous reasons, and demanding still more tax cuts.

Granted, Republicans aren’t exactly in a position of power or leverage, and it’s unreasonable to think the party will just roll over and let Democrats do as they please for the foreseeable future. But where’s the strategy? Where’s the evidence that the party has learned lessons following its electoral fiasco? Where’s any indication at all that the Republican Party has changed, even a little?