Willing to take the risk

WILLING TO TAKE THE RISK…. Congressional Republicans decided quite a while ago to reject compromise at all costs and block the Democratic majority from governing. Sam Stein reported yesterday that some in the GOP are starting to second guess the strategy.

Some senior Republican strategists and party veterans are beginning to fret that the party’s refusal to work with President Obama, even when he crosses onto their own philosophical turf, could ultimately erode some of the political gains they’ve made this past year.

Over the past two weeks, Republicans in Congress have united in nearly unanimous opposition to a series of ideologically conservative policy suggestions, starting with a commission to reduce the deficit, a pay-go provision that would limit new expenditures, and a spending freeze on non-military programs.

Opposition has usually been based on specific policy concerns or complaints that the measures aren’t going far enough. But the message being sent is that the GOP’s sole mission is presidential destruction.

Now, some in the party are beginning to worry.

Well, sort of. Stein’s piece is solid, but it quotes former lawmakers and GOP strategists, not sitting Republican lawmakers. It’s one thing for party officials just outside the decision-making center to raise concerns; it’s something else when someone with actual power and direct influence shares those concerns.

And at this point, Republicans realize that they’re taking obstructionism to levels unprecedented in American history, and they realize that the public may disapprove, but they’re willing to take the risk.

Indeed, this week should have made this abundantly clear — Republican obstructionism has reached the level at which they oppose ideas they support.

I’m delighted that some in the GOP are “beginning to worry” about the reflexive, knee-jerk opposition to literally everything Democrats consider, but I’m at a loss as to how the majority is supposed to work constructively with a minority that would rather destroy the political process than approve its own proposals.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.