WHAT IS LINDSEY GRAHAM WHINING ABOUT?…. It’s nearing its completion, but the health care reform process has obviously been difficult to watch for much of the year. Whether one was pleased or not with the outcome, those who take the integrity of political discourse and the policymaking process should be able to agree that congressional Republicans did not put their best foot forward.

It’s largely indisputable. GOP lawmakers decided early on, by their own admission, that they would not cooperate with the Democratic majority. As the process dragged on, Republicans ignored attempts at Democratic outreach, forced needless delays, refused to negotiate in good faith, and lied with reckless abandon. Now that the Affordable Care Act is law, we see these same GOP officials playing petty games and even making excuses for their supporters’ criminal misconduct.

And now Republicans intend to punish the majority and shut down Congress’ lawmaking functions — because they don’t like the way Democrats behaved during the health care debate.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of the Democrats’ most likely potential allies on a range of legislation, said in an interview he would no longer work with the majority party on an immigration overhaul. He said because of the Democrats’ tactics in passing the package, the “well has been poisoned.”

Mr. Graham also has been working with Democrats on climate change, and that cooperation, too, appears in doubt. “Climate and energy are another heavy lift. We’ll see,” Mr. Graham said. “The consequences of health care being done this way are enormous to the body.” Mr. Graham’s initiatives would probably not have received significant Congressional attention this year in any case, but his posture signals one potential route for the party.

Look, if a far-right lawmaker doesn’t support immigration reform or a new energy bill, fine. That’s to be expected. But Graham is saying these initiatives are more likely to fail, with his help, because Republicans are in a vengeful and spiteful mood.

This is just insane. Democrats tried to work with Republicans on health care. Dems incorporated Republican ideas and amendments into the legislation, and even patterned the legislation after a moderate GOP proposal from the last reform fight. Substantively, Republicans described the public option and a Medicare buy-in as beyond the pale, and Dems scrapped both ideas. Procedurally, Republicans blasted the self-executing rule as inexcusable, and Dems scrapped that, too.

All the while, the majority practically begged Republicans to play a constructive role, negotiate in good faith, and make some concessions to meet Dems in the middle. They refused.

And now Graham (and McCain, and others) feel justified in throwing a tantrum, and intend to kill every other policy initiative, because they think Democrats were somehow big meanies during the health care debate?


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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.