OpenLeft has a great post about how Obama’s quest for bi-partisanship played into the hands of the GOP’s obstruction strategy. (A tip to Daly Kos) Check out the links where Sen. Enzi admits that his purpose in being part of the group of six Senators was simply to slow the process to ultimately prevent passage and Grassley’s admission that even if he got all he wanted from the negotiations, he would have voted against the bill.
But most important is the strategic argument Chris Bowers makes: People don’t care about process. Most don’t know what a filibuster is. All they want is results. If they like the results the party delivers, then the party will be rewarded. But how you get there doesn’t really matter.
The country never cared about political theater. As such, putting political theater–aka, making a show of reaching out to Republicans because you know they will reject you–at the center of your strategy was bound to fail. All it did was delay, water down, and block important legislation that could have made people’s lives better. Had Democrats instead made using whatever political process they could to make people’s lives better the center of their strategy, they would be a lot better off politically right now.