What we've observed these past two years is a political party that knows nothing but scorched earth tactics, cannot begin to see any merits in the other party's arguments, refuses to compromise one inch on anything, and has sought from the very beginning to do nothing but destroy the Obama presidency. I see no other coherent message or strategy since 2008. Just opposition to everything, zero support for a president grappling with a recession their own party did much to precipitate, and facing a fiscal crisis the GOP alone made far worse with their spending in the Bush-Cheney years. There is not a scintilla of responsibility for their past; not a sliver of good will for a duly elected president. Worse, figures like Cantor and McCain actively seek to back foreign governments against the duly elected president of their own country, and seek to repeal the signature policy achievement of Obama's first two years, universal healthcare.
I know it is the opposition's role to oppose. But the sheer scale and absolutism of the opposition, and its continuation in the lame duck session, even over such small but integral reforms such as the new START and DADT repeal, is remarkable.
The two parties are evenly spread in this 50-50 country, but only one can brook no compromise in its accelerating rush to the far right. And that is what it seems we have to contemplate for the next two years - total paralysis in the face of urgent problems as part of a game of cynical partisan brinkmanship. They simply cannot bear that another party might actually have a role to play in government.
This is not conservatism, properly understood, a disposition that respects the institutions and traditions of government, that can give as well as take, that seeks the national interest before partisan concerns, and that respects both the other branches of government and seeks to work with them. These people are not conservatives in this core civilized sense; they are partisan vandals.
And if the GOP block the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, despite the careful Pentagon study, a slow roll-out of its provisions, and support from the Joint Chiefs chairman and the defense secretary, then we will find out something else. The contempt the GOP has for gay lives, gay citizens and those who wear the uniform of the United States is as deep and as vile as we ever thought it was. Yes, I'm angry at this general nihilist partisanship, and wounded once more by these people's profound, obsessive homophobia. But I cannot, alas, say I am surprised. The degeneracy has been building for a long time. It is just the stench of it right now that overwhelms the nostrils.
(Photo: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivers an address at the conservative Heritage Foundation November 4, 2010 in Washington, DC. The Republican party made big gains in the Senate but failed to take control of the chamber. 'If the administration wants to cooperation then it's going to have to move in our direction,' McConnell said. By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.)