So why did 90% of Republican Senators vote against a bill that is supported by 90% of the American public? I'd suggest its the same reason they've always been opposed to anything President Obama supports. Their lunatic base can't countenance anything that gives the President a "win."
Thinking about it all this morning, I remembered a time when Mistermix over at Balloon Juice nailed it. See if his words from 2 1/2 years ago don't still ring true today.
...Ezra Klein thinks that Obama’s a bad poker player. He may be right, but the analogy isn’t helpful. Poker is a win/lose game. Negotiation is a win/win game, because both parties get something when a deal is struck. Republicans aren’t playing poker or negotiating. They are playing another game, call it “You Must Lose”. They’re happy with win/lose, if they win, but they’ll tolerate lose/lose as long as Obama loses.Some people are suggesting that Republicans voted against the background checks bill because they know they're going to have to vote for immigration reform soon and didn't want to have to explain supporting two Obama "wins" to their lunatic base.
The only analogy that springs to mind when I look at the Republicans’ recent behavior is a bad divorce. Think of a situation where Lisa and Bob are getting a divorce, and Bob is so hell-bent on hurting Lisa that he doesn’t care about their kids or their bank account. Bob will deploy a hundred variations on the same tactic: put the Lisa in a bind where she has to choose between damaging the children and losing money. Lisa will lose money almost every time in order to save the children.
In this situation, capitulation is inevitable, the only question is what form it will take...
Obama has three tactics he can use, all of them weak: The first is to try to fracture the Republican caucus...The second is to use executive power to its limit, by rule-making...The third is institutional reform, specifically, ending the filibuster.
None of these tactics is especially effective, but when you’re working with someone who’s only happy if you lose, what else is there?
If enough Republicans are prepared to trade a lose/lose on gun reform in order to make peace with a win/win on immigration, at least they are demonstrating that elections have consequences. That would never have happened without their resounding loss among Latino voters in 2012.
What we need is a massive voter turnout in 2014 to get it through to them that we've had it with the lose/lose game. Anything that takes our eyes off that prize (and yes, that includes folks like the emos and Maureen Dowd) simply prolongs the power of the Republicans to keep us deadlocked in this lose/lose nightmare. Its time to wake up and smell the big picture folks. Nothing - and I mean NOTHING - is as important as breaking this one for good.