Is the claim of Republican obstructionism accurate? Consider this: The vote for cloture is intended to stop a filibuster, the parliamentary procedure the Senate uses to stop a simple majority from passing a bill. The 110th Congress (2007 – 2008) was the record-holder for cloture votes: 112. The 111th Congress (2008 – 2009) saw 39 cloture votes in 2009, 2 by February, 2010. The 39 cloture votes in 2009 were 9 more than the combined total for 1949-1970. In addition to filibuster, over 200 of Obama’s appointments are being held up by Republicans in the Senate (as of early 2010).
So yes, obstructionist sounds about right. All citizens should be outraged over the power exerted by the minority party through these tactics. This follows 8 years where the Bush administration gutted regulatory agencies like the SEC, turned others over to corporate insiders (resulting in the Bureau of Land Management promoting mountain-top removal mining and wilderness drilling) and appointed Supreme Court justices that are conservative activists (resulting in the establishment of 1st amendment rights to corporations in January 2010).
It’s like a quiet coup d’etat with the electoral losers still running things from the shadows. The voters who clearly signalled they wanted a change in national direction are SOL. Even if you agree with the politics of stopping progressive measures and doing the same tired crap that drove the economy off a cliff in 2008, the ends cannot justify the means, or we will all hate what we’ve become.