The Democrats have large majorities in the House and Senate along with a Democratic President. There are two different ways they could go.
The first is to play it safe, stay in the center, and hope to add to their numbers in 2010. That's certainly what the Republicans would do if they were in the same position, but of course, the GOP has terrible political instincts.
What the Democrats realize is that if they take it slow, their base will become angry and given the state of the economy and historical trends, the GOP has an excellent chance to make decent gains in 2010 no matter what they do.
The other option the Democrats have, which is exactly what I would do if I were in their place, is to treat this as a historic opportunity and ram as much of their agenda down people's throats as they can. That will undoubtedly cost them more seats in 2010, but it's much easier to enact legislation than repeal it and the Democrats will probably never have a better opportunity than this one.
So, right now, when Barack Obama is at the height of his power because he's in the honeymoon period, the Democrats are going to try to radically shift our country to the left as far as possible.
They understand that it's best to strike while the iron is hot. You see, Obama ran as an everything to everybody, centrist candidate -- yet he's governing like Hugo Chavez. Additionally, he's pushing a lot of huge, radical, unpopular policies. Last but not least, there's a deep recession going on and traditionally, the politicians in charge fare very badly when the economy is bad.
Obama has already shed 7-10 points of approval in a month. By the end of March, it wouldn't be surprising if he were in the mid-low fifties in approval. By April (maybe earlier?), it's possible we could even see him in the forties. In other words, the Dems need to move legislation now, while Obama is still very popular, to maximize their chances of pushing a socialist agenda through.
So, that's why the Republicans need to do everything they can to slow things down. Insist on full debates of the issues. Filibuster everything initially, even if it's going to pass later. Make the Democrats read every bill into the record. If we can hold these guys up for just a month or two, it will make a big difference.
Obama ISN'T going to be popular forever. The sort of happy talk Obama specializes in DOES get old. Americans are going to get increasingly LEERY of these big government solutions to all of our problems. It will happen and it will happen relatively fast -- probably in a few months' time. When it does, the fight won't be over, but in D.C., where opinion polls are treated like words from an oracle, it will make a big difference.
That's why the GOP, at least for a few months, should do everything in its power to throw sand in the gears. Let them call us obstructionists. Let them complain. Once Obama has been weakened and his agenda becomes increasingly unpopular, then we can move on from the slow walk tactics. But, right now, it is vitally important that the GOP stand tall, stand together, and stick a leg out to trip the Dems on every bill.