The current effort, aides say, was emboldened by the incoming class of left-wing freshman Democrats, such as Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren, who do not share this reverence for precedent, and who have never had to serve in the minority.
Had liberal agitators gotten their wish, Republicans argue, Democrats would have gained a significant political advantage by allowing them to swiftly pass contentious legislation and then apply public pressure on House Republicans to act.
And there was always the nightmare scenario: the unlikely but not impossible event that Democrats retake the House in 2014, and retain a majority in the Senate, with minority rights in that chamber having been significantly weakened.
That would allow Obama to finish out his second term as he started his first — with an emboldened Democratic Congress to effectively rubber-stamp his agenda.
That scenario has been averted for now. “The left is blowing up over this,” remarked a GOP aide. “That’s usually a good sign.”
— Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review.