In his post “Republicans Threaten to Become Bigger Assholes,” Chris Bowers at Open Left explains why budget reconciliation must be pursued by Democrats on big issues, starting with universal healthcare.

If Democrats use the budget reconciliation process, which denies Republicans a filibuster option, to invest two-thirds of a trillion dollars into health care, Republicans are “threatening” to do the following:

The GOP might first go after White House nominations. Republicans could require each appointee to get a separate hearing and a separate roll call vote. They could stop attending committee hearings, and decline to provide “unanimous consent” to move forward on even the most benign issues or routine Senate business. Republicans could also demand that the text of bills, which are often hundreds of pages long, be read aloud.

Yeah, that will really be a big electoral winner for Republicans. While Democrats give Americans cheaper and more affordable health care, Republicans give America extreme partisan gridlock. Oh please, please don’t do this to us Republicans! How can we Democrats ever survive as a political party if Republicans were to engage in such brilliant political tactics?

Even Republicans know that these tactics won’t work. If they did think that these gridlock tactics were a good idea, then they would be using them right now. The last three months have largely been dominated by Democrats passing legislation that Republicans claim they hate. As such, why didn’t Republicans use these tactics to stop that legislation? Oh, that’s right–because they knew that using these tactics to stop legislation that Americans want would make them look like even bigger assholes than they already are.

The Democrats must acknowledge — yes, the Democrats — that they won the election last November.  People voted for their ideas.  Mainstream Americans, under seige by the wildest conservatives the GOP had to offer, still voted for — gasp! — liberal campaign promises, even when they were billed as SOCIALISM by right-wingers.

Heck, we even have a Republican pointing out that it’s the Democrats’ right to use the tool of budget reconciliation to pass heavy-duty legislation through the Senate.

“It’s their right. They did win the election,” said Ryan, R-Wis. “That’s what I tell all my constituents who are worried about this. They won the election. They did run on these ideas. They did run on nationalizing health care. So, you’re right about that. They have the votes with reconciliation. They nailed down the process so that they can make sure they have the votes and that they can get this thing through really fast. It is their right. It is what they can do.”

We need big things to happen now more than ever.  The American people put Democrats into power in order to make these things happen.  If the Republicans aren’t going to put a good-faith effort forward to work with the Democratic Party, the Democrats will be forced to do things on their own, which is where budget reconciliation must come into play.  And Bowers is right.  If the GOP follows through on any of these threats, they’ve handed Washington over to the Democrats for at least another decade or two.

This is a gift to Democrats.  Let’s see if they have the fortitude to take it.