However, they decided to continue being "the party of 'no'", rally support with idiot cries of "totalitarianism" and "death panels" and getting the masses to rise up in support of the gentry at the expense of their own interests. They went the latter option and not only completely failed, but also lost any chance of creating a bi-partisan fix for a system they know needs to be fixed. How, precisely, does forcing a bi-partisan standoff work when a party-line vote guarantees you fail? The Republicans were not only on the wrong side of this issue, they were stupid.
So now that we've seen how the chips have fallen, the Republicans have admitted that they have a losing strategy. To quote John McCain: ""There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year, [the Democrats] have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."
OK, so maybe they didn't realize their mistake. In fact, John McCain has now backed them into a corner with no room to compromise, showing the same brilliant strategy which won him the presidency. If they refuse any cooperation, they remain "the party of 'no'" and can forget about picking up independents. If they do start cooperating, John McCain looks like (even more of) an idiot.
Of course, this raises the obvious question of how a refusal to cooperate has been even the slightest bit different from the past behaviour.
Remember: the USA is a democratic republic, not Burger King. You don't always get to have it your way. Sometimes you have to compromise and while that sucks, it's also being an adult, something the increasingly shrill Republicans seem to have missed lately.
The strategy for the Democrats at this time would be to point out, over and over, which Republican ideas get into which bills and to tone down the rhetoric. The Democrats have the upper hand and while they may lose a few seats in the upcoming elections, it doesn't (yet) appear that they'll lose their majority. If they can take the high road and simultaneously bend over backwards to show how they're trying to be bipartisan, the news media will take up the task of reminding people how obstructionist the Republicans are.
Frankly, I want to see the Republicans cooperate. I want to see bipartisan measures passed. I want a check on the Democrats and I want to see adults in Congress. Since the Republican rhetoric has painted them in the same corner that John McCain is evidently comfortable with, I don't think they can turn around and start being honest. As a result, I'll settle for a Democratic majority with Republicans getting outvoted every time they start hyperventilating about socialism.