Norm Ornstein says it's unprecedented.
For three years, Republicans in the Senate refused to confirm anybody to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services... in order to damage the possibility of a smooth rollout of the health reform plan. Guerrilla efforts to cut off funding, dozens of votes to repeal, abusive comments by leaders, attempts to discourage states from participating in Medicaid expansion or crafting exchanges, threatening letters to associations that might publicize the availability of insurance on exchanges, and now a new set of threats—to have a government shutdown, or to refuse to raise the debt ceiling, unless the president agrees to stop all funding for implementation of the plan.
I remember being shocked when some congressional Democrats appeared to be rooting for the surge in troops in Iraq to fail—which would mean more casualties among Americans and Iraqis, but a huge embarrassment for Bush, and vindication of their skepticism. But of course they did not try to sabotage the surge by disrupting funding or interfering in the negotiations in Iraq with competing Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish power centers. To do so would have been close to treasonous.
What is going on now to sabotage Obamacare is not treasonous—just sharply beneath any reasonable standards of elected officials with the fiduciary responsibility of governing.
He also points out that when Democrats had an opening to do something similar to George W. Bush's Medicare prescription drug plan, they chose to put the health of Americans before politics. Republicans today: not so much.