Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) planned votes where his favored bills were expected to fail. For Reid, failure is actually the point. He wants to put Republicans on record as blocking all four.

On Wednesday, he took up seniors' benefits and collective- bargaining rights for police and firefighters' unions, and on Thursday he will call votes on an immigration bill that would assist people who were brought to the United States illegally as children, and legislation that would provide health-care benefits for responders to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

How in the world does the GOP maintain power? How do they get away with this sort of thing? Is it plain American stupidity—a large part of the public can only vote according to messages received from TV ads and not the actual actions of politicians? Or is it that the GOP's main rival party is too softy, too considerate, too pragmatic—the party of "bean counters." My guess is it has nothing to do with taxes or unions or deficit or anything like that. It all comes down to an existential crisis of race. The GOP is simply the party for white people who still think being white is all that and some. And that's the beginning and end of it—the GOWP. This is why bipartisanship makes no sense at all. The GOP is not a political party. It is an emotional party. Its power depends on the emotions of a declining group of Americans. The smaller this group gets, and it will get much smaller, the more emotional it becomes.