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It took less than 24 hours for the Republican Party to capitalize on its new power to filibuster. With Scott Brown now sworn into office as the first Republican Senator from Massachusetts in a generation, breaking the Democratic super-majority, things are heating up fast.

First out of the gate: Richard Shelby, the Republican Senator from Alabama, wants $40 billion, and he’s threatening to bring Washington to a standstill until he gets it.

In a recent post, I predicted that we’ve yet to see the worst in Washington. With today’s news, it appears that not only was I right on the money, but the obstructionist behavior is more immediate, more blatant and more egregious than even I could have imagined. How is this not extortion? How can anyone who cares about our country, regardless of political affiliation, defend this conduct?

Maybe, just maybe, the Republicans have gone too far this time. Maybe the blind followers will wake up and see that the corruption in Washington is too big to ignore. Maybe regular folks from all over the nation will pause and say “You know, that’s not the way we want our government to operate.”

Maybe I’m dreaming, but it’s hard to imagine how bad things could get if we let this continue.