Watching Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) earn a big win last night, I couldn't help but think about the way in which Senate Republicans were indirectly responsible for the outcome.
You'll recall that it was Warren's consumer-advocacy work that led President Obama and congressional Democrats to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. GOP policymakers fought the agency's existence, but they also drew a line in the sand: under no circumstances would Warren be allowed to head the CFPB.
As a result, Obama asked Warren to help structure the agency; Richard Cordray got to work looking out for consumers; and Democrats approached Warren with an idea: "You know, there's this Senate race coming up in Massachusetts...."
Sen. Scott Brown (R) looked to be in a fairly strong position, but Warren beat him with relative ease yesterday, ending up with an eight-point edge with nearly all the precincts reporting.
If Senate Republicans had allowed Warren to receive a simple, up-or-down vote, she very likely would have spent 2012 at the CFPB, instead of on the campaign trail, and Democrats may have struggled to find a candidate who could have dispatched Brown so easily.
But the GOP's obstructionist instincts stopped the party from thinking ahead. They'll be reminded of the misstep every day for the next six years.