Lesson learned from the past 8 years:
Republicans are very bad at governing.
Lesson I think we all are about to learn (as shown by the fact that 41 Republicans in the Senate are succeeding in preventing passage of a stimulus bill):
Republicans are very good at preventing governing.
This isn't necessarily an insult. The mantra of the GOP was, and is, that government — by definition — is bad. After all, one of their favorite Reagan quotes is:
"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"
So, Republicans are simply better at what they do best than Democrats are at what they do best.
Of course, the notion that government is the problem isn't a truism. It's only a truism if one chooses to make it that way. Government could have, for example, responded in a timely manner to Hurricane Katrina, but it didn't, thereby bolstering the Reaganistic maxim that government is a problem, not a solution.
This feature of the conservative philosophy poses a fundamental problem with Obama's call for "post-partisanship". You simply cannot compromise with a mindset that it dedicated to the principle of governmental obstructionism. It's fine to try, and that Obama has done. But just two weeks into his administration, it has failed.
Now it's time for Obama and the Democrats to get behind the wheel of a steamroller. Screw the obstructionist opposition.