I may just send this link to my U.S. senators, especially Senator Grassley, whom I fear may be playing the anything-to-defeat-Obama tune that many, if not most, Senate Republicans seem willing to play. How sad!
The Republican attitude here gives us an understanding of what "playing politics" means. First, it means trying to gain electoral advantage and ignoring the real work of political decision-making. Because most voters can be fooled by posturing, or really believe in the posture taken, Republicans can claim the need for a "strong defense", when in fact, as Walt argues, it goes the other way. Second, the "playing" in "playing politics" demonstrates a childishness in the actions taken. Of course, both sides do it on occasion, but we expect--or should expect--most to rise above it.* I don't have a problem with genuine differences of opinion and perception, but many instances we're seeing either intentional cynincism or group delusion at work.
*Play can be a good thing for adults, I should add. I play--volleyball, basketball, etc.--all the time. I go to "plays", but this is different.)