Especially when you have no agenda except no.
So the House Republicans failed to pass the Patriot Act yesterday as about 26 GOPers deserted ship. Now this loss reflects more about obscure House procedures than a sudden outbreak of civil libertarianism on the part of the Republicans, but it does reflect the problems of moving from mindless opposition to needing to get things done.
Mindless opposition is easy to do. Just vote no and denounce everything that get proposed as communism. Easy. But getting things done means having to think about the consciouses of what you do, both as policy and politics. Thus we get a few Republicans who suddenly thought that surveillance without limits might be an expansion of government power, and ain't we against that sort of thing?
Keep in mind, this is just for renewing a law that's already in effect, not passing some new program. Is the GOP going to be able to do that?