I downloaded Michael Grunwald's The New New Deal
earlier this week, but I haven't yet fired up the Kindle to start reading it. Greg Sargent, on the other hand,
some tidbits already. One of which is confirmation of the Republican move to ensure exactly what the party's shadow leader, Rush Limbaugh, started saying
he wanted back in January 2009—Obama's failure. Rush's foot-soldiers enlisted in the cause.
Sargent points us to the relevant passage, page 207:
Biden says that during the transition, he was warned not to expect any cooperation on many votes. “I spoke to seven different Republican Senators, who said, `Joe, I’m not going to be able to help you on anything,’ he recalls. His informants said [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell had demanded unified resistance. “The way it was characterized to me was: `For the next two years, we can’t let you succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back,’” Biden says.
The vice president says he hasn’t even told Obama who his sources were, but Bob Bennett of Utah and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania both confirmed they had conversations with Biden along these lines.
Grunwald goes on to cite former Sen. George Voinovich:
“He wanted everyone to hold the fort. All he cared about was making sure Obama could never have a clean victory.”
And there was the insider:
“People were pretty demoralized, and there were two totally opposite thoughts on how to approach the situation,” a McConnell aide recalls. “One was, `we don't like the president, we ought to pop him early.’ The other was, `he’s really popular, we should work with him, because that’s what people want us to do.’ The boss’s take was: Neither." McConnell realized that it would be much easier to fight Obama if Republicans first made a public show of wanting to work with him.
Sargent cautions that Biden has been known to exaggerate. But Grunwald has a lot of corroborative evidence here. And there's plenty of other evidence that this is not just loose talk. Republicans have thrown up blockades every step along the way since Jan. 21, 2009. From repairing the economy to protecting consumers against predatory financial institutions, from bolstering the nation's clean energy infrastructure to cooperating on the federal budget, Republicans have stood in the way.
What they haven't been able to stop outright, they've diluted. All focused on making the president fail. Even past Republican ideas were shot down. It hasn't mattered to them how much damage their strategy caused to the country, to the American people. Everything was focused on undermining Barack Obama. Patriotism, modern GOP style.
And the fruits of their efforts? Barack Obama on the verge of becoming a two-term president.
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