Ask Republicans What They Did To Help Our President

Dave Johnson

Did Republicans work to help our President fix the economy and the country after he took office, in the midst of two wars, a financial crisis, and an economic emergency? This is a question every American should consider. The month President Obama took the oath of office the country lost another 815,000 jobs. What did Republicans do to help him and us?

Think back. Set aside for a minute the things that have disappointed us since the President took office in January, 2009. Think back to the situation the country was in at the time. We were in a war in Iraq and a war in Afghanistan. (We still don’t know why we were in a war in Iraq, by the way.) We were losing upwards towards a million jobs a month. The banks appeared to be insolvent. Millions of homes were being foreclosed on. This was a national emergency.

What do Americans do when there is a national emergency? We are supposed to pull together and work together and help each other. We are supposed to rally behind out leaders, and support them, and help them succeed. We did this after 9/11, for example.

So what happened in January, 2009 when the new President took office? Word is starting to leak out that something very different happened. It looks like House and Senate Republicans made a calculation that it would be better for them politically if the conditions of the country did not get better. It looks like they calculated that fighting to keep things from getting better would enable them to come back in a few years and complain that things are not getting better, and say this means voters should put them back in power. And it looks like they acted on that calculation.

Greg Sargent, Writing at The Plum Line about Michael Grunwald’s The New New Deal. a new book on the Obama stimulus: Biden: McConnell decided to withhold all cooperation even before we took office,

Grunwald has Joe Biden on the record making a striking charge. Biden says that during the transition, a number of Republican Senators privately confided to him that Mitch McConnell had given them the directive that there was to be no cooperation with the new administration — because he had decided that “we can’t let you succeed.”

Here’s the relevant passage, from 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 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.

[. . .] It seems pretty newsworthy for the Vice President of the United States to charge that seven members of the opposition confided to him that their party had adopted a comprehensive strategy to oppose literally everything the new President did — with the explicit purpose of denying him any successes of any kind for their own political purposes — even before he took office.

Also at The Hill, Russell Berman writes in, New book details GOP’s early opposition to Obama stimulus,

The book paints Cantor and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) as two of the conservative leaders of a strategy to deny Obama bipartisan support for the stimulus. Cantor, Grunwald reports, relied on private polls to persuade rank-and-file GOP lawmakers that they were on safe political ground in opposing the agenda of the popular new president.

… In a more detailed account of a scene that has been previously reported, Grunwald writes that hours before Obama was to pitch his stimulus directly to Republican House members, Cantor boldly declared in a private conference meeting, “We’re not going to lose any Republicans.” The vow surprised members of Cantor’s vote-counting team, who had planned on setting expectations lower for the stimulus vote. Ultimately, Cantor prevailed, and Republicans in the House unanimously opposed the stimulus bill.

Did the Republican Party adopt a comprehensive strategy to oppose everything the new President did? If this is true it is likely that Americans might want to apply some accountability for this. All of us should be asking every Republican running for re-election (because the corporate media just will not), “What did you do to help the President of the United States fix the economy and the country after he took office?”

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