Unprecedented Obstruction: The Unmitigated Inconvenience of Karma

It’s time to Break It Down!

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the Senate would forego the first two weeks of its anticipated August Recess. The move was unusual on its face, but the reason offered was sheer partisan political poppycock. Leader McConnell blamed Democrats and their “Unprecedented Obstruction,” for the delay and abbreviation of the Senate’s much anticipated month-long summer hiatus. He then cited a couple of examples of the lack of cooperation the mean old Democrats were foisting upon his genial GOP colleagues.

This post is straight forward, and will be brief. It begins and ends with my observation that Mr. McConnell is either operating with an extreme memory deficit, or he doesn’t believe his fecal excretion is malodorous. Unprecedented Obstruction? Puhleeze!

The GOP instituted an obstruction plan so sublime it inspired a book. I’ll get back to that. First, let’s face it. McConnell’s own fingerprints are all over the Party’s efforts to obstruct President Obama. In October 2010, speaking of the GOP, he famously said, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

For a time, many of us thought the Republican Party’s organized anti-Obama recalcitrance started there. It would take a while, but we would later learn that we were wrong, and that the Republican Party’s maleficence started the night of President Obama’s first day in office. Contemporaneous with the evening’s Inaugural Balls, a cabal of GOP Congressmen met for dinner and deception at the Caucus Room, a high-end D.C. establishment about a mile from the evening’s main festivities. Their master plan, devised over several hours, was a plot, not just to win back their recently lost political power, but also to waylay President Obama’s legislative agenda.

The book, referenced above, written by Robert Draper in 2012, “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives,” details the steps the GOP laid out as the way forward. According to Draper, the guest list that night included a proverbial Congressional Who’s Who. In attendance were:

  1. Eric Cantor – VA
  2. Kevin McCarthy –CA
  3. Paul Ryan – WI
  4. Pete Sessions – TX
  5. Jeb Hensarling – TX
  6. Pete Hoekstra – MI
  7. Dan Lungren – CA
  8. Jim DeMint – SC
  9. Jon Kyl – AZ
  10. Tom Coburn – OK
  11. John Ensign – NV
  12. Bob Corker – TN
  13. Newt Gingrich (Former GA Representative and noted GOP intellectual)
  14. Frank Luntz (Event organizer, GOP wordsmith)

Notably absent were then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, and House Minority Leader John Boehner R-OH – who, according to Draper, had an acrimonious relationship with Luntz. The group devised a four-point plan. The steps of which included:

  • Go after Geithner. (And indeed Kyl did, the next day: ‘Would you answer my question rather than dancing around it—please?’)
  • Show united and unyielding opposition to the president’s economic policies. (Eight days later, Minority Whip Cantor would hold the House Republicans to a unanimous No against Obama’s economic stimulus plan.)
  • Begin attacking vulnerable Democrats on the airwaves. (The first National Republican Congressional Committee attack ads would run in less than two months.)
  • Win the spear point of the House in 2010. Jab Obama relentlessly in 2011. Win the White House and the Senate in 2012. (Despite their best efforts, that White House gambit did not pan out).

You want a blueprint for obstruction Mr. McConnell, I would say, this is it. At the end of the meeting Newt Gingrich said:

“You will remember this day. You’ll remember this as the day the seeds of 2012 were sown.”

It’s instructive to recall, at that time 700,000 people a month were losing their jobs and the American economy was in the most horrible tailspin since the Great Depression.

And the Republicans wanted to keep it that way.

That dear reader is some obstruction for you. McConnell is not alone in grousing about Democratic obstruction. Conservatives often lead with that trite lament. My curt response always is, “Consider the example of the last eight years.” I have been known to express empathy for a variety of reasons, but quite frankly, the temerity of anyone suggesting such a thing strikes me as ludicrous. Particularly if said someone was either a party to snubbing President Obama’s agenda to repair our fractured country, or said someone was supportive of the efforts of those who did so. Quite simply, the current claim is bogus, and I frame it thusly, Unprecedented Obstruction: The Unmitigated Inconvenience of Karma!”

I’m done; holla back!

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