Judging by the response to this story I’ve seen here and around the blogosphere, I don’t think you guys are getting it. Yeah, I saw “Impeach Obama” bumper stickers the day after the inauguration, too. I’m not talking about the usual sour grapes one expects to see among voters and partisans who just lost an election.
These are members of Congress we’re talking about, people with a sworn duty and obligation to do the people’s business. These are your elected members to the House of Representatives and the United States Senate, scheming to bring Washington to a standstill. Plotting to undermine the people’s choice for President while the inaugural balls were still underway! Before any policies or positions had emanated from the new Administration. Before the cabinet was even in place (indeed, obstructing confirmation of Obama’s cabinet picks was part of the strategy)!
Last I checked, folks like Bob Corker took an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution. Specifically:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
I’d like to know how plotting to obstruct and undermine a legally elected President, the choice of the majority of the people, fits into that? How is this “true faith and allegiance” to the Constitution? How does this “faithfully discharge the duties of the office” as a member of Congress?
It doesn’t. It’s the polar opposite of that. It is, in fact, a gross failure to fulfill those duties. It is obscene that these people will not suffer any repercussions for violating their sworn oath of office in such a manner.
I know we’ve all heard this story before: how Mitch McConnell said his number one goal was to ensure Obama was one-term president, Jim DeMint talking about “breaking” Obama, blah blah. Just the talk of political rivals, right? No. It’s far more despicable than that.
Because this plot to bring down our first African American president — a democratically-elected president, chosen by the people of this country! — began not after President Obama unveiled policies that Republicans thought disastrous, nor did it begin after some kind of Obama Administration scandal or Democratic Party fuck you to the Republicans.
No, it began on the night of the inauguration:
A detailed account of who was present at the dinner on that January 20 night and the plan they worked out to bring down Obama is provided by Robert Draper in ‘Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the US House of Representatives’, published this week.
Attending the dinner were House members Eric Cantor, Jeb Hensarling, Pete Hoekstra, Dan Lungren, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan and Pete Sessions. From the Senate were Tom Coburn, Bob Corker, Jim DeMint, John Ensign and Jon Kyl. Others present were former House Speaker and future – and failed – presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and the Republican strategist Frank Luntz, who organised the dinner and sent out the invitations.
Et tu, Bob Corker? The people of Tennessee did not send you to Washington to foster gridlock and obstructionism. We don’t pay you to grind the peoples’ business to a halt. Did you forget who pays your salary? You’re contemptible.
Anyone who thinks Democrats can reach across the aisle and work with these people is smoking the proverbial political crack.
The dinner table was set in a square at Luntz’s request so everyone could see one another and talk freely. The session lasted four hours and by the end the sombre mood had lifted: they had conceived a plan. They would take back the House in November 2010, which they did, and use it as a spear to mortally wound Obama in 2011 and take back the Senate and White House in 2012, Draper writes.
“If you act like you’re the minority, you’re going to stay in the minority,” said Keven McCarthy, quoted by Draper. “We’ve gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign.”
The Republicans have done that, bringing Washington to a near standstill several times during Obama’s first term over debt and other issues.
On the more immediate future, they discussed targets such as Charlie Rangel, chairman of the House ways and means committee, who Gingrich said was vulnerable over his personal taxes. They would also target Treasury secretary Tim Geithner, demonstrate united and unyielding opposition to the president’s economic policies, and release negative ads against vulnerable Democratic members of Congress.
Draper quotes Gingrich at the end of the meal: “You will remember this day. You’ll remember this as the day the seeds of 2012 were sown.”
Ah, poor little Newt. Let’s hope he was right about that one thing: the seeds of Obama’s 2012 re-election were indeed sown in Republicans’ craven desire for power above all else — including the good of the country. Because clearly they do not give a crap about the voters of this country.
Republicans should never, ever be allowed near the reins of power ever again. They simply are horrible, horrible people. Next time someone tells you how wonderful “divided government” is, slap ’em upside the head and show them this story.