The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent excerpted some of Michael Grunwald’s new book “The New New Deal” today, and it further clarified what anybody paying attention over the last four years should already know: Sen. Mitch McConnell orchestrated deliberate sabotage on our government, for the purpose of regaining political power away from Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.
Here’s what GOP senators told Joe Biden right before they took office in 2009:
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.
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.
Then-GOP Senator George Voinovich agrees:
Meanwhile, former Senator George Voinovich also goes on record telling Grunwald that Republican marching orders were to oppose everything the Obama administration proposed.
“If he was for it, we had to be against it,” Voinovich tells Grunwald. And at another point, characterizing a strategy session Republicans and McConnell had held in early January of 2009, Voinovich said: “He wanted everyone to hold the fort. All he cared about was making sure Obama could never have a clean victory.”
The skeptical among you might be saying ‘sure, turncoats like Specter and “moderates” like Bennett and Voinovich would say stuff like that, because they hold some kind of grudge.” Well, how about McConnell’s own aide?
“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.
And that is what McConnell has done over the last three and a half years — reflexively oppose everything that Obama offers, even if they are Republican ideas, or would help the economy. Then, when the economy failed to fully recover from the BIGGEST ECONOMIC CRISIS SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION two years later, he could fully blame the economy and unemployment on Obama, since Republicans opposed him on everything — and adding for good measure that Obama just wouldn’t work with them.
It would be brilliant if it wasn’t so disgusting.
Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute recently complied four more quotes from McConnell (a very small sample from the available population) that are self-explanatory:
“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President [Barack] Obama to be a one-term president.” — October 2010
“I refuse to help Barack Obama get re-elected by marching Republicans into a position where we have ownership of a bad economy. … If we go into default, he will say that Republicans are making the economy worse and try to convince the public — maybe with some merit, if people stop getting their Social Security checks and military families start getting letters saying service people overseas don’t get paid. It’s an argument he could have a good chance of winning, and all of the sudden we have co-ownership of a bad economy. … That is very bad positioning going into an election.” — July 13, 2010, said right before the potential default, after months of fruitless negotiation.
“I think some of our Members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting. Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this — it’s a hostage worth ransoming.” — Said right after the deal was made.
“We worked very hard to keep our fingerprints off of these proposals. Because we thought — correctly, I think — that the only way the American people would know that a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan. When you hang the ‘bipartisan’ tag on something, the perception is that differences have been worked out, and there’s a broad agreement that that’s the way forward.” — Said to the Atlantic in December 2010, after the midterms, explaining why Republicans from the start were not going to cooperate with or compromise with any of the Obama proposals.
And then there’s one more from Bennett, which pretty much sums it up:
“McConnell knew the places to go, around the tank, and loosen a lug bolt here, pour sand in a hydraulic receptacle there, and slow the whole thing down.”
And the funny thing is, it’s not like McConnell would even dispute our very premise. Just look at his first campaign video, below. It’s basically boasting that he was able to block anything from happening.
Some in Washington make goals around working with everyone to have the best policy possible in order to improve the lives of Americans. Other people have other goals…