Two years ago, in a Huffington Post blog headlined: "Republicans: The Single Greatest Threat to America," I quoted the words of a veteran reporter, Robert Parry, who outlined today's GOP strategy for dealing with a Democratic president:
Modern Republicans have a simple approach to politics when they are not in the White House: Make America as ungovernable as possible by using any means available... Control as much as possible what the population gets to see and hear; create chaos for your opponent's government, economically and politically; blame it for the mess; and establish in the minds of the voters that their only way out is to submit, that the pain will stop once your side is back in power...
By "back in power," Parry was referring to the upcoming 2012 election. But, of course, Obama beat the Republicans for a second time and the Tea Party's idiocy kept Democrats in control of the Senate, although they once again lost the House.
Now we're talking about the 2014 congressional races. And the GOP's continuing war on Obamacare and the debt ceiling, the latest battle of which spelled disaster for the Grand Old Party. But Bob Parry proved a prophet: Republicans are blaming Democrats for the latest mess.
Just as Republicans hoped and planned, their war seriously weakened Obamacare. And now, as Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas remind us in the Washington Post, those same Republicans are bitterly complaining about the result they ordained:
The classic definition of chutzpah is the child who kills his parents and then asks for leniency because he's an orphan. But in recent weeks, we've begun to see the Washington definition: A party that does everything possible to sabotage a law and then professes fury when the law's launch is rocky.
On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan became the latest Republican to call for HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to step down because of the Affordable Care Act's troubled launch...
How about House Republicans who refused to appropriate the money the Department of Health and Human Services said it needed to properly implement Obamacare?
How about Senate Republicans who tried to intimidate Sebelius out of using existing HHS funds to implement Obamacare? It's difficult to imagine the size of the disaster if Sebelius hadn't moved those funds.
Republican efforts to cripple Obama -- and the country -- are an old story. Author Michael Grunwald told us that even before Obama took office, Congressional Republicans were already plotting to sabotage his effort to stimulate the economy out of the worst crisis since the 1930s Depression. Vice President Biden told Grunwald that during the 2008 transition:
I spoke to seven different Republican senators who said, 'Joe, I'm not going to be able to help you on anything...' 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.'
Another author, Robert Draper, reported that on the very evening of Obama's first inauguration as leader of this recession-gripped nation, some 15 Republicans, largely House members, gathered in a Washington restaurant to plot how to undermine his presidency -- no matter the consequences for the rest of us.
"The dinner lasted nearly four hours. They parted company almost giddily. The Republicans had agreed on a way forward.... "You will remember this day," Draper reports Newt Gingrich as saying on the way out. "You'll remember this as the day the seeds of 2012 were sown."
Got that. The country was in disaster. But Republicans were almost giddy with joy. And much more concerned with winning elections four years hence than in helping get Americans right back to work or back into their foreclosed houses. One of the House GOP's first steps was to:
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.)
In the Senate, that $787 billion stimulus plan passed with only three Republican votes. It failed to produce robust growth -- and many Democrats criticized it as inadequate -- but it was largely successful in that it "helped avert a depression that would have caused immeasurable pain," according to Grunwald.
But the somewhat improved economy, sabotaged as it was by Republicans, didn't keep them from winning the House in 2010 and again two years later, although it surely helped prevent McConnell's Number One Goal, announced on Oct. 23, 2010, that: "[T]he single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."
That sort of thing is, was and will be the Republican agenda. Screw the country, but get us elected. Keep the single mother and her baby from having enough to eat, and the man with cancer from affording health care to keep him alive. To hell with the black woman with the wrong ID who wants to vote or the Latino kid denied his tiny fragment of the American Dream. Down with unions, unemployment benefits and minimum wages. And gay marriage. And women's choice. That's the Grand Old Party for you.
That's why I say Republicans Stink: Don't Ever Forget It.