Home / Culture and Society / “I Hope Obama Fails” Just Took On a Whole New Meaning

“I Hope Obama Fails” Just Took On a Whole New Meaning

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According to FindLaw.com, first degree murder is (in most states) defined as an “unlawful killing that is both willful and premeditated, meaning that it was committed after planning or ‘lying in wait’ for the victim.” Of course, first degree murder is among the worst crimes that one human can commit. The prosecutor describes to the jurors how the accused not only intended to kill the victim, but also planned the attack – all while the victim’s survivors listen in horror.

On January 16 2009, Rush Limbaugh made his famous “I hope Obama fails” proclamation. There was a small media firestorm over the comment because most Americans knew that Obama’s goal was to help America dig itself out of the Great Recession where we’d been left by the Bush administration but, as happens all too often, the moment is soon forgotten as the media turns the page for us. Besides, President Obama was about to be sworn into office with a majority in both houses, right? Right.

What we didn’t know at the time was the plan being put together by the Republican Party to make a political comeback. Some light on their internal decisions is now being shed by Michael Grunwald in his excellent article in Time, and reading his article made me feel like a juror in a first degree murder trial. Why? Because I knew that the circumstantial evidence and particularly their unprecedented use of the filibuster, far more than at any point in the history of the filibuster, pointed to the Republicans’ intentions to stop Obama from accomplishing anything at all, good or bad.

It wasn’t that they were just stopping Democratic efforts that they didn’t like; they tried to stop almost everything! Here’s a short list of legislation that the Republicans filibustered, and many of them make no sense since the legislation that was filibustered was very often on issues that should have had front-and-center support by every Republican in the country! So why? Why would the Republicans filibuster or otherwise obstruct almost all legislation in the Senate (as this article from The Atlantic shows so well)?

Many Dems and liberals who were paying attention could see what was going on: the Republicans were saying that Obama’s presidency was going to be a failure, and they were doing their damnedest to make sure of it. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, that Obama could do that was seen as good or right in the eyes of the Republican Party, and they fostered this perception to their rank-and-file. Even the congratulations that some Republicans gave Obama for the killing of Osama bin Laden were muted at best, and many gave him no credit at all for it, even when he was was given truly high praise by the admiral in charge of our SpecOps forces. What brought on this intolerance, this hatred of everything Obama says or does?

This quote from Grunwald’s article referenced above perfectly illustrates what happened:

David Obey, then chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, met with his GOP counterpart, Jerry Lewis, to explain what Democrats had in mind for the stimulus and ask what Republicans wanted to include. Jerry’s response was, “I’m sorry, but leadership tells us we can’t play,” Obey told me. “Exact quote: ‘We can’t play.’ What they said right from the get-go was, It doesn’t matter what the hell you do, we ain’t going to help you. We’re going to stand on the sidelines and bitch.”

Read that again: “I’m sorry, but the leadership tells us we can’t play. It doesn’t matter what the hell you do, we ain’t going to help you.” The Republican leadership had decided that there would be zero bipartisanship, zero cooperation by Republicans in Congress. Anything the Obama administration wanted to make happen, the Republicans would oppose even if they had supported it in the past.

This explains not only the Republican flip-flops on cap and trade to address anthropogenic global warming, and the individual mandate to ensure access to quality health care for all Americans, both of which were once signature Republican positions; it also explains why they filibustered this bill that cut tax breaks for companies that shipped jobs overseas and at the same time gave tax breaks to companies that brought jobs back to America from overseas. It explains why they filibustered this bill (which filibuster the Dems eventually broke) that opened up billions in loans to small businesses through the SBA and gave billions more in tax breaks to small businesses. The Republicans filibustered Obama’s infrastructure bill, his jobs package, and his bill to provide states emergency funding to hire teachers and first responders.

Again, it’s like the Republican said: “…it doesn’t matter what the hell you do, we ain’t going to help you,” and by their actions showed that this applied to nearly all legislation, whether good or bad, even if it had had near-lockstep support by Republicans in the past. Witness the epic obstructionism by the Republicans in the debt-ceiling debate last year that cost America our credit rating; remember when House Speaker John Boehner bragged that “I got 98% of what I wanted” in the negotiations with the White House? And yet many of the House Republicans still opposed any deal to raise the debt ceiling, no matter the consequences.

And now the deliberate intransigence and intolerance by the Republican Party leadership is tearing at the party from within, as this recent article by longtime Blogcritics resident and leader of the Republican Liberty Caucus Dave Nalle clearly shows. On the orders of the Republican Party elite, “bipartisanship,” “negotiation,” and “moderate” have become terms of shame and scorn among conservatives. If the Republicans lose in the upcoming November elections, it seems that their reaction will be anything but realization that they need to change their message and return to being a “big tent” party; instead, it’s much more likely that they will demand ever more conservative policies from their politicians, never mind that their current positions are much further to the right than the Republicans would have tolerated (much less supported) during the Reagan era.

Indeed, any careful analysis of the fiscal policies supported by the current Republican presidential ticket will reveal that they not only largely support the same policies that nearly drove America off the fiscal cliff under George W. Bush, but do so to an even greater extent: larger tax cuts for the wealthy and the corporate elite, larger spending cuts to everything but Medicare and Defense, and yet more deregulation of Wall Street. Bush’s policies nearly brought America and the world into another depression, yet Romney wants those same polices, but even more so? To make matters worse, the foreign policy positions of both Romney and Ryan are closely aligned with those of George W. Bush. And where did that get us? Afghanistan and Iraq.

Yet the Republicans don’t really have a choice, do they? They’ve painted themselves into a rhetorical corner by deciding to oppose whatever the Democrats want, regardless of whether the Democrats want what the Republicans have supported in the past. That means that if the Democrats want to do something that is good for America, the Republicans force themselves to vehemently oppose it, and instead wind up supporting positions that are not popular and have brought nothing but fiscal and social disaster in the past. But what else can they do? They can’t allow themselves to work with the Democrats, the very suggestion of which is strictly forbidden.

How can the GOP return to its glory days? They can’t, not for many years. Why? I wrote about what was happening to the GOP in early 2009, and many pundits and elder politicians of both parties have said much the same since then: that the Republican’s perpetual game of “I’m more conservative than you” is becoming an inescapable spiral down to marginalization. I don’t think there’s a way out of that spiral, not now. Oh, the Republicans are not going quietly into that good night, they’ll still win many victories and some presidential elections, especially given the effects of their voter suppression efforts and the Citizens United decision that now allows unlimited corporate and private funding to all federal, state, and local elections. But the continuing changes in America’s demography are irresistible. Unless the GOP evolves to once more become a big-tent party, it is only a matter of time before it is marginalized.

The greatest danger lay in the fact that in order for the GOP to become once again a big tent party, there will have to be a great social change in America. Great social changes rarely come without great social upheavals; and that’s something that few of us really want to see.

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • Igor

    That was sudden, wasn’t it? Congresscritters are not happy to receive the no-payraise bite that they think their constituents should put up with.

  • tdawg

    the only thing I noticed that past legistlature w/ lightning speed was there pay raise

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Warren –

    You still haven’t read the article, much less checked the links therein where you will find that the Republicans filibustered bills that they themselves co-sponsored, just to keep Obama from accomplishing anything. Now are you going to tell me that the bills they co-sponsored were actually Obama’s policies, that they weren’t (in Republican eyes) good for America? No? Then WHY did they filibuster them?


    The answer lay in the quotes contained in the article, in the links where you can find where the Republicans themselves stated that they were not going to be bipartisan AT ALL. NOT AT ALL.

    Reagan would be ashamed of today’s GOP. He used to claim that he didn’t leave the Democratic Party, but the Democratic Party left him. Now, so has the GOP.

  • Re: comment # 9, Glenn, you say, “… the GOP put party above country.” I disagree with that statement. The GOP is trying to stop Obama’s POLICIES, thus putting country first. If, as you suggest, the GOP put party first, how did they do so well in November 10?

    And I can’t help but notice that you pick and choose what history to observe, while ignoring other history, such as the period from January 09 through November 10.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Warren –

    Have you EVER listened to Rusah Limbaugh?

    Yes I did, back in the day when I was a conservative very much like you. And if you’ll read the rest of the article, you’ll see how the GOP put party above country. But that’s all just fact and history, and as such has no bearing on your opinion.

  • Glenn, I must again ask if you are “for real?”

    First, you refer to Rush Limbaugh’s “I hope he fails” statement, and the media firestrorm that remark created. Have you EVER listened to Rusah Limbaugh? If so, you would know that Limbaugh was referring to his POLICIES rather than (as the MSM portrayed it) a personal reference. Unfortunately, Obama did not fail, as the deficit increase, green energy cronism, Obamacare, unemployment, foodstamps, …., attest.

    Second, may I remind you that from January 2009, until November 2010, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, and Obama had a filibuster-proof Congress. Perhaps those “wasklly Wepublicans” are trying to stop Obama’s policies.

  • Peggy

    I hope he win with much joy especially dealing racist people in this country .,

  • Glenn Contrarian

    There was a bill recently stopped in the Senate – IIRC, it was for hiring more teachers and emergency responders nationwide, but the Republicans filibustered it because Harry Reid wouldn’t let them put in a rider on the bill that would completely defund Obamacare.

    Looks like “Big T” has no clue as to what the Republicans in Congress are doing.

  • Igor

    T: the only bills passed in the Republican house are totally partisan. There’s no hope of them passing, they’re just fakes to fool the easily deceived, as you appear to be.

  • Big T.

    The House has passed many bills, but the Senat (Run by Democrat Harry Reid) won’t even bring it up for a vote or even discuss the issues.So it’s both sides not cooperating, not just the Republicans.

  • John Lake

    Shameless. Exactly.

  • Igor

    IMO, John, the republicans have become shameless in their pursuit of a “Rule or Ruin” policy. They are willing to risk the ruin of the USA to gain rule.

  • John Lake

    The Republican hypocrisy is becoming more apparent daily. How can intelligent men let themselves be led in such mindless fashion? And the obstruction, which they seem to feel is invisible to the average voter, rose from of an election that was founded on bilateral promises to “reach across the aisle.”