Republicans’ plotting to block a Democratic president goes public
A bill under consideration in the House would, among other things, expand the child tax credit to the benefit of parents earning $40,000 a year or less.
In the 2022 General Social Survey, over two-thirds of people who fell into that category identified themselves as Republicans or independents. About a quarter of them lived in the census region including Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma — all red states.
But Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) isn’t sure about the legislation. After all, he said on Wednesday, “passing a tax bill that makes the president look good — mailing out checks before the election — means he could be reelected, and then we won’t extend the 2017 tax cuts.”
Never mind that the mailing-out-checks thing is explicitly prohibited in the bill’s language. As for that explicit admission from Grassley that a (short-term!) benefit to low-income parents isn’t worth it if it might mean another four years of President Biden? That’s 15 years of Republican strategy, said out loud.
In 2012, with President Barack Obama’s reelection looming, Time magazine published an excerpt of a book by its reporter Michael Grunwald (who is now at Politico). It documented how Republican leaders in Congress moved quickly in the wake of the 2008 election to develop a strategy that would bring the party back to power, even if it meant not passing legislation that improved the lives of Americans.
Isn't that despicable? They come right out and explicitly admit they are opposed to any legislation passed during a Democrat administration, even (and especially) if it would improve the lives of their fellow Americans, just to avoid any possibility that it might make Democrats look good!
Grunwald described a Republican retreat in early 2009.
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) “began his presentation at a House Republican leadership retreat in Annapolis, Md., with an existential political question: ‘If the purpose of the majority is to govern … what is our purpose?’ The answer was not to promote Republican policies, or stop Democratic policies, or even make Democratic bills less offensive to Republicans. ‘The purpose of the minority is to become the majority,’ Sessions wrote. ‘That is the entire conference’s mission.’”
Over on the Senate side, a familiar name — Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — had a similar plan.
“‘We got shellacked, but don’t forget we still represent half the population,’ McConnell said. ‘Republicans need to stick together as a team.’ Or as Ohio senator George Voinovich summarized the strategy: ‘If Obama was for it, we had to be against it.’”
We've seen this before. McConnell has never shied away from admitting that he was determined to oppose anything the other side proposed or tried to do, no matter how good it was, just because they
proposed it! There is nothing fair or admirable about that kind of attitude! He famously said that his number one objective was to make sure that Barack Obama failed as President!
Grunwald called this the “Party of No” approach. In 2016, after Donald Trump unexpectedly won the White House, Grunwald declared in a Politico piece that the Party of No had won. The obstructive strategy, he argued, “helped Republicans take back the House in 2010, the Senate in 2014, and the White House in 2016.”
Grunwald makes the convincing argument that McConnell’s aggressive decision to block Obama from filling a vacant Supreme Court seat might have pulled enough Republicans to the polls that year to make the difference.
But the Party of No approach also overlapped with the party base’s increasing hostility to the establishment itself. Even in the run-up to the 2010 midterms, Republican leaders (including Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the future House speaker) were trying to take the anti-establishment energy embodied in the tea party and co-opt it toward the party’s familiar economic messaging.
No precept or claim is more suspect or more likely to be false than one that can only be supported by invoking the claim of Divine authority for it--no matter who or what claims such authority.