Friday, August 31, 2012

Crocodile Tears

Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers corporate front group, has been running in eleven swing states an ad (video, below) in which former Obama supporters express their sadness that Barack Obama has failed to be the superstar they expected.  According to a Wall Street Journal blogger

“In 2008, I voted for President Obama with no reluctance,” says Richard, a silver-haired caucasian.  Talking about the deficit, Richard adds, “He inherited a bad situation, but he made it worse.”

A woman named Robin, wearing a Star of David around her neck, says, “I still believe in hope and change,” an Obama campaign slogan from 2008, “I just don’t think Obama’s the way to go for that.”

A woman named Maria says “I think he’s a great person, I don’t think feel is the right leader for our country, though.”

All three speak with a tone of sadness, not anger, which a Republican ad strategist says won’t “put off” independent and undecided voters.

Mitt Romney is sad, too, if his acceptance speech last night is any indication.   He lamented

This was the hope and change America voted for....Many of you felt that way on Election Day four years ago. Hope and Change had a powerful appeal.... When that hard fought election was over, when the yard signs came down and the television commercials finally came off the air, Americans were eager to go back to work, to live our lives the way Americans always have – optimistic and positive and confident in the future.

Romney added "I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed.   But his promises gave way to disappointment and division.

Oh, boo hoo.      It's hard to believe the former Massachusetts governor, who on November 5, 2008 began his quest to become the 45th President of the United States, was secretly aching for Barack Obama to succeed.  Still, Romney was not in public office and could have little impact on the Obama presidency.

Not so Paul Ryan, then ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee.  Sam Stein reported in October

As President Barack Obama was celebrating his inauguration at various balls, top Republican lawmakers and strategists were conjuring up ways to submarine his presidency at a private dinner in Washington.

The event -- which provides a telling revelation for how quickly the post-election climate soured -- serves as the prologue of Robert Draper's much-discussed and heavily-reported new book, "Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives."

According to Draper, the guest list that night (which was just over 15 people in total) included Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.), along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). The non-lawmakers present included Newt Gingrich, several years removed from his presidential campaign, and Frank Luntz, the long-time Republican wordsmith. Notably absent were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) -- who, Draper writes, had an acrimonious relationship with Luntz.

For several hours in the Caucus Room (a high-end D.C. establishment), the book says they plotted out ways to not just win back political power, but to also put the brakes on Obama's legislative platform.

"If you act like you're the minority, you're going to stay in the minority," Draper quotes McCarthy as saying. "We've gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign."

We don't know whether Paul D. Ryan was a ringleader of the conspiracy to take down President Obama or a mere participant.   But "it's amusing," The New York Times' David Firestone writes, "to hear Mr. Romney declare that Americans should throw Mr. Obama out of office if every day isn't special or exciting."   And it's outrageous that now, after their party did all it could to sabotage the President, some Republicans are feigning sadness and despair that Obama has not been a combination of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

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