Despite his best efforts to kiss the asses of as many Republicans as he can to get them to support the domestic recovery bill, President Obama goes into the House vote tonight assuming that all of his political capital was wasted in trying to get at most a dozen House Republicans to vote for the Democrats’ flawed but necessary bill. After all the dinners with conservative pundits, after all the discussions at the White House with Republicans who larded unaccountable billions upon Wall Street and disaster capitalist GOP contractors over the last eight years, the best Obama is hoping for is a dozen Republicans to vote with the Democratic majority Wednesday night.
The rest of them complain that there aren’t enough tax cuts, and there’s too much spending in the bill. This coming, again, from the same people who didn’t give a damn about Main Street or accountability these last eight years, and who couldn't shovel money fast enough out of the country. And even before he met with them yesterday, they were told by their leaders that no matter how smart and charming he is, they must vote against him when the bills come to a vote? Sound familiar, like 1993 for example?
Yet Obama pandered to them anyway, and will be kicked in the nuts tonight for his efforts. Oh wait, he did manage to strip family planning money out of the bill to try and buy wing nut votes, a futile gesture. And they’ll still complain anyway, while Obama lamely complains about “politics as usual” and stresses that he wants to keep politics out of it. He and even the Democratic leadership seem, as David Sirota noted, to be more interested in passing a bipartisan bill so that both parties can own the recovery effort, than in passing something bold that has large public support, at a time when even the GOP admits he can do whatever he wants without any GOP support.
As a comparison, please remember that Bill Clinton and Al Gore went ahead and passed their economic package with not a single GOP vote, and then received the lion's share of the credit from the public years later for the 1990's prosperity. Does anyone credit Newt Gingrich or Bob Dole for that decade's job gains and rising incomes? Hell no! But they do remember that the GOP abdicated their responsibility back in 1993 to be obstructionist.
As Turkana said yesterday, and I have been saying since the blog started, the GOP won’t respect you until you cut them in an alley fight. If Obama puts in all this effort to buy their votes and gets the cold shoulder, then let’s see what kind of guts our new president has. Because I know if Hillary Clinton had won with 350 electoral votes by running on a platform of universal health care, and putting Main Street over Wall Street, only to see the GOP leadership do this right out of the box, she and Rahm Emanuel would have cut John Boehner’s nuts off and made Mitch McConnell eat them, every damn day.