War On Obama?

February 14, 2009

I don’t know what Judd Gregg’s reasoning was when he withdrew his name from the Commerce appointment, but it’s simply not credible that it dawned on him this late in the game what the administration’s position is on the stimulus in particular and the economy as a whole.

I do give a lot of credibility to Andrew Sullivan’s argument that the GOP is conducting an all-out war on Obama:

“This much is now clear. Their clear and open intent is to do all they can, however they can, to sabotage the new administration (and the economy to boot). They want failure. Even now. Even after the last eight years. Even in a recession as steeply dangerous as this one. There are legitimate debates to be had; and then there is the cynicism and surrealism of total political war. We now should have even less doubt about what kind of people they are. And the mountain of partisan vitriol Obama will have to climb every day of the next four or eight years.”

A few points to support this. First, Judd Gregg has all but admitted that Obama never had a chance of getting more than 3 Republican votes from the get-go. Here’s Gregg on CNBC:

“Carl Quintanilla: Well, Senator, since you were nominated it’s become quite clear that the margin that the president is going to rely on in the Senate has come down to really three Senators.

Sen. Gregg: I think it’s always been that margin.”

Now Gregg says that he himself will vote against the stimulus bill.

Second, the GOP’s rhetoric about this bill has been beyond the bounds of reason. A prime example:

“Is there really $30 million in the new stimulus package devoted to saving the salt marsh mouse in Nancy Pelosi’s district?

That’s what some conservatives are now charging, and the claim seems to be gaining some traction with elected GOP officials and conservative media outlets, who are using it to argue that the bill is stuffed with Dem pork.

But there isn’t any such money in the bill. And Pelosi’s office is saying that the claim is a ‘total fabrication.’

How did this one get going? Yesterday a House Republican leadership staffer circulated a background email, which I obtained, charging that GOP staffers had been told by an unnamed Federal agency that if it got money from the stim package, it would spend ‘thirty million dollars for wetland restoration in the San Francisco Bay Area — including work to protect the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse.’

The GOP staffer’s email didn’t say what agency it was. It didn’t say the money was actually in the package — just that an unnamed agency had said they would spend it on that if they got it.

But conservatives picked up the claim and began stating as fact that the mouse money was in the bill. On Fox News yesterday, Mike Huckabee blasted the bill for containing money for Pelosi’s mouse, and today GOP Rep Dan Lundgren hammered the alleged mouse money in the bill as ‘absurd.’ Today’s Washington Times ran with a story called: ‘Pelosi’s mouse slated for $30M slice of cheese.’

But hey, who cares if it’s true? It’s a message that Glenn Beck and his ilk can repeat ad infinitum. Nobody watching Glenn Beck is going to bother to check whether or not it’s true – at least they’re not going to check anywhere outside the Beck-Limbaugh-Hannity-Severin echo chamber.

And third, they seem to be convinced that an all-out war with the White House is winnable. So what if the county’s economy is going down the tubes? The GOP utterly destroying the Obama presidency is clearly far more important than solving the economic crisis. He’s a socialist, for chrissakes!

From their Bizarro-world point of view, Judd Gregg is a hero who has just put another nail in the coffin of a presidency in a steep downward spiral:

“But the New Hampshire senator’s surprise decision to remove himself from consideration as President Barack Obama’s commerce secretary Thursday has provided the GOP with a new rallying cry, and a new hero against a foe who just a few weeks ago seemed almost unassailable.

In a way, it’s all a testament to just how far the Republican Party have fallen; what passes for victory now is an embarrassing flip-flop by an admired GOP senator and the passage of a massive economic recovery bill that most Republicans on the Hill oppose bitterly. When Obama’s stimulus bill clears the House today, Republicans will celebrate by pointing to how much House Democrats did without them – and then hope against hope that voters don’t notice if the economy improves as a result.”

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