For those people who somehow believed that the lack of progress on almost anything in Washington had something to do with legitimate policy disagreements on which there is legitimately no common ground, journalist Robert Draper has some surprising news: stonewalling President Obama was the GOP’s plan from the get-go.
For everyone else, the big reveal in Draper’s new book Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives might simply serve to underscore what they already believed.
Draper reports that, on the evening of Obama’s inauguration in 2009, a group of Republican leaders — including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) — sat down to a private dinner at the DC steakhouse The Caucus Room and devised a plan.
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 [Rep. Kevin] McCarthy [(R-CA)]as saying. “We’ve gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign.”
They came up with specific lines of attack to start Obama’s presidency off right, so to speak, and then Newt reportedly left the crew with this closer:
“You will remember this day,” Draper reports Newt Gingrich as saying on the way out. “You’ll remember this as the day the seeds of 2012 were sown.”
When Mitch McConnell said in October 2010 that his party’s primary goal in the next Congress was to make Obama a one-term president, it was treated as remarkably candid and deeply cynical. Had he said it publicly in January 2009, it would likely have caused an uproar.
In 2012, however, the people who believe that the Republicans planned to help govern the country at least as much as they opposed the President’s policies are few and far between.