A quick trip down memory lane. Democrats had suffered a crushing blow on no other day than the 1st Anniversary of Pres Obama’s Inauguration into office. Jan 20, 2010. We had lost Sen Ted Kennedy’s seat. The fate of the Healthcare bill hung in a balance. It had passed the House earlier in December 2009. The Senate version passed in a cliffhanger moment with ailing WV Senator Robert Bird being wheeled in, and Sen Sherrod Brown flown in by WH straight from a funeral, to cast the critical filibuster-proof vote just a breath before Christmas Day 2009 rolled in, and start of congressional winter recess.
But come January 2010, the two bills needed to be reconciled. On this anniversary date, Scott Brown trounced Martha Cokeley in the MA senate special election. Democrats’ threadbare 60 filibuster-proof caucus, gone. Healthcare reform teetered on brink of collapse. Many Very Serious People in the Beltway, pundits and Democrats told the President to give or radically scale back his Healthcare quest. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel read him the “Political-Implications-Riot-Act.” WH was in a deep funk.
Then came the Republican House’s grand invitation to Pres Obama visit their caucus retreat in Baltimore, MD. They probably wanted to humiliate the president for his recent loss, through fake chivalry.
WH RSVPed with one tiny request, whose acceptance a House GOP member later said was the biggest mistake they ever made. Pres Obama had asked to bring camera crew along.
First were his opening remarks calling for both parties to work together:
There’s a reason that the 1 hr 20 minute Q&A section that followed these opening remarks shook the Beltway political universe, prompting media calls for British-style “Prime Minister’s question Time” tradition to be established here in the US, to engender real dialog among political parties. Of course GOP rejected the idea and it fizzled. But for many Democrats, what became known as The Baltimore Massacre, would be grist for partisan loremaking. One man. 183 GOP congresscritters & their families. (Sinews taut). Room darkened, spotlight on POTUS against black curtained backdrop. T’was like oratory in a theater. No notes. Brilliance extempore.
The entire exchange is worth spending time listening to again in its entirety just for the sheer thrill of watching President Obama glow in the den of the opposition.
However, there is a segment key to the subject of this essay; that President Obama foresaw exactly the predicament that Republicans would be in now, incapable of saying “Yes” to anything he proposes, offers or agrees with them on, that they become convulsed contortionists.
Rep Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) had asked Pres Obama why he won’t take GOP (harebrained) plans on healthcare reform. He patiently tried to explain to her that Democrats HAD included many Republican ideas into the healthcare bills if they were objectively shown to be workable. But the critical point he made was that their reflexive rejection of anything he’s proposed including personal demonization of him, was going to hurt them in the long run.
So, 45 months ago President Obama predicted exactly to a T the current GOP Convulsions. We’ve seen this phenomenon play out over and over, but none of those prior occasions have been as dire as the shutdown we’re in the midst of and the looming economic catastrophe should we enter default.
Speaker Boehner, there is a way to retreat from that feeble ledge. President Obama WILL help you if you let him.
Three years ago today – Pete Souza: “Another snowstorm blanketed Washington for the second time in a few days. Because it was a Saturday, I hung around the White House thinking that the President might venture out in the snow with his daughters. Here they are playing in the Rose Garden in the midst of the storm.” Feb. 6, 2010
9:50: President Obama departs the White House
10:10: Arrives in Annapolis, Md.
10:30: Attends the Senate Democratic Issues Conference
11:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
12:25: President Obama departs Annapolis
12:45: Arrives at the White House
2:0 Will announce nomination of Sally Jewell to head the Interior Department
4:0: Secretary of State John Kerry is ceremonially sworn in by Vice President Biden in Washington
Washington Post: President Obama on Wednesday will nominate Recreational Equipment (REI) chief executive Sally Jewell to head the Interior Department….
The choice of Jewell, who began her career as an engineer for Mobil Oil and worked as a commercial banker before heading a nearly $2 billion outdoors equipment company, represents an unconventional choice for a post usually reserved for career politicians from the West.
But while she boasts less public policy experience than other candidates who had been under consideration, Jewell, who will have to be confirmed by the Senate, has earned national recognition for her management skills and support for outdoor recreation and habitat conservation.
ThinkProgress: Endorsements from the National Rifle Association might be doing political candidates more harm than good, according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling.
In a national survey, 39 percent of voters said that they are less likely to vote for a politician whose candidacy has garnered NRA backing. Only 26 percent believe they’re more likely to support such a candidate.
But more importantly, the number of independent voters are far less likely to see the NRA nod as a good thing: 41 percent say they’re inclined not to support a candidate who’s backed by the NRA…..
NYT: The flaws in the American election system are deep and widespread, extending beyond isolated voting issues in a few locations and flaring up in states rich and poor, according to a major new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts.
The group ranked all 50 states based on more than 15 criteria, including wait times, lost votes and problems with absentee and provisional ballots, and the order often confounds the conventional wisdom.
In 2010, for instance, Mississippi ranked last over all. But it was preceded by two surprises: New York and California.
ThinkProgress: During the November 2012 election, Black and Hispanic voters waited nearly twice as long to vote as whites, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis. New York Times graphs summarizing the analysis show that white voters waited an average of 12.7 minutes, while Black and Hispanic voters waited an average of 20.2 minutes
TPM: When President Obama won in November the electorate also rendered a verdict on the priorities of the two major political parties. Democrats, most voters believe, are more concerned with the plight of the middle class than Republicans, who ran on a platform of actually lowering income taxes on wealthy Americans.
In the intervening months, Republican operatives have become practitioners of a new kind of alchemy, attempting with little success to convince voters that the right’s long-standing agenda is actually an array of policies that coincidentally meets the needs of the middle class.
Enter House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who’s hit upon a new plan. If you can’t turn lead into gold, go out and buy some gold paint.
NYT: Essie Mae Washington-Williams, who lived for decades with a stunning secret — that she was the interracial daughter of Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, a former segregationist who never acknowledged her publicly as his child — died Monday in a nursing home near Columbia, S.C. She was 87.
Strom Thurmond never publicly acknowledged that he was Ms. Washington-Williams’s father.
Six months after her father died at age 100 as the longest-serving senator in history, Ms. Washington-Williams broke her silence.
“My father’s name was James Strom Thurmond,” she said at a news conference in a hotel ballroom in Columbia on Dec. 17, 2003