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News & Current Events Discuss Not My Circus, Not My Monkey at the General Forum; The Party of No: New Details on the GOP Plot to Obstruct Obama TIME just published “The Party of No,” ...

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Old 11-06-2014, 09:34 PM
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The Party of No: New Details on the GOP Plot to Obstruct Obama

TIME just published “The Party of No,” an article adapted from my new book, The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era. It reveals some of my reporting on the Republican plot to obstruct President Obama before he even took office, including secret meetings led by House GOP whip Eric Cantor (in December 2008) and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (in early January 2009) in which they laid out their daring (though cynical and political) no-honeymoon strategy of all-out resistance to a popular President-elect during an economic emergency. “If he was for it,” former Ohio Senator George Voinovich explained, “we had to be against it.” The excerpt includes a special bonus nugget of Mitt Romney dissing the Tea Party.

But as we say in the sales world: There’s more! I’m going to be blogging some of the news and larger themes from the book here at TIME.com, and I’ll kick it off with more scenes from the early days of the Republican strategy of No. Read on to hear what Joe Biden’s sources in the Senate GOP were telling him, some candid pillow talk between a Republican staffer and an Obama aide, and a top Republican admitting his party didn’t want to “play.” I’ll start with a scene I consider a turning point in the Obama era, when the new President went to the Hill to extend his hand and the GOP spurned it.

On Jan. 27, 2009, House Republican leader John Boehner opened his weekly conference meeting with an announcement: Obama would make his first visit to the Capitol around noon, to meet exclusively with Republicans about his economic-recovery plan. “We’re looking forward to the President’s visit,” Boehner said.

The niceties ended there, as Boehner turned to the $815 billion stimulus bill that House Democrats had just unveiled. Boehner complained that it would spend too much, too late, on too many Democratic goodies. He urged his members to trash it on cable, on YouTube, on the House floor: “It’s another run-of-the-mill, undisciplined, cumbersome, wasteful Washington spending bill … I hope everyone here will join me in voting no!”

Cantor’s whip staff had been planning a “walk-back” strategy in which they would start leaking that 50 Republicans might vote yes, then that they were down to 30 problem children, then that they might lose 20 or so. The idea was to convey momentum. “You want the members to feel like, Oh, the herd is moving. I’ve got to move with the herd,” explains Rob Collins, Cantor’s chief of staff at the time. That way, even if a dozen Republicans ultimately defected, it would look as if Obama failed to meet expectations.

But when he addressed the conference, Cantor adopted a different strategy. “We’re not going to lose any Republicans,” he declared. His staff was stunned.

“We’re like, Uhhhhh, we have to recalibrate,” Collins recalls.

Afterward, Cantor’s aides asked if he was sure he wanted to go that far out on a limb. Zero was a low number. Centrists and big-spending appropriators from Obama-friendly districts would be sorely tempted to break ranks. If Cantor promised unanimity and failed to deliver, the press would have the story it craved: Republicans divided, dysfunction junction, still clueless after two straight spankings.

But Cantor said yes, he meant zero. He was afraid that if the Democrats managed to pick off two or three Republicans, they’d be able to slap a “bipartisan” label on the bill. “We can get there,” he said. “If we don’t get there, we can try like hell to get there.”

Shortly before 11 a.m., the AP reported that Boehner had urged Republicans to oppose the stimulus. Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs handed Obama a copy of the story in the Oval Office, just before he left for the Hill to make his case for the stimulus, an unprecedented visit to the opposition after just a week in office. “You know, we still thought this was on the level,” Gibbs says. Obama political aide David Axelrod says that after the President left, White House aides were buzzing about the insult. And they didn’t even know that Cantor had vowed to whip a unanimous vote — which, ultimately, he did.

“It was stunning that we’d set this up and, before hearing from the President, they’d say they were going to oppose this,” Axelrod says. “Our feeling was, we were dealing with a potential disaster of epic proportions that demanded cooperation. If anything was a signal of what the next two years would be like, it was that.”

But that wasn’t the only signal. A few other examples:

• Vice President Biden told me that during the transition, he was warned not to expect any bipartisan cooperation on major votes. “I spoke to seven different Republican Senators who said, ‘Joe, I’m not going to be able to help you on anything,’ ” he recalled. His informants said McConnell had demanded unified resistance. “The way it was characterized to me was, ‘For the next two years, we can’t let you succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back,’ ” Biden said. The Vice President said he hasn’t even told Obama who his sources were, but Bob Bennett of Utah and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania both confirmed they had conversations with Biden along those lines.

“So I promise you — and the President agreed with me — I never thought we were going to get Republican support,” Biden said.

• One Obama aide said he received a similar warning from a Republican Senate staffer he was seeing at the time. He remembered asking her one morning in bed, How do we get a stimulus deal? She replied, Baby, there’s no deal!

“This is how we get whole,” she said with a laugh. “We’re going to do to you what you did to us in 2006.”

• David Obey, then chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, met with his GOP counterpart, Jerry Lewis, to explain what Democrats had in mind for the stimulus and ask what Republicans wanted to include. “Jerry’s response was, ‘I’m sorry, but leadership tells us we can’t play,’ ” Obey told me. “Exact quote: ‘We can’t play.’ What they said right from the get-go was, It doesn’t matter what the hell you do, we ain’t going to help you. We’re going to stand on the sidelines and bitch.”

Lewis blames Obey and the Democrats for the committee’s turn toward extreme partisanship, but he doesn’t deny that GOP leaders made a decision not to play. “The leadership decided there was no play to be had,” he says. Republicans recognized that after Obama’s big promises about bipartisanship, they could break those promises by refusing to cooperate. In the words of Congressman Tom Cole, a deputy Republican whip: “We wanted the talking point: ‘The only thing bipartisan was the opposition.’ ”
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Old 11-06-2014, 09:39 PM
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Mikey, that's not you rootin' for failure is it? Isn't that one of your fav defenses of Obama and Democrats?
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Old 11-06-2014, 09:41 PM
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Just keeping the record clear boss.
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Mikey, that's not you rootin' for failure is it? Isn't that one of your fav defenses of Obama and Democrats?
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Old 11-06-2014, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Manitou View Post
What Mexican president has had trouble securing Mexico's border from Northern intrusion?
There are no northern intrusions into Mexico. People from America go to Mexico via cruise ships. Illegal immigrants go through Mexico, they are not welcome there, to get to the U.S. The Middle Class of Mexico, all beneficiaries of the NAFTA Treaty during the Clinton years, no longer emigrates to America........STFN
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Old 11-06-2014, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by AZRWinger View Post
Your political philosophy aligns perfectly with Obama's fundamental transformation a product of the radical Left. Inalienable "rights" in this scheme are an ever expanding Christmas list of goodies to be provided by the Federal government plundering the earnings of A to give a few crumbs to B after the cronies and bureaucrats take their cut off the top.
This is a false statement based upon a lack of knowledge. I seriously doubt that President Obama understands the inalienable rights of a person but then few Americans understand them either.
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Old 11-06-2014, 11:37 PM
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SHIVATD has claimed a position of no responsibility. It is what the libertarians always do. Their candidates never seem to run to win, but to make statements. Often such political activism has enough impact to tilt the election away from what the majority would have wanted, but not always in the direction favored.
Another false statement based upon a lack of information. Libertarian Party members are gaining a foothold in American politics starting at the local level and numerous Libertarians have been elected to government across the nation.

It is, of course, it is virtually impossible for a Libertarian to be elected at the Federal level of government because the Democrats and Repubublicans mutually agree on one thing. Keep anyone except Republicans or Democrats from having any chance or opportunity to reach the public at the federal level. Federal elections are rigged against proportional representation of the people in Congress and the Presidency is controlled by the Presidential Debates where Libertarian candidates are persona non grata.

Of note today the "majority" are Independents (about 40%) when compared to Democrats (about 30%) and Republicans (about 25%) based upon a recent poll as I recall.
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Old 11-07-2014, 12:34 AM
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What POTUS has ever come close to securing the border? How many trillions would that cost. And for what?
Obama simply refuses to work with Congress to achieve any form of compromise, Instead, he turns his back as if he has no interest then demands Congress do its job serving him. You did recall the SOTUS where he announced he was taking certain actions by decree and Congress could come along or not, don't you?

Obama holds border security hostage for amnesty for illegal aliens. It is take it or leave it while he promises illegal action to circumvent the law.
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Old 11-07-2014, 12:42 AM
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This is a false statement based upon a lack of knowledge. I seriously doubt that President Obama understands the inalienable rights of a person but then few Americans understand them either.
Another denial based upon partisan rhetoric. Obama understands what you call inalienable rights of a person very well. They are part of the fundamental transformation, they are called entitlements as in everyone is entitled to food, clothing, shelter and medical insurance provided by the Federal government. That is the same philosophy you espouse.
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Old 11-07-2014, 03:20 AM
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Another denial based upon partisan rhetoric. Obama understands what you call inalienable rights of a person very well. They are part of the fundamental transformation, they are called entitlements as in everyone is entitled to food, clothing, shelter and medical insurance provided by the Federal government. That is the same philosophy you espouse.
Just curious but what third world country are you posting from? What do you think about sewage systems?
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Old 11-07-2014, 07:20 AM
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Just curious but what third world country are you posting from? What do you think about sewage systems?
They're for sh!t......
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