Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Not So Gentle Reminder to Republicans About Their Obstruction of President Obama From Day 1

I was against the Iraq war for two reasons. First, the Bush administration’s argument that oil revenue would pay for the war effort seemed far-fetched. While I didn’t perform even the most rudimentary of calculations to support my instincts, the persistent $500 billion dollar deficits that existed for the remainder of Bush’s presidency more than validated my economic intuition. Second, was Congressional testimony from an army officer who argued that emotional problems would be far lower due to the different combat methods employed by the U.S. armed forces. Subsequent spikes in soldier suicides indicate this prediction was also wrong and that my initial analysis was correct. So, while I would love to publicly state that my opposition to the war was grounded on a deeply held philosophical set of principles, it in fact was based on the far less romantic grounds of economic analysis.

It was also during this time that the political right began to attack the political left as unpatriotic and treasonous for their opposition to Bush’s Iraq operation. This didn’t occur in more mainstream settings. But conservative radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox news personalities such as Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity were quick to make these allegations. I mention this because I’m beginning to hear similar suggestions from conservative friends related to my opposition to President Trump. I’ve recently been told at various times that Hillary should tell her supporters to get in line and that I look like a fool for my opposition.

To this I would note that Republicans aggressively opposed Obama’s presidency from day 1. On January 16, 2009, Rush Limbaugh proclaimed on his show that he hoped Obama would fail. The Republicans decided to oppose Obama’s agenda before his inauguration (From the Hill on 8/12/12 New book details GOP’s early opposition to Obama stimulus):

“The New New Deal,” authored by Time Magazine's Michael Grunwald, quotes Vice President Joe Biden as saying seven different Republican senators had told him before the Obama inauguration that the GOP would oppose Obama's agenda en masse, and it reports that then-House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) surprised members of the GOP leadership team by vowing in a private meeting that no Republicans would support the Democratic recovery plan.

On February 19, 2009, Rick Santelli of CNBC gave an on-air anti-Obama rant that many credit with starting the tea party movement, whose protests started in earnest in the spring of 2009 -- not long after Obama was sworn in as president. And let’s not forget the birther movement, which was not only designed to de-legitimize president Obama but was also championed by none other than President Trump. He didn't disavow his propagating this obviously racist theory until several months ago -- and then only in a very half-hearted way. And this is before I mention over 100s if not 1000s of racist postings, photo-shops and words directed at president Obama during his entire presidency (Just one example: how many other presidents have been told "you lie" during a state of the union speech?).

So, to my conservative friends, please note that your side of the political aisle was more than obstructionist during Obama’s term. And a not insignificant amount of this was racist in tone and delivery. Please forgive me if I think your critique of my opposition to Trump rings hollow.