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January 30, 2009

The GOP Mood


Most of the wire photos (1, 2) on Wednesday — offering Republican’s Mike Pence, Minority Whip Eric Cantor (headless) and Minority Leader Boehner reacting to Obama’s stimulus plan– were more accommodating than this. As already noted, Obama swept into the Capitol that day to meet with the Republican leadership, then he drowned them out of the press coverage.

Boehner and company have been pretty brash in contesting the legislation, which not a single Republican House member voted in favor of Thursday. In this photo, by the excellent Washington photographer Melina Mara, she takes an unvarnished look at the “emotional underside” — as well as the risk being felt climbing out on that limb.

(image Melina Mara-TWP. January 28, 2009. Via WAPO Day in Photos, January 29, 2009)

  • mjfgates

    … oh wait. Was that inconsiderate? perhaps I should just snicker quietly at them instead.
    They’ve got good reason to be nervous. They’ve just voted against climbing out of the next Great Depression, and there’s nothing in sight to distract their constituents from that fact.

  • Agitationist

    Is it bad that this fills me with glee? Should we not get too cocky?

  • desertwind

    Off with their heads!

  • Alan

    Think about what an awful position these people are in – they’ve got nothing. Obama is riding a wave of high popularity, the public is in favor of the stimulus package and their party doesn’t know what it’s going to do next. They’re taking marching orders from a talk radio personality. Politically, they’ve got nothing to gain by supporting the president now; if he succeeds Democrats will pick up even more seats in Congress in 2010 and they’ll look weak and powerless (kind of like they do in the photo.) If they get behind the stimulus package and it fails, they’re part of the failure. But if they all stand against it and it fails, they say, “See? We tried to tell you…” The only problem is, to stand in opposition to the stimulus package as it moves forward is to reveal themselves as the calculating, cold hearted, politics first – screw the country hypocrites that they are. But hey, Rush has already laid his cards on the table. The look on Boener’s face tells you he knows what a lousy hand he has to play.

  • cenoxo

    11 Democrats were thus the only ones in the House who actually voted against Obama’s stimulus package. Maybe they’re afraid of climbing into the next Great Depression.
    Whose side are they on, anyway?

  • cenoxo

    Obama swept into the Capitol that day to meet with the Republican leadership, then he drowned them out of the press coverage.
    Was that Obama’s political strategy, or was it the fault of an enamored press?
    Drowning out your opponents is not a good thing if he hopes to usher in a new era of government diplomacy and discourse. Are they to be included in the conversation only if they agree with Obama’s proposals? (It is disturbing that not one Republican actually voted against the Stimulus package, but abstention carries its own message.)
    If America’s press is paying too much attention to the Incumbent and too little attention to the opposition, then they — and we — haven’t learned anything at all during the last eight years. From former Salon writer Eric Boehlert’s 2006 book Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush:

    Battered by accusations of a liberal bias and determined to prove their conservative critics wrong, the press during the run-up to the war — timid, deferential, unsure, cautious, and often intentionally unthinking — came as close as possible to abdicating its reason for existing in the first place, which is to accurately inform citizens, particularly during times of great national interest. Indeed, the MSM’s failings were all the more important because of the unusually influential role they played in advance of the war-of-choice with Iraq. “When America has been attacked — at Pearl Harbor, or as on September 11 — the government needed merely to tell the people that it was our duty to respond, and the people rightly conferred their authority,” noted Harold Meyerson in the American Prospect magazine. “But a war of choice is a different matter entirely. In that circumstance, the people will ask why. The people will need to be convinced that their sons and daughters and husbands and wives should go halfway around the world to fight a nemesis that they didn’t really know was a nemesis.

    Our military misadventures continue into their third term, but we’re also at the run-up to an unprecedented economic battle that will affect generations of Americans. The press and the public — especially those who believe Obama is the great White House hope — had better raise every last objection we can think of to the grand Plan, and thoroughly investigate its possible outcomes before signing on the bottom line.
    In any Great Game, your opponents may see your weaknesses more clearly than you do. Before asking for a blank check to go to war, any war, it is wise to listen to them.
    Hold your friends close, but hold your enemies closer.

  • Alan

    What are the Republicans offering? What’s their idea? Tax cuts – that’s their answer. The same great idea they had when they were running the country for 8 years, the same excellent strategy that led us where we are today. “Your opponents may see your weaknesses more clearly than you do.” Yeah, and they may not. They may be do nothing more than being obstructionist, because that’s the way they play. The people of the United States spoke loud and clear in November. They voted for Democrats. They voted for Obama. He’s reaching out to the other side and they’re acting like he’s supposed to let them keep calling the shots, like they didn’t completely screw up when they held the reigns. As for “military misadventures continue into their third term…” What, exactly, are you talking about? Are the troops supposed to have come home in the first month?

  • cenoxo

    True, but what’s the bottom-line difference between Republican tax cuts and Democratic tax breaks? No matter who implements them, aren’t you still reducing overall revenues when government services are facing serious shortfalls? And would the amounts that individuals and families finally receive be large enough to make any real difference? I’d like to keep (or be given) an extra $1000 in my pocket, but it won’t even pay one month’s bills.
    Frankly, I don’t think anyone has a one-stop solution — see today’s WaPo article No answer at Davos forum to global meltdown — to a long and complicated train of problems that has taken several decades (with various administrations at the throttle) to pull into the station. There’s plenty of blame to go around, and plenty of long-term thought, effort, and cooperation will be needed to get out of this mess. The point is to not drown anyone out and not send everyone to their respective foxholes.
    Regarding tactical obstructions, the Republicans didn’t block anything this time around: they just withheld their votes as a (rather weak) symbolic protest. Eleven Democrats had the unmitigated gall to actually vote against their own President’s Stimulus: talk about a stab in the back.
    Obama won the 2008 election (he may question the personal worth of that victory in a few years), but 47% of the country didn’t vote for him. Neither he nor the Democrats can drown out all those voices and plunge ahead with their own plans. As proven by his inaugration, we’re still a democracy.
    The hasty and misguided American war in Afghanistan — “Operation Enduring Freedom” (boy, is it ever) — began in October 2001 under the Bush’s first term, continued through Bush’s second term from 2005 to 2009, and is now about to escalated by Obama in his first term from 2009 to God knows when and where. The less hasty (but still misguided) American invasion and occupation of Iraq began in March 2003 during Bush’s first term, continued through Bush’s second term, and has now been inherited by Obama. Official American saber-rattling against Iran began in January 2002 during Bush’s first term, continued through Bush’s second term, and continues with Obama’s first term in 2009. I’m terrible at math, but I’m pretty sure these equal three Presidential terms (although not quite eight years) of American wars and threats.
    It’s another big, complicated mess that Obama has to deal with, and it will take years to extricate ourselves (if we ever do). As shown by the retention of Bush SecDef Gates and Obama’s own foreign policy goals as stated in The Agenda , it doesn’t look like things are going to change very much, very fast. Iraq is winding down as Afghanistan (and — wait for it — Pakistan) winds up, and we’re still glaring at Iran while fanning out all our cards on the table.
    The American military misadventure in Southeast Asia under Kennedy (D), Johnson (D), and Nixon (R) lasted fifteen years before we finally declared victory and gracefully helicoptered out. Hopefully, Obama (D) will pull us out of his inherited wars in Middle Asia before another seven years goes by.

  • cenoxo

    …a long and complicated train of problems that has taken several decades (with various administrations at the throttle) to pull into the station.
    Argh — too many words, needs more picture:

  • Molly

    Boehner looks like he understands the hole he is in. Obstructionist all the way. Oh, the train above was run by the Bush administration for eight years.

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