They really thought the Republicans were going to hold hands and sing kumbaya?
The Obama legislative agenda was built around an “advancing tide” theory.
Democrats would start with bills that targeted relatively narrow problems, such as expanding health care for low-income children, reforming Pentagon contracting practices and curbing abuses by credit-card companies. Republicans would see the victories stack up and would want to take credit alongside a popular president. As momentum built, larger bipartisan coalitions would form to tackle more ambitious initiatives.
But Republican votes never materialized — at least not in meaningful form that the White House had in mind. The first hint of GOP obstruction had emerged in January, when Obama made an early trip to Capitol Hill to urge support for his stimulus bill.
Standing at the microphones in the Ohio Clock corridor after the closed-door meeting with House Republicans, Obama expressed hope that his adversaries could “put politics aside” and support the bill.
But even as he spoke, House GOP leaders were urging their rank-and-file to vote against the rescue package. Obama had just departed when House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) issued a statement calling the plan a “wasteful and unfocused package.”
The bill received zero Republican votes in the House. Eight months later, by the time bipartisan health-care talks collapsed in September, the GOP outreach effort was effectively dead.
Democrats blamed the breakdown on Republican determination to undermine Obama. “If there’s a political strategy not to cooperate, there’s not a whole lot that you can do about it,” said White House senior adviser David Axelrod.
Right. There were no options. You guys were victimized.