Conservatives — June 23, 2012 at 9:50 am

An Oligarchy of Dunces


The conservative plot against America

It’s a scene that will go down in American history.

On the night of President Obama’s inauguration—in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Hoover Administration—leaders of an extremist sect of the GOP met with one goal: destroying the Obama presidency.

Messaging guru Frank Luntz, journalist Fred Barnes and philanderer/historian Newt Gingrich were there along with elected officials including Jim DeMint, Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy. Michael Tomasky explains:

They agreed that night: oppose everything in completely unity. Show, Draper writes, “united and unyielding opposition to the president’s economic policies.”

Make no mistake: Their strategy was to make sure there would be no economic recovery, no jobs and no hope for millions of Americans. And they did this for one reason: to destroy the chances of a second Obama term. This was the strategy that the GOP embraced nationally.

I imagine Lucky Strike sitting down with new agency the day after Don Draper’s “Why I’m Quitting Tobacco” letter came out. The plan: DESTROY DON DRAPER.

But, Draper still got Jaguar and the President managed to reverse the layoff crisis he was left with only months after he took office. In two years, he led us from an economy losing 700,000+ jobs a month to an economy creating private sector jobs constantly. He also rescued the auto industry in a spectacular way, spurred green industries, and passed historic reforms of health care, student loans, credit cards & Wall Street. He ALSO ended Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and appointed stalwart defenders of opportunity & women’s rights, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, to the Supreme Court.

During this entire time, the Republican opposition to these progressive victories was unified and unyielding. Benefiting from an economy that reached Great Depression-provoking inequality under George W. Bush, the GOP exploited fears.

As Obamacare expanded Medicare making it smarter and more cost effective, the Luntz team said they’d cut Medicare and enacted a government-takeover. Before the Stimulus could even begin creating jobs, they said it failed. As one voice, they said the deficit that they had created was a bigger crisis than joblessness.

They all said this with the same words, all with a straight face, all the time.

It worked. Only 24 months after 8 disastrous years of GOP rule, the GOP won the House by depressing the Democratic vote. This was made possible by a Tea Party movement propagandized to repeat the agreed upon talking points by Fox News and funded by millions from billionaires like the Koch brothers.

The President went on to end the Iraq War—the promise that sparked his campaign—and take out Osama bin Laden along with almost all that remained of Al Qaeda.

After the GOP’s unyielding opposition peaked with the first debt hostage situation in American history, the President proposed a comprehensive new jobs plan and began taking steps to do what he could to improve the economy without Congress. The result? Nearly 30 months of private sector job growth.

Now we face the most important election since the last one. We face a GOP that has been emboldened by opposition. A GOP that feels the only response to Wall Street crashing the economy is gutting the safety net, Medicare and financial regulations. A GOP that feels the only solution to massive wealth inequality is massive new tax breaks for the rich.

This is a GOP so drunk on the wine of their mischief that they think they can win pairing Mr. “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” with Mr. “Cut Medicare to Pay for Tax Cuts for the Rich.”

I say “they” because I don’t think Mitt Romney is setting his own course. He had the money, cunning and willingness to lie about anything to get this far. But this is when the big boys take over.

This weekend, two separate conservative cabals to wrangle donors and plot strategy. Rove, Romney and a cast of problematic VP candidates met in Utah with some billionaires as the Koch brothers met with their own fellow plutocrats in California.

The Koch conference touched off an unexpected — and for the Romney campaign, somewhat unwelcome — competition for top-flight moneyed supporters. While Mr. Romney’s campaign officials have made it clear that they appreciate the efforts of wealthy backers like the Kochs, there was consternation among some on his finance team that the brothers decided to move forward with their conference after Mr. Romney scheduled his for the same weekend. As one fund-raiser noted, Mr. Romney is, after all, the candidate.

This division shows that Romney hasn’t yet consolidated the party. However, the opposition to Obama is still unified and unyielding. You can bet the Romney team will come out of Utah set of two or three talking points that will be hammered with nearly two billion dollars of backing from all wings of the right wing.

Image by Matthew

So: What gives me hope? Besides the fact that I can order a pizza to wherever I am, 17- hours-a-day? It’s this: the President is still leading in the polls despite this unprecedented opposition. Nate Silver from the New York Times projects that, if the election were held today, President Obama would have a 62.6% chance of winning. The campaign is finding the right issues to reveal: Mitt Romney’s callous extremism and the fact that our economy is still doing better than the rest of the world.

The GOP had done everything it possibly can to keep the economy from heating up and will cheer any bad news. From now until the election, they will remain singularly focused on opposing the president. The next six months will be a test of the American psyche.

How will this event—this meeting to quash the President, this contract on the middle class—go down in American history? Will we be the victims of our own fear? Or will we be the Americans who saw the GOP for the Kochs that they are?

When I put it like that, I can’t help but feel as if I should start a Kickstarter fundraiser so that I can quit my job and cover this campaign. I need America to be the kind of place where this kind of conspiracy is exposed, shamed and defeated. Don’t you?

Reporting about the conservative cabal that met on the evening of President Obama’s inauguration to plot against a recovery comes from the aptly-titled book Ask Not What Good We Do by Robert Draper.

[CC image of Newt by DonkeyHotey]