HAVE WASHINGTON POLITICS COME TO RICHMOND, OR IS IT THE OTHER WAY AROUND? In a National Review piece entitled “How the GOP Pretends Not to Authorize Obama’s Agenda,” Andrew McCarthy (not exactly a tinfoil hat lunatic) exposes the cynical manipulation of the Republican base by its elected leaders in Washington, with the Iran deal being but the latest example:
Under the Corker statute, in order to get the benefit of the review process that enables him to “win” approval of his Iran deal with the support of only one-third (plus one) of one house of Congress, Obama had to provide the entirety of the Iran deal, including all relevant side deals between any parties, by July 19. He has failed to do this. Thus, Congress must not go forward with the review, because (a) that is what the law says, (b) forcing full disclosure is the solemn political commitment Republicans made to voters in justifying the wayward Corker review process, and (c) if they go through with the review process, they will be deemed to have forgiven Obama’s default.
In this connection, it is necessary to address what has brought us to this perilous point: the GOP scheme I call “Surrender . . . Then Play-Fight.” It is a form of political gamesmanship that, as we are seeing, has dire legal and national-security consequences.
“Surrender . . . Then Play-Fight ” is Republican leadership’s shameful approach to “governing.” The quotes around “governing” are intentional. After voters, having trusted the GOP’s 2014 campaign promises to block Obama’s agenda, gave Republicans control of both houses of Congress, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) notoriously said that the party’s primary objective was to show the public that it could “govern.” …
Worse, the “show we can govern” tripe is just a rationalization for capitulating to Obama. GOP leaders said they must prove they can overcome legislative gridlock and (all together now) “get things done.” Perforce, the way a legislature “gets things done” is by helping the president do the things he wants to do.
Since the president is currently Obama, the people who elected Republicans obviously wanted them to stop things from getting done. The resulting rage of its increasingly estranged base puts the GOP in a quandary: Republicans must avoid being seen as supporting the things they are getting done — i.e., the Obama agenda. So some sleight-of-hand is in order, some schemes to grease the wheels for Obama while posing as staunch Obama opponents.
Among the most pernicious is “Surrender . . . Then Play-Fight.” It is a legislative template for obscuring the GOP’s enabling of Obama, a ruse designed to make it appear that the president is getting his way with only minority support (i.e., his hardcore Democratic supporters), while Republicans stridently condemn what they have actually voted to allow. Obama is delighted to play along, because he gets what he wants.
Dang, that’s a clever scheme! Where have we seen that before? Oh, right…here in Virginia. Repeatedly. Boehner and McConnell STILL have a lot to learn from the masters of this art in Richmond.