As I've been noting for weeks now, much of the Beltway press corps refuses to put today's Republican obstructionism in any kind of historical context. Pundits and reporters watch the GOP universally reject virtually every White House initiative and the press pretends it's normal. That's how the game has always been played, goes the narrative.
Not true. The Beltway game has never been played the way it's unfolded under Obama.
Proof? Behold, The National Journal from July 14, 2001. (No link found.) This is how president Bush, who needed a partisan Supreme Court to seat him in office, was greeted by Democrats who ran Congress at the time:
President Bush was worried. The House committee handling his
education bill was scheduled to vote on it in a few days, and
conservative support for the measure was slipping. But Bush knew
just whom to call.
Yes, the California liberal and ranking Democrat on the
House Education and the Workforce Committee.
"I can deliver," Miller told him.
Bush has been able to count on Miller ever since their
first meeting in December, when Bush, as President-elect, invited
a group of Democrats and Republicans down to Austin to talk
education. "There was a chemistry here that worked," Miller says.
Bush and Miller became fast friends after discussing the
importance of measuring student results and demanding that
schools show academic improvement in exchange for federal
Throughout the meeting, Bush and Miller traded
verbal towel snaps. Miller could easily be mistaken for an
offensive lineman, and Bush quickly dubbed him "Big George." In
the ensuing months, they talked frequently. "I think we had a
comfort level with one another where I could level with him, and
he could level with me," Miller says.
Miller delivered the Democratic votes that Bush needed.
That's how the game has been played for generations inside the Beltway. What we're witinessing today has no precedent in modern American politics. It's just that the press doesn't like to say that out loud.