The latest campaign from Americans for Prosperity—the Koch-funded conservative group—is a $7 million ad buy meant to highlight the disappointment of various Obama supporters. The commercial, which runs for one minute, will air on broadcast and cable in 11 battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. CNN has a few excerpts:
“I had hoped that the new president would bring new jobs–not major layoffs, not people going through major foreclosures on their homes,” one woman says in the ad.
Another voter adds: “He said he was going to cut the deficit in his first term. I’ve seen zero interest in reducing spending. He inherited a bad situation, but he made it worse.”
Piling on, a third voter says: “I still believe in hope and change. I just don’t think Obama is the way to go for that.”
At the Washington Post, Greg Sargent calls this an “emerging GOP tactic for dealing with Obama’s personal popularity.” He paraphrases, “We didn’t want Obama to fail; we shared his high hopes for his presidency; but …”
If Republicans go this route, I hope reporters take a page from Michael Grunwald, who details GOP obstruction of the stimulus in his just-released book The New New Deal, and reveals the extent to which the GOP never intended to work with Obama, regardless of what he did. This anecdote is typical of how Republicans approached Obama from the beginning of his administration:
In early January, the House Republican leadership team held a retreat at an Annapolis inn. Pete Sessions, the new campaign chair, opened his presentation with the political equivalent of an existential question:
“If the purpose of the Majority is to Govern…What is Our Purpose?” […]
“The Purpose of the Minority is to become the Majority.”
The team’s goal would not be promoting Republican policies, or stopping Democratic policies, or even making Democratic bills less offensive to Republicans. Its goal would be taking the gavel back from Speaker Pelosi.
“That is the entire Conference’s Mission,” Sessions wrote.
Grunwald shows how Republicans developed a strategy of maximum obstruction before Obama even took office, and stuck to it throughout the first two years of his presidency. As this election unfolds, conservatives will try to mournfully attack Obama, as if they wanted him to succeed.