Former Cabinet Member Slams Obama in New Book
Much has been written about President Obama’s campaign promise to bring hope and change to America, but former transportation secretary Ray LaHood says that Barack really did come to Washington with the intention of working hand in hand with Republicans. As such, he nominated the Republican LaHood to his cabinet, this setting the tone for what LaHood thought would be a bipartisan presidency.
Instead, Obama began playing games from almost the minute he arrived in the White House.
“I do not believe the White House ever committed fully to a genuine bipartisan approach to policy making, despite the president’s words to the contrary,” LaHood wrote in his new book, Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics.
According to LaHood, Obama insulated himself from both Republicans and most of his cabinet, instead preferring to depend solely on a close group of insiders. There, isolated and secretive, the president hatched his plans without much input from the rest of his administration. LaHood was especially critical of the way the president chose to push through the economic stimulus bill.
“And, boom, they made a decision that they were going to pass economic stimulus with just Democratic votes. That was the beginning of the end of bipartisanship,” LaHood said in a recent interview.
You can say that again. And yet, we’re still hearing, all these years later, that the gridlock was all the fault of the Republican Congress. That it was the GOP who decided from day one that they were not going to cooperate with the president on anything. Here we have one of the president’s appointees (and a Republican not at all hesitant to criticize his own party) telling us flat-out that isn’t the case.
But did we really need any more proof?
Frankly, bipartisanship happens when it has to, and not a moment before. That’s not due to a declining society, it’s not due to “crazies” in the Republican Party, and it’s certainly not due to conservative media. This is the way it has been for a very long time, and in fact, this is the way it was always meant to be. This push-pull dynamic is what prevents one political philosophy or the other from steering us too far off center.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what has happened. Not because Republicans were too eager to dig their heels in, but because they were too quick to give up. Time and time again, Obama got his bipartisanship. He got it because Republicans were not savvy enough nor principled enough to stick to their guns. And in the meantime, they managed to garner themselves a reputation for being obstructionists. Which is a pretty bad outcome considering how little they actually obstructed.
You’ll notice how none of the candidates are talking much about bipartisanship this year. Some voters might see that as a flaw; you should see it as an improvement.