“We’re not a democracy. It’s a terrible misunderstanding and a slander to the idea of democracy to call us that. In reality, we’re a plutocracy: a government by the wealthy.”
~ Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General
What would you say if I told you a group of American congressional representatives and senators met in secret during the worst recession since the Great Depression to conspire to sabotage the economy and do their best to prevent or slow down a recovery? Would you be angry if I told you that the American mainstream broadcast media had largely overlooked (or perhaps even suppressed) this EXPLOSIVE story? How difficult is it to write or produce a news story when someone else has already done the research for you? The mainstream media’s indifference and incompetence has forced me into the role of reluctant citizen journalist.
After reading the Prologue to Robert Draper’s new book Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives, I am OUTRAGED. Mr. Draper not only tells us precisely what the politicians discussed at this secret meeting, he gives names as well as dates and locations. He might as well be howling into the wind, however, for all the media attention this explosive story is receiving.
The evening of January 20, 2009 (President Barack Obama’s inauguration day), after attending the swearing in, a group of 15 Republican leaders attended a by-invitation-only dinner meeting in a private dining room of the Caucus Club Restaurant in Washington, DC. The exclusive guest list included the following : Rep. Eric Cantor (R,VA-7), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R,CA), Rep. Paul Ryan (R,WI), Rep. Pete Sessions (R,TX), Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R,TX), (Ex) Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R,MI), Rep. Dan Lundgren (R,CA) , Sen. Jim DeMint (RSC), Sen. Jon Kyl(R,AZ), Sen.Tom Coburn (R,OK), (Ex) Sen. John Ensign (R,NV), Sen. Bob Corker (R,TN), Fred Barnes (Exec. Editor for the Weekly Standard and Fox News political commentator), Newt Gingrich (former Speaker of the House [R-GA], Fox News political analyst, and 2012 Republican candidate for president), as well as Frank Luntz (conservative communications strategist). A few of the guest’s spouses also attended. Interestingly, Rep. John Boehner did not attend since Mr. Luntz planned it and he and Mr. Boehner didn’t get along.
The dinner meeting’s purpose was to devise a strategy to defeat President Obama and ensure that he wasn’t re-elected. Participants in the 4-hour long dinner agreed to secrecy and decided that they WOULD STOP AT NOTHING in order to regain the White House. At a time when the economy was already deep in recession combined with a banking and housing crisis and we were losing approximately 750,000 jobs a month, Republican leaders came up with the following strategy to regain the White House:
- challenge Obama and the democrats on every single bill;
- show UNITED and UNYIELDING opposition to the President’s ECONOMIC policies;
- attack Timothy Geithner;
- begin attacking Democrats on the airwaves;
- win control of the House of Representatives in 2010;
- attack Obama relentlessly in 2011, blaming him for the poor economy;
- gain control of the Senate in 2012;
- regain the White House in 2012
The group was nearly giddy when the dinner ended. At its conclusion, Newt Gingrich proclaimed, “You will remember this day as the day the seeds of 2012 were sown.”
- Senator Kyl began attacking Tim Geithner the following day.
- Eight days later, Representative Cantor followed through on his promise by holding the Republicans to a unanimous “no” vote on the President’s much-needed economic stimulus plan.
- The first RNC attack ads against vulnerable democrats ran approximately two months later.
- The republicans took control house of representatives leadership in 2010
- The only remaining goals not yet achieved are winning control of the Senate and Presidency in 2012.
SHOW: POLITICS NATION 6:00 PM EST
June 12, 2012 Tuesday
Rev. Al Sharpton, Newt Gingrich
SHARPTON: I think the president clearly made clear what he was saying.
Well, let -- let`s say this. You -- you talk about what he had in Congress. Every step of the way, Congress has blocked his jobs bill, blocked even serious talks about the deficits. In fact, let`s go to a book that Mr. Draper wrote about the night of the inauguration. There was a meeting at a hotel near the inaugural ball, about a mile away, in which, that night, there was a -- a group of Republicans, you among them, that was committed to the defeat of President Obama. This is before any of this.
He writes about that night the plan was to show united and unyielding opposition to the president`s economic policies, begin attacking vulnerable Democrats on the air waves, win the spear point of the House in 2010, jab Obama relentlessly in 2011, win the White House and the Senate.
And Draper writes that you told the group -- you, Newt Gingrich, "You will remember this day...you will remember this day the seeds of 2012 were sown."
Now, you called the president and Democrats divisive. You said he hasn`t done anything.
If there was a commitment from day one, before he ever took a seat behind the desk of the Oval Office, that everyone was going to obstruct him, then what he`s done has been almost unbelievable, against those kind of odds, Speaker Gingrich.
GINGRICH: Well, look, I mean there -- there are three different things in this, Al, or Reverend Sharpton, if we`re going to be on formal names. I -- I`m happy to be Newt, but Reverend Sharpton.
The first is, it was an important meeting and I was glad and honored to be part of it.
SHARPTON: I`m glad you admit you had it.
GINGRICH: And -- and...
SHARPTON: But go ahead.
GINGRICH: And look -- but look, it`s obvious.
I mean don`t you think that in 2001, when George W. Bush was being inaugurated, a group of Democrats got together and said, how do we get the White House?
And in 2005, they got together and said how do we get the White House. In fact (INAUDIBLE)...
SHARPTON: No, but there -- there`s a qualitative difference in how do we get the White House and that we are committed tonight to block everything he does, that we are going to be relentless and really care nothing about the fact that he was inheriting...
GINGRICH: Well j
SHARPTON: -- the worst economy since the Depression by a member of your party.
GINGRICH: Look, I -- I said, at the time, that if he had stuck with - - there were three speeches President Obama gave that were truly historic an enormous opportunity for him -- the Manasa speech the last weekend before the election, the Grant Park speech election night, and his inaugural on -- and which was -- which I said to Callista when we left the wall -- because we were at the Capitol for the inaugural.
As we left, I said, you know, if he sticks to the kind of moderation and bipartisanship he`s been describing, he will split the Republican Party. He`ll govern like Eisenhower and he`ll get reelected. Now this is -- this is the inaugural day.
The reason we were able to unify the party is he basically cut a deal with Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate majority leader, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and they rammed through a -- an $800 billion stimulus package with no Republican really being involved. And, in fact, no elected official even read the bill before it was voted on in the House.
And I think that was the decisive mistake of the presidency, because he was choosing...
There you have it, folks. New Gingrich, former Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House, independently confirmed the truth of the prologue to Robert Draper’s book in a television interview. He said he was honored to be at the meeting and didn’t dispute what they discussed.
It was a diabolical, if highly successful plan expertly executed. Anyone who has been following the political news since 2009 knows that Republicans steadfastly opposed every single economic stimulus or job creation act the President or Democrats proposed. When ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) finally passed, it was a much smaller stimulus than needed and passed without a single republican’s support. Republicans falsely accused President Obama of “exploding” the national debt. As a point of fact, the national debt as a percentage of GDP has increased LESS under president Obama than under Presidents Reagan, H.W. Bush or G.W. Bush. They blamed this debt “explosion” for the poor economy and said the solution to economic recovery was cutting taxes for the rich (a measure sure to further increase the debt), and cutting government spending (a measure certain to slow the economy). They also found a way to blame the deficit spending of the George W. Bush presidency (caused by unfunded wars simultaneous with huge tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans) on President Obama.
The U.S. unemployment rate rose from 7.6% in January 2009 to 9.4% in May and 10.2% in October. During the recession, approximately 1.2 million people lost their homes (source: MSNBC) and about 20,000 additional people became homeless (source: Washington Post). It was without question the “worst recession since the Great Depression.” In my home state of Michigan (headquarters of the automotive industry), the unemployment rates soared to a disastrous 15.1%. U.S. Automakers General Motors and Chrysler teetered on the verge of bankruptcy while Republican politicians urged, “Let Detroit go Bankrupt” and opposed any type of government-supported bailout.
What in the world was going on? Any Economics 101 student knows that the proven way out of a recession is for the government to provide a temporary stimulus plan to support the economy and help create jobs. In his book, The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers our Future, Nobel Prize winning economist (and former World Bank chief economist) Joseph Stiglitz details how tax cuts for the wealthy do not generally stimulate the economy. Instead, they only increase economic inequality. The growing economic inequality and decline of the middle class the U.S. has experienced in the last 30 years contributes to an unstable economy. In a consumer-driven economy like the U.S., spending by the middle class is what gets us out of a recession. You can read the NPR interview with Mr. Stiglitz here: http://t.co/R8V4ttYP
Congressional Republicans proposed as a “solution” to the recession, measures that were likely to increase deficits and income inequality while failing to actually stimulate the economy. Did they think the public was stupid? Perhaps. However, if they could actually pass any of these measures, they could slow the recovery and blame the outcome on President Obama, further improving the chances of a Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential election. In the absence of passing new legislation, they blocked every single economic stimulus plan proposed by Democrats or the President. The current fight is over the Transportation Bill because it might actually create some jobs.
Why am I so outraged, you ask. Some may say this book isn’t even news. Nearly everyone who has been following the political news for the last few years suspected that Republicans were blocking legislation in order to hurt President Obama and improve their party’s chances in November 2012. We may have suspected what was going on, but Robert Draper’s book gives us the gory details in black and white: names, dates, locations, exactly what was agreed. Newt Gingrich has confirmed that it’s true. Except for a few small stories on MSNBC and CNBC, the mainstream broadcast media have largely ignored this bombshell of a story. Although Huffington Post as well as blogs like the Daily Beast and the Daily Kos have done stories on the book, I haven’t seen a single major American newspaper article on it. Some UK newspapers have covered the story, however. To my knowledge, MSNBC and CNBC are the only major American broadcast media that have covered the story on Mr. Draper’s book at all. Progressive political commentator Thom Hartmann did cover the story on his program “The Big Picture” on RT America Studios. Author Robert Draper did an outstanding job of research and investigation and wrote a compelling book. However, the media largely ignored the story. This treachery is SO MUCH WORSE THAN WATERGATE. I can’t help feeling that if the Watergate break-in happened today, the public would never even hear about it. What is wrong with the U.S. media and why can’t they be bothered to do their jobs? Freedom of the Press is useless with a passive, somnolent press.
The American Heritage Dictionary gives the following definition of treason (n):
1. The betrayal of allegiance toward one's own country, especially by committing hostile acts against it or aiding its enemies in committing such acts.
2. The betrayal of someone's trust or confidence.
Another Open Salon writer (A Patriotic American) has detailed the oaths of office taken by our representatives and senators. You can find the article here: http://t.co/BUmxdvGm . These politicians take an oath of office swearing to uphold the U.S. constitution and defend the United States. They do not take an oath to uphold the goals of the Republican Party. By putting Republican party goals above their allegiance to the constitution, the country, and the American people they serve, I submit to you that this group of republicans has committed treason against the American people. Treason is one of the few reasons for impeachment and removal from office.
Representatives and Senators are only rarely removed from office. The House carries out impeachment proceedings and the removal from office procedure requires the approval of 2/3 of the senate. With the present composition of congress, even if the conspirators were tried and convicted, it is highly unlikely that we would ever see a successful impeachment and removal from office. I am somewhat gratified that Representative Pete Hoekstra of Michigan lost re-election to the House in 2011. The constituents they betrayed must vote all of these conspirators out of office so they can experience first hand the unemployment and financial hardship they have imposed on innocent American people.
I don’t know about you, but one of my litmus tests in voting for a political candidate is that they MUST put the needs of the United States and Americans ahead of the goals of their political party. Please help me publicize this story, it s an important story that needs to be shared with ALL OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. This story should be in the headlines of every newspaper and TV news program. Below you will find links to some of the limited TV coverage this issue has received thus far.
MSNBC Video on Do Not Ask What Good We Do:
Thom Hartman on DoNot Ask what Good We Do:
Thanks much for reading. I very much appreciate any and all comments, whether you agree or disagree with me.