Thursday, November 12, 2015

Today In Both Sides Do It: Ray LaHood

Tom Hagen: You know how they're going to come at you?
Michael: They want to arrange a meeting between me and Barzini. On Tessio's ground. Where I'll be safe.
Tom Hagen: Tessio? I always thought it would be Clemenza.
Michael: It's the smart move. Tessio was always smarter.

(h/t Brother Charlie Pierce.)

Ray LaHood was one of Barack Obama's first cabinet appointments.  President Obama made LaHood  -- an Illinois Republican and one of the last members of the nearly-dead "moderate" wing of the Party of Lincoln -- his Secretary of Transportation in January of 2009.  It was a position which LaHood held until July of 2013, and one in which, by all accounts, he served competently.

But books by former Secretaries of Transportation about, say, slow but steady improvements in the handling of America's intermodal freight transportation issues in turbulent times do not fly off the shelves or get one invited to make the rounds of the Sunday Shows.

You know what does move merch in the Beltway?
Promised Bipartisanship, Obama Adviser Found Disappointment
Despite the glowing words, Mr. Obama abandoned his promise to govern across the aisle, Mr. LaHood said in an interview. The only elected Republican in Mr. Obama’s original cabinet, Mr. LaHood said the president never made a sustained effort to reach out and gave up too easily. As a result, he became isolated and reliant on a group of like-minded advisers.

That assessment from a man who served under Mr. Obama for four years punctuates Mr. LaHood’s new memoir, “Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics,” published last month by Cambria Press. While he expressed warm feelings toward Mr. Obama and approval of many of his policies, Mr. LaHood lamented the partisan fever that characterized his time in office.
“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,” Mr. LaHood wrote in the book, which he produced with Frank H. Mackaman.
Of course, to get full Both Siderist cred, you have to take at least a token slap at what is really fucking up our government --
Still, he did not let fellow Republicans off the hook. Mr. LaHood clearly felt disconnected from the “ideological rigidity” of his party’s new generation, who “inhabit a different world from mine,” as he put it. “Many of them do not want Congress to pass bills. Any government action is, by their definition, bad for the country.”
-- before you stick the landing:
“House Republicans deserve a fair amount of blame for the lock-step vote on stimulus,” he wrote, because they would not meet Mr. Obama halfway. But in handing the project over to Mrs. Pelosi, he said, “the price we paid was incalculable.” He added, “The White House had reached this decision without consulting me, the person they had selected to promote bipartisanship.”
In other words, thanks for the resume-builder, Obama, but Ray-Ray gotta get paaaaaaid.

Also if you're trying to build Republican political dynasty --
And then there is Mr. LaHood’s old home, Congress, where the ruling Republicans are not the same as when he was there. He knows that firsthand. His son, Darin LaHood, was just elected to his old seat in a special election in September.

“He’s a lot more conservative than I am, which is O.K.,” the elder Mr. LaHood said. “He got elected. I didn’t. He’ll be a good member.”
-- you don't write a book about how irredeemably fucked-in-the-head the Republican party is. Instead, you shiv your former boss in the back and collect a few ducats from the Beltway for selling the only story they're buying.  

It's the smart move.


Unknown said...

So those hundreds of millions of dollars in less-stimulating tax cuts were all that evil beyotch Pelosi's idea?

Funny, that's not how I remember it at all.

LaHood may be right that the administration didn't spend much time trying to woo House Republicans, but there are some hard-to-ignore reasons for that. They only needed a simple majority in the House, not 60% like in the Senate. The House GOP caucus, while nowhere near as braindead and demented as it is now, was still a pretty retrograde bunch of dipshits, and Obama and Pelosi needed to keep enough Blue Dog bedwetters on board. Why bother trying to get some proto-teabagger's vote when they'd sooner light themselves on fire than vote with Obama?

Their time was spent, by necessity, in the Senate, getting the Maine ladies to agree to break the GOP filibuster, only after they arbitrarily weakened the bill by larding it up with tax cuts and cutting infrastructure projects out.

Lame, LaHood.

Cirze said...

So, has he been garroted yet?