#5: Mitch McConnell
Following Barack Obama's election to the presidency in 2008, the Republican Party made no secret of the fact that they had every intention of making America regret electing Obama, that they would deliberately deny any progress from being done just so Obama couldn't be given credit for anything, and that the only thing that mattered to them was making Obama a one-term president.
And if any one thing could be attributed to the G.O.P.'s complete and utter failure to make it happen, it was the complete inability of the G.O.P. leadership to refrain from outright admitting so.
He never actually explained why this was his priority (and not, say, addressing the national debt, lowering the record unemployment levels, addressing immigration reform, or ending one of two wars the country was fighting). It was a short-term political ambition, and McConnell didn't have enough sense in him to understand that this message would not resonate with the American people.
In fact, so devoted was McConnell to the politics of obstruction, division and the "party before country" mentality that he wound up performing the ultimate act of showboating stupidity.
It began with Mitch McConnell calling for an up or down vote on a measure that would have allowed the president to have more authority in raising the debt ceiling.
According to the Huffington Post, McConnell was betting that some Democrats would vote against the move, thereby allowing McConnell to portray President Obama's desire for such authority as something even Democrats opposed.
Instead, Democrats declared voting on a permanent measure to be the fiscally responsible thing to do.
"Our downgrade of America’s credit rating was not based on the state of our economy but the debt-ceiling debate," said Sen. Dick Durbin after the vote. "We are paying dearly for that already. So the Republicans are creating a situation which makes reducing the debt and deficit extremely difficult by creating this uncertainty about the debt ceiling."
So instead, it was Mitch McConnell who objected.
"What we're talking about here is a perpetual debt ceiling grant, in effect, to the president, " McConnell said. "Matters of this level of controversy always require 60 votes."
In other words, McConnell was literally prepared to filibuster a proposal that he himself had called for a vote on.
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