In September of that year [election year, 2016], Obama had the clearest picture of what Russian operatives connected to Vladimir Putin were up to, but he did not want to come out with the information on his own, for fear of appearing to use classified intelligence to sway voters against Trump. So he sought common ground with the Senate majority leader to create a patriotic united front against the Russians.Stoehr says:
But McConnell refused to cooperate. Instead, he questioned the underlying intelligence informing Obama’s decision to reach out to him. He later threatened to publicly accuse Obama of doing precisely what Obama had tried to avoid: using classified intelligence to sway voters against Trump. Obama could have acted alone at that point, but decided, to his eternal regret, to remain silent.
I’m not talking about policy differences, like whether the Republicans should have supported the Affordable Care Act (a law that has improved the lives of millions). I’m talking about objectively clear and historically pivotal moments in which the GOP literally chose party over country. McConnell’s inaction while the Russians attacked the integrity of the presidential election is a feature of the modern Republican Party, not a bug.Stoehr then goes on to give examples of such moments in the past, and says:
In strictly partisan terms, playing hardball with the Democrats while a massive crisis unfolds makes sense: when the opposition needs your help, it means the opposition is bargaining from a position of weakness. For a partisan, that’s a moment you’ve been waiting for.
But in terms of patriotism, such behavior is vile. Republicans not only refused to do the right thing; they punished the Democrats for doing so. In many ways, this was Obama’s fundamental flaw, a flaw that the Republicans identified and exploited right away. He truly believed that country comes first and could not fathom a political party that did not believe the same. The Republicans played him like a song, blocking everything he wanted, even if what he wanted was what the Republicans had formerly wanted, and even if what he wanted would have helped America.