President Obama Gets Real, Not Revenge, On Republicans

*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*

Although this campaign season has been interesting, to say the least, there is something happening one never thought would occur. After spending nearly eight years demonizing, obstructing, and criticizing every and anything about the President of the United States, Republicans desperate to save their jobs are beginning to tout their “imagined” close ties to the Democratic President whose approval rating and popularity are growing.

It is hypocritical, to say the least, and at some point a result of a toxic Republican candidate for the presidency, but for some GOP candidates it is a very dangerous strategy. If any Republican believed President Obama would allow them to take advantage of him after spending eight years assailing him as illegitimate and corrupt, they were sadly mistaken and underestimated the commander in chief’s tolerance during an election.

The President is using the final two weeks before the election to decimate Republicans for either “belated rejection” or continued support of Donald Trump. President Obama is also reminding Republicans that “Donald Trump is the endpoint of eight years of [GOP] toxic hostility.” It may be a tad of an exaggeration to claim that “Obama seems determined to spend the last two weeks of the election laying waste to every Republican who ever crossed him,” but he is getting some well-placed and well-warranted shots at Republicans.

Two Republican hypocrites hoping to take advantage of the President’s approval ratings have been some of his harshest critics; so it likely stunned the President that they are boasting working closely with the man they obstructed, opposed, and attempted to get rid of.

Ohio Senator Rob Portman had the temerity to run a campaign ad boasting about working closely with the President “to break the grip of heroin addiction.” President Obama took the time to excoriate Portman for,

Finally withdrawing his support from Donald Trump,” but only “After looking at the polling. Now that it’s politically expedient. But he has supported him up until last week? So I guess it was OK when Trump was attacking minorities, and suggesting that Mexicans were rapists … and insulting Gold Star moms, making fun of disabled Americans. I guess that didn’t quite tip it over the edge. Why was that OK? And now he says he will vote for the vice-presidential nominee instead, except that guy still supports Donald Trump.

The President was a little more exercised after learning that the man who called the President “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times,” California Republican Representative Daryl Issa, is sending out campaign mailers with the President’s face on them and boasting about his close work with President Obama “to protect victims of sexual assault.”

Daryl Issa is in a fairly competitive race compared to past elections and he certainly has earned the President’s wrath after obstructing progress and wasting taxpayer money on Issa-created scandals. During a fundraiser in La Jolla California Sunday last, the President assailed Issa for having the audacity to use a campaign mailer with the President’s image on it. The President said,

Issa’s primary contribution to the United States Congress has been to obstruct and to waste taxpayer dollars on trumped-up investigations that have led nowhere. This is now a guy who, because poll numbers are bad, has sent out brochures with my picture on them touting his cooperation on issues with me. Now that is the definition of chutzpah.”

As remarked by Tim Murphy at Mother Jones, President Obama is not just evening up the score with Republicans who made his tenure miserable, “He is attempting to have the last word on the personal and political fights of the last eight years—to take the conspiracy theories and obstruction that dogged his presidency from day one and throw them back in Republicans’ faces.”

The President clearly has a lot of “words” to harangue Republicans with. He said,

Here’s the thing. For years, Republican politicians and the far-right media outlets have pumped up all kinds of crazy stuff about me. About Hillary. About Harry. They said I wasn’t born here. They said climate change is a hoax. They said that I was going to take everybody’s guns away! They said that while we were doing military exercises that we’ve been doing forever, suddenly this was a plot to impose martial law. This is what they’ve been saying for years now! So people have been hearing it they start thinking well maybe it’s true! And if the world they’ve been seeing is I’m powerful enough to cause hurricanes on my own and to steal everybody’s guns in the middle of the night and impose martial law—even though I can’t talk without a ‘prompter—then is it any wonder that they end up nominating somebody like Donald Trump?

And the fact is that there are a lot of politicians who knew better. There are a lot of senators who knew better but they went along with these stories because they figured you know what this’ll help rile up the base, it’ll give us an excuse to obstruct what we’re trying to do, we won’t be able to appoint judges, we’ll gum up the works, we’ll create gridlock, it’ll give us a political advantage. So they just stood by and said nothing and their base began to actually believe this stuff. So Donald Trump did not start this. Donald Trump didn’t start it, he just did what he always did which is slap his name on it, take credit for it, and promote it. That’s what he always does. And so now, when suddenly it’s not working and people are saying wow this guy’s kind of out of line, all of a sudden these Republican politicians who were okay with all this crazy stuff up to a point suddenly they’re all walking away. Oh, this is too much. So when you finally get him on tape bragging about actions that qualify as sexual assault and his poll numbers go down, suddenly that’s a deal-breaker. Well what took you so long! What the heck! What took you so long! All these years!”

The Mother Jones piece made out like President Obama is seeking retribution, or “revenge” against Republicans for their impropriety as legislators over the past eight years. Without knowing what goes on in the President’s head to motivate his campaign rhetoric; that is a hard call to make with any surety. Barack Obama does not strike one as being vindictive.

The President is, though, an accomplished campaigner and as his tenure in the White House is winding down and Republicans are struggling to find an identity apart from Donald Trump, it is prudent of the President to remind voters exactly what Republicans are about and what they are about is precisely why Donald Trump is their standard bearer; and why Republicans are hypocrites for both abandoning Trump and embracing the man they obstructed and tried to remove from the White House.