Why Obama Fails to Get Republican Votes, Part Infinity

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Today, Dave Weigel reads Olympia Snowe’s upcoming memoir so we don’t have to. In particular, he highlights just how hard President Obama worked to win her support for Obamacare:

As woe-is-the-Republic texts by retired moderates go, it’s got nothing on 2012’s Arlen Specter offering….But it does tell us just how hard the president flop-sweated to bring Snowe into the cloture vote for health care. Snowe recounts a conversation with POTUS after she approved of the Baucus version of reform in committee….Obama kept calling, reaching Snowe “more than a dozen times,” meeting with her in person eight times. The final meeting occured five days before the Senate’s cloture vote, in 2009.

That’s more than 20 meetings with Snowe! And she was a famous moderate. But she voted against the bill anyway.

Is this because Obama didn’t twist her arm hard enough? Wasn’t willing to cut a deal with her? Or because he just sucks at persuading people? Maybe. But you wilfully ignore Occam’s razor at your own risk. The more likely answer, if you want to avoid being cut to ribbons, is simply that no Republican was ever going to vote for Obamacare, full stop. No amount of sweet talking, not from Obama, not from Joe Biden, not from Harry Reid, and not from anyone else, was ever going to change that. It explains everything that happened in the simplest and most persuasive manner possible.

Rinse and repeat for nearly every other piece of significant legislation of the past four years. And now, grasshopper, at last you understand.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate