They weren’t interested in a rational discussion about their misbegotten political strategy and tactics; why it was virtually every major constituency that wasn’t white, male and over 40 voted in big numbers for Obama.
Instead, they spent all year amplifying the mistakes they made during Obama’s first four years.
For instance, last January Rep. Darrel Issa, the GOP Torquemada of Capitol Hill, feverishly tried to blame the president for the tragic deaths of four Americans in Benghazi.
Issa, an unaccomplished congressman without much credibility, was finally told by the accomplished and credible Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, “The military did everything they possibly could that night. They just couldn’t get there in time.”
As Benghazi was fizzling out word came that the Internal Revenue Service was scrutinizing the tax exempt applications of tea party organizations.
“My question isn’t about who’s going to resign, my question is who’s going to jail over this scandal?” snarled House Speaker John Boehner.
Republicans rushed to judgment, accusing Obama of singling out conservative groups for punishment. They launched another congressional witch hunt but once again the inconvenient truth failed to support their desperate delusions.
After the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court ruling in 2010, the IRS was flooded with applications from tea party, libertarian, progressive and other groups and it was just doing its lawful job screening them.
When the IRS non-scandal lost traction, reports surfaced of widespread, systematic spying on Americans by the National Security Agency.
Ann Coulter appeared on Sean Hannity’s show to declare American’s “can’t trust” Obama because he wants “to spy on … political enemies.”
Not so fast. After 9/11, the Bush administration demanded and got broad authority from Congress to conduct domestic spying.
Republicans then redoubled their anti-Obamacare campaign, aided by the bungled federal health insurance exchange rollout and the usual right wing media suspects.
With little support from his Republican colleagues, Sen. Ted Cruz tried to defund the law by shutting down the government for 16 days even though he knew the president would never sign a bill gutting his signature legislative achievement.
Cruz’s self-serving publicity stunt cost the economy nearly $25 billion.
As 2013 came to a close, we learned the 113th Congress is the least productive in American history. Beyond its ceaseless efforts to obstruct and defame President Obama, the GOP-controlled House accomplished almost nothing.
Knowing 2014 will bring a midterm election and with it a re-telling of their dismal legislative performance, House Republicans closed the year by compromising with Senate Democrats on a budget bill, the one bright spot of 2013.
Those who mistake demonizing Obama for governing should be asking themselves why it is Americans who voted for the president in 2012 find all the these conservative antics so repulsive.
The answer is as simple as human nature.
Most people tend to be averse to animosity and conflict. They are uncomfortable when two sides can’t get along. They favor fairness. They appreciate gracious losers and abhor bitterness and resentment. They want thoughtful dialogue, not knee jerk reactions. They like cooperation and compromise. They forgive mistakes.
So where have conservatives gone wrong?
They wasted five years smearing Obama, refusing his every attempt to reason and negotiate with them. Their relentless and frequently unhinged attacks on the president transcend mere differences of political opinion. Rather, they’re born of raw anger often expressed in virulent, dishonest, and deeply personal terms.
Indulging their rage may feel cathartic to conservatives, but it has also proven to be an expensive luxury for them.
Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.