I agree with Steve Benen that it would only make sense for the White House to make sure to be “planning for the worst” when it comes to dealing with Republicans on the Hill. But the specific thing I would worry about isn’t gutting of health care legislation or endless investigations. It’s the economy. Anne Kornblut reports that the White House understands the basic political dynamic: “Even more important, senior administration officials said, Obama will need to oversee tangible improvements in the economy.”
So I know that tangible improvements in the economy are key to Obama’s re-election chances. And Douglas Hibbs knows that it’s key. And senior administration officials know that its key. So is it so unreasonable to think that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner may also know that it’s key? That rank and file Republicans know that it’s key? McConnell has clarified that his key goal in the Senate is to cause Barack Obama to lose in 2012 which if McConnell understands the situation correctly means doing everything in his power to reduce economic growth. Boehner has distanced himself from this theory, but many members of his caucus may agree with McConnell.
Which is just to say that specifically the White House needs to be prepared not just for rough political tactics from the opposition (what else is new?) but for a true worst case scenario of deliberate economic sabotage.