Paul Krugman’s excellent column today hammers away at the Republican Party’s “obstruct and exploit” tactics against President Obama. His prime example is the American Jobs Act that the president unveiled at a joint session of Congress on Sept. 8, 2011. Thanks to GOP obstructionism, the bill was dead on arrival.

Krugman cites a report from the consulting firm Macroeconomic Advisers that estimates the legislation would have added 1.3 million jobs by the end of this year, had it been enacted. That the bill went nowhere has given Republicans a cleverly cynical argument against Obama.

“And now, having prevented Mr. Obama from implementing any of his policies, those same Republicans are pointing to disappointing job numbers and declaring that the president’s policies have failed,” Krugman argues. “Think of it as a two-part strategy. First, obstruct any and all efforts to strengthen the economy, then exploit the economy’s weakness for political gain.”

That exploitation might make for great politics, but it’s hurting people. At a time when people are clamoring for work or have given up looking altogether, what Republicans have done and are doing is unconscionable.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) talked about the divisions in Congress when he met with Post writers and editors last week in Charlotte. But when he was asked if the Republicans today weren’t employing the same tactics used by the Democrats during President George W. Bush’s tenure, Hoyer provided a history lesson from when he was House majority leader that should not go unheeded.

A Republican president, a Republican secretary of [the treasury] and a Republican-appointed head of the Federal Reserve on Sept. 18, an election year, partisan year, came to the Congress of the United States, led by [then-Speaker of the House] Nancy Pelosi and [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid, and said, “Our country is in deep trouble and if you don’t act we’re going to to into a depression.”

Nancy Pelosi; Harry Reid; Steny Hoyer, majority leader; Dick Durbin, majority whip: What did we do? We said, “Mr. President, we’re going to stand with you. We’re going to get the votes.” We cast the most difficult vote arguably any member of Congress has cast on the bailout, in a bipartisan fashion.

What did the Republicans do? They walked away from their country. And they walked away from their president, as they walked away so many times....

Because Republicans had it in for Obama before Day 1, they are complicit in the failures they rail against. Would that the GOP cared enough to put the country and Americans ahead of politics and their electoral fortunes.