HEADS THEY WIN, TAILS YOU LOSE…. Time will tell what the Senate will look like next year, but chances are reasonably good that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will not be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
That said, it seems very likely that the Senate Republican caucus, currently at its lowest levels in a generation, will be considerably larger in the 112th Congress than it is now. And with that expectation in mind, McConnell has a vision of how policymaking should work.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Thursday that he hopes that President Obama becomes a born-again moderate after the midterm elections and that a new, more balanced Congress brings with it some bipartisan comity.
But the Kentucky Republican made it very clear that any future bipartisanship needs to be defined by his ideological terms.
“What I hope we are going to have after November is more balance, more balance, which would give us the opportunity to do things together that simply were missing when you have this kind of disparity,” McConnell said. “But, I’m not going to be very interested in doing things left of center. It is going to have to be center right. I think the president is a flexible man. I’m hoping he will become a born-again moderate.”
I’ve read this a few times, and I’m still struggling to wrap my head around it.
McConnell wants to see more partisan “balance” in the Senate, which presumably means more give and take between Democrats and Republicans. But in the next breath, McConnell also rules out the possibility of Democrats advancing any center-left priorities — even in a Democratic majority. “It is going to have to be center right,” he said. Why? Because McConnell says so.
In other words, “I’m willing to compromise with you, unless it means you getting some of what you want, in which case, forget it.”
McConnell also expects the president to be a “moderate,” but consider what that means in this context. In order for Obama to meet McConnell’s standards, the president would have to agree to give up on his own voter-endorsed agenda entirely, and agree to accept only center-right ideas.
So, let me see if I get this straight.
* Voters elect a Republican president and a Republican Congress? The agenda “is going to have to be center right.”
* Voters elect a Republican president and a Democratic Congress? The agenda “is going to have to be center right.”
* Voters elect a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress? The agenda “is going to have to be center right.”
* Voters re-elect a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress? The agenda “is going to have to be center right.”
McConnell really should just drop the pretense and make this plain: he believes only Republicans should be allowed to govern, no matter what voters have to say.