Republicans’ hurt feelings

REPUBLICANS’ HURT FEELINGS…. Last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) apparently refused to speak to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) because McConnell’s feelings were hurt. It seems the Democratic efforts to defeat McConnell’s re-election bid had been deemed “overly aggressive.”

Likewise, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) reportedly told colleagues at a Senate prayer breakfast last week that she feels “lingering resentment toward Democratic senators who campaigned against her.” Collins reportedly confessed that that she had “trouble forgiving colleagues” who campaigned against her.

It marks an interesting twist in the tension between the two parties — now, it appears, Democrats are just too mean.

I’m afraid this is pretty silly. Members of one party, as a rule, want to help defeat members of the other party. This does not make them Big Meanies. If Democratic senators traveled to Maine to smear Collins with sleazy attacks and vicious personal lies, I could understand holding a grudge. But as far as I can tell, Dems primarily accused Collins of voting with Bush too much of the time. This hardly constitutes a cheap shot. Indeed, it happens to be true.

Publius made a compelling case that Collins is “personalizing politics” as an excuse to do what she’s been doing.

[T]his “hurt feelings” business is so absurd. Collins will — as she has always done — vote with the Republicans virtually all the time. Even better, now she has an excuse to justify doing what she’s always done. On those rare instances she doesn’t, it will be because there are a handful of votes where the people of Maine (1) are paying attention and (2) actually care. It’s hard to get both #1 and #2, which is why she doesn’t have to vote with the Dems very often.

Similarly, in the next Congressional session, Republicans like Specter and Snowe and Voinovich and Gregg will vote with Dems only when they feel political pressure to do so from their state constituency. Otherwise, they won’t (which will be most of the time).

Personality has nothing to do with it.

Quite right. The Republicans’ canard about their bruised sensitivities has quickly become tiresome. When GOP lawmakers opposed the initial Wall Street bailout, they said it was because Nancy Pelosi hurt their feelings. In reality, they just didn’t like the bill.

When Mitch McConnell plans to go after Dems in the next Congress, he says it’s about Democrats being mean to him during the election. In reality, his tactics would be the same regardless.

And when Susan Collins talks about strained relations with the majority party, she says it’s about campaign tactics. In reality, she’s a Republican who votes with her party most of the time.