MCCONNELL VS FDR…. Why wasn’t the Senate Republican caucus able to play a constructive role this week on economic policy? Because they simply perceive reality in a different way.

…Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has the intellectual honesty to come right out and say that he’s opposed to the concept that massive public expenditure will save a tailspinning economy. […]

McConnell’s been respectful to Barack Obama, but he’s pure hell on FDR, as evidenced by tonight’s peroration on the stimulus:

“But one of the good things about reading history is you learn a good deal. And, we know for sure that the big spending programs of the New Deal did not work. In 1940, unemployment was still 15%. And, it’s widely agreed among economists, that what got us out of the doldrums that we were in during the Depression was the beginning of World War II.”

Glenn Thrush gives McConnell credit for “intellectual honesty.” I suppose. McConnell really seems to believe what he’s saying, and he votes accordingly.

But it’s difficult to give the Minority Leader credit when he’s spouting such transparent nonsense. Dean Baker set the record straight last week on FDR’s record, as did Paul Krugman a couple of months ago.

It’s especially interesting to hear McConnell say WWII improved the economy. How, exactly, does McConnell reconcile this? FDR’s government spending didn’t help the economy, but FDR’s government spending for a world war did help the economy? As Krugman recently explained, World War II was an “enormous public works project … which finally provided a fiscal stimulus adequate to the economy’s needs.”

Perhaps some enterprising Capitol Hill reporter can ask the Minority Leader about this at the next briefing. If McConnell believes WWII gave the economy a boost, why did WWII give the economy a boost?

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.