Concern trolling gone awry (again)

CONCERN TROLLING GONE AWRY (AGAIN)…. You know who’s really looking out for congressional Democrats’ electoral fortunes? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). While you and I might think, “Wait, isn’t that the guy trying to destroy Democrats as part of his drive for power?” it seems McConnell is awfully anxious to give Democrats campaign advice, which he expects Dems to take seriously.

“Every election this fall will be a referendum on this bill,” McConnell said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

McConnell also said he sees no potential upside for the Democrats, at least in the short term. “The benefits don’t kick in for four years,” the Senate leader said. “Just looking at the politics of it there’s nothing but pain here for the next four years. Why in the world would they conclude that would be popular?”

To answer McConnell’s question, they might conclude that reform would be popular because the legislation includes a variety of well-liked consumer protections that would kick in immediately.

But in the larger context, McConnell, the Republicans’ Senate leader, keeps urging Democrats to save themselves by killing their top domestic legislative priority — as if he might have the Dems’ best interest at heart. It’s become a key part of his health care message.

Jon Chait gets this just right.

Imagine McConnell is correct: Republicans will gain a massive advantage if Democrats pass health care reform. Why would McConnell signal this now, before Democrats have passed it, while they still have time to heed his warning and save themselves? Since we can assume that McConnell badly wants to become Senate Majority Leader, it seems awfully inconsistent with his self-interest for him to hand out such valuable strategic advice to the opposing party.

Am I cynical for suspecting that maybe McConnell is not offering this advice to Democrats in good faith?

I’ll assume Jon’s question is a rhetorical one.

In fact, I continue to think McConnell is protesting too much. If he and his GOP colleagues were truly convinced that health care reform would be the Democrats’ death knell, they probably wouldn’t be fighting quite this hard to kill the bill.

It’s more likely McConnell & Co. are feeling a little nervous. After 100 years of talking about health care reform, Democrats may actually deliver. After seven presidents tried to get this done, President Obama may be the one to cross the finish line. For all the GOP bravado, some Republicans might actually realize that the reform bill, if given a fair hearing, is likely to be pretty popular with the public.

If Dems take electoral guidance from McConnell, they’d be making a colossal mistake.