What McConnell considers ‘extreme’

WHAT MCCONNELL CONSIDERS ‘EXTREME’…. There’s something Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the other day that continues to irk me. It’s what he considers political “extremism” in 2010.

Christiane Amanpour asked whether the Republican leader might be afraid of some of the extremist candidates who’ve won GOP Senate primaries this year, and pointed, in particular, to Sharron Angle’s talk of armed rebellion against the United States government.

McConnell replied that it’s Democrats who are “extreme,” and presented his indictment.

“What most Americans think is extreme is the kind of government we’ve been running for the last year-and-a-half. We’ve seen the government taken over banks, insurance companies, car companies, nationalizing the student loan business.

“We’re on a path to double the national debt in five years and triple it in 10. Most Americans think what’s been happening around here for the last year-and-a-half is extreme, and they want to change it.”

It came across as a little rehearsed because this was clearly something McConnell had given a lot of thought to. He wasn’t just riffing off the top of his head — this was McConnell’s prepared pitch.

And it’s a pretty awful case. Just consider them one at a time: (1) the government didn’t really “take over” the banks, so much as it bailed the banks out through TARP, which McConnell helped create and voted for; (2) the government didn’t take over health insurance companies at all, and the private entities will still be providing coverage for the vast majority of Americans; (3) yes, the administration felt compelled to rescue the American automotive industry, but the initiative was a great success, it saved millions of jobs, and the companies involved are making a comeback; (4) the student loan industry wasn’t nationalized — we were already paying for it — so much as the government made the system more streamlined and efficient, and will no longer needlessly give money to banks that could instead go to students.

What’s more, the national debt President Obama inherited was over $10 trillion. To hear McConnell tell it, it will be over $20 trillion in five years. That’s not even close to true.

So, Mitch McConnell’s five-point indictment included four allegations that don’t make sense. The fifth is one of the Obama administration’s greatest successes. This, according to the Republicans’ Senate leader, is clear evidence of Democratic “extremism.”

There’s a very good reason it’s impossible to take Mitch McConnell seriously on policy matters.