QUOTE OF THE DAY…. By some measures, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is an exceptional Senate Minority Leader. This may seem counterintuitive given his personal and professional characteristics: he’s not honest; he doesn’t negotiate in good faith; he has no real respect for institutional norms; he’s proven himself willing to put his party’s interests above the nation’s interests; and he’s never demonstrated any working knowledge of any area of public policy.
But if it’s the job of the Senate Minority Leader to offer knee-jerk obstructionism, mindlessly oppose the majority’s agenda, stymie the chamber’s ability to function as a legitimate legislative body, and basically be an all-around pain in the arse, Mitch McConnell is very good at what he does.
And as far as he’s concerned, McConnell intends to make things even worse.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has a warning for Democrats seething over his shrewd political tactics: Get used to it.
“There’s much for them to be angst-ridden about,” McConnell said with a chuckle. “If they think it’s bad now, wait ’til next year.”
Right. McConnell’s caucus will expand from 42 members to 47 members in a few weeks, and at that point, he’ll basically consider himself the Senate Majority Leader — he’ll block anything that doesn’t meet with his full approval. For the last two years, McConnell’s principal goal has been to keep his handful of moderates from cooperating with the White House and the congressional majority. Next year, that won’t be a problem.
Indeed, we can add this to the list of McConnell’s frequent moments of candor. He conceded in August, for example, that as far as he’s concerned, literally every idea considered by the Senate in the next Congress “is going to have to be center-right,” even after voters elected a Democratic majority in the chamber.
What’s more, in March, McConnell acknowledged the entire basis for his health care strategy, explaining that he demanded unanimous GOP opposition, even to ideas Republicans liked, as a way of making reform unpopular. The strategy had nothing to do with policy or actually helping people, and everything to do with denying Democrats a victory.
Perhaps most famously, McConnell admitted his partisan intentions shortly before the midterm elections:”The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president…. Our single biggest political goal is to give [the Republican] nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful.”
Now, McConnell is at it again. He’s already taken Senate obstructionism to levels unseen in American history, and now he has a new promise for Democrats: “If they think it’s bad now, wait ’til next year.”
I can only hope White House officials are taking note of comments like these — if the West Wing thinks it can work constructively with McConnell and his cohorts on a range of issues, this would be an excellent time to reevaluate those expectations.