What ‘putting aside talking points’ looks like

On ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, host Christiane Amanpour asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) an important debt-related question. “So putting aside the tax hikes, basic raw tax hikes,” she said, “are you willing — this is a negotiation after all — to talk about any kind of revenue raising? For instance, ethanol subsidies. For instance, tax breaks for oil and gas corporations or corporate jets. Is there anywhere where revenue raising can happen without you saying it’s a tax hike?”

The Republican senator wouldn’t answer the question directly, but McConnell did say, “Well, I think we’ve gotten to the point where we ought to put aside our talking points.” As if this wasn’t clear enough, he said again a few minutes later, “We are past the point where we trade talking points.”

Good for McConnell. That sure sounds great, doesn’t it? After all the posturing and chest-thumping, here’s one of Congress’ most important Republicans arguing that it’s time for policymakers to approach the process with more substance and detail. Talking points may have helped set the stage, but that time has passed.

And what, pray tell, does this post-talking-point phase look like, as far as Mitch McConnell is concerned? Well, let’s take a look at what else the Minority Leader said in the same interview.

* “We need to quit borrowing, quit spending, and get us our trajectory heading in the right direction.”

* “We have a spending problem. We don’t have a problem because we tax too little.”

* “We need to cut spending now. We need to cap spending in the future.”

* “Obamacare cut Medicare about half trillion dollars.”

* “Passing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution … would be an important step in the right direction particularly looking out to the future.”

* “We think it’s important to take advantage of this opportunity to do something really important to move the country in a different direction.”

What a relief Mitch McConnell finally wants to “put aside our talking points.”

Honestly, is the Minority Leader even capable of speaking without tired and inane talking points? If the relevant players “put aside our talking points,” wouldn’t that render McConnell effectively mute?