Friday, November 16, 2012

Is Miss McConnell Giggling? I Don't Think So


Former RNC chairman Michael Steele summarized the Republican Party's efforts to win control of the Senate and put Miss McConnell in charge: "All you had to do was grab four, so how do you lose two?" And most of the losses were in red states that gave Romney comfortable margins of victory: Indiana, where Romney won by 10.5% and Richard Mourdock lost by 5.6%; Missouri, where Romney won by 9.6% and Todd Akin lost by 15.5%; Montana, where Romney won by 13.5% and Denny Rehberg lost by 3.9%; and North Dakota where Romney won by 19.8% and Rick Berg lost by 1.0%. How lame was that? Apparently not lame enough to prevent the ascension of NRSC Chair-- architect of the Republican senatorial strategy-- to move up to the #2 position in the GOP Senate hierarchy. (Maybe Miss McConnell just wanted Republicans to think twice before they seriously contemplated removing him.)

McConnell is desperate to keep the old filibuster rules-- and a modicum of relevance for himself-- in place. His hysteria about Obama moving towards fulfilling the campaign promises that got him elected-- and that saw majorities vote for Democratic candidates not just for the Senate but even for the House (where GOP gerrymandering kept the Republicans in power with fewer votes than Democrats got)-- is a real problem for him. So yesterday he derided President Obama's offer of a compromise-- one that progressives aren't thrilled about by a long shot-- as "a joke."
On the Senate floor, McConnell demanded presidential leadership in discussions on how to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and spending cuts that will be reached in January.

“The only way we succeed is if the president steps up and leads,” McConnell said. “And an opening bid of $1.6 trillion in tax hikes just isn’t serious. … It’s a joke."

The president’s plan is based on his most recent budget proposal, which sought the $1.6 in new revenues by targeting the wealthy and corporations.

McConnell said Republicans will only negotiate a fiscal deal if Democrats make major spending cuts and entitlement reforms part of the discussion.
Yes, the sick old queen is holding out for all the things Americans just said they do not want: cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. But, Miss McConnell hisses, the Republican Party won't even negotiate unless that's part of the plan. What his real problem is can be best summed up in a survey Stan Greenberg did that shows that by a two to one margin, normal Americans want Republicans in Congress to work with President Obama, while Republicans surveyed oppose that entire idea by identical proportions-- two to one! That's the nest Republican elites built for themselves. and that's the nest Miss McConnell will have to navigate in his reelection bid for 2012. If Steve Beshear runs, he's toast. If Ashley Judd runs, he may be as well. I don't know for sure if Chris Hayes had Miss McConnell in mind when he wrote this sentence in his incisive new book Twilight of the Elites
but it's inconceivable that McConnell and his caucus didn't come to mind when he was formulating the idea: "A wide distance between the governors and the governed will produce a state that is predatory toward its own citizens, indifferent to their desires, and subject to the inbred whims and compulsions of its ruling class."

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