As conservatives unify behind a solid position, you can always count on Mitch McConnell to quietly come in at the last moment and cut a deal.
Most people associate John Boehner with the fiscal cliff and 2011 debt ceiling deals because he was the public figure for most of the debate. But both of those deals were cut by Mitch McConnell with Joe Biden during the eleventh hour. Aside for cutting the final debt ceiling deal, McConnell also floated the initial McConnell plan, which was used to completely undermine the momentum behind Cut, Cap, and Balance.
Well, McConnell is playing the same game with the fight over Obamacare. Last week, he completely sandbagged the unified House defund bill when he handed Harry Reid the requisite votes to strip out the rider and gain leverage over the House by sending back his own CR. Now, as he did with the debt ceiling fight in 2011, McConnell plans to feast on the carcass that he created.
After McConnell stabbed House Republicans in the back, they have been negotiating with themselves. They watered down defund to delay, and are working on watering it down further to more shiny objects. In the meantime, Democrats are standing firm and not negotiating with themselves. Then comes McConnell with a plan to pass a one-week clean CR.
So what is the purpose of a one-week CR? After telegraphing the message to Democrats that he is terrified of a government shutdown, why would McConnell want to delay the inevitable for one week? Why does he need another week to cave?
The only plausible strategy is that he wants to merge the CR with the debt ceiling so that he doesn’t have to cave on two separate fronts and raise the ire of conservatives even more than he has already done.
McConnell and other DC establishment figures need to stop with the tricks. They have already said they will never use brinkmanship to shutdown Obamacare. They have watered down their position three times while Democrats stand firm. This is just an embarrassing slow bleed. If this is where they are headed, it’s better they man up and propose a full-year, clean CR.
But that would take some degree of courage.