I have previous posited that Mitch McConnell, hero to so many on the right, has infected the GOP with a nasty cancer of defeatism.
If you listen to someone like Lincoln Chafee, it's all part of the plan to hold the caucus together.
"He's a good mathematician and he's going to be counting votes - especially if Obama will be wading in," Chafee said. "And if the Obama people are smart they won't depend on a razor-thin margin to prevent filibusters."
I actually understand that. McConnell will not be effective if he can't hold his caucus together. I think he is a good mathematician.
But behind the scenes, I think there remain problems.
Barack Obama on Friday told the Republicans they need to stop listening to Rush Limbaugh. First, Obama is probably still pissed about Operation Chaos dragging out the Democratic primary. Second, Barack Obama has listened to Rush Limbaugh more than the Republican Party. Had the GOP listened to Rush Limbaugh, the GOP would not be in its present predicament.
As Rush rightly points out, moderates stand for nothing and the voters want to support someone who stands for something. As I've previously stated, the GOP and the Democrats both win elections by starting with their base voters and then adding to the base. Lately, the GOP has been intent on starting from outside the base and working its way in.
Mitch McConnell is indicative of this problem and seems intent on spreading his party killing cancer. He needs to turn back from the path down which he intends to lead the Republican Party.
Roll Call notes McConnell intends to outline a "post-partisan" path. Everything you wanted to know about where McConnell is headed can be found in this part of the article:
Although McConnell's speech could prove unpopular with the activists who generally attend the winter meeting, it could also provide a rallying cry for old-line Republicans to reassert their authority within the party, one GOP source familiar with the meeting said.
After 2006, Lamar Alexander very famously told the Senate Republicans they needed to give up partisanship. At their conference, Alexander insisted Republican Senators only bring to the table agenda items on which they could seek compromise with the Democrats. In fact, Alexander regularly chastises conservative Republican senators and staffers.
When Roll Call says McConnell's speech will "provide a rallying cry for old-line Republicans to reassert their authority within the party," what it means is a return to Bob Dole - Trent Lott compromise with the majority.
In other words, a return to Bob Michel. In McConnell's own words from his Friday speech, "Dole explained it this way: ‘Those things that are lasting are bipartisan. If you don’t have a consensus, it’s not going to last.’" To hell with that, Senator.
For the Senate GOP and the GOP in general to get on the road to the majority, the GOP should start listening to Rush Limbaugh. The GOP should make the case for Obama's failures by letting him fail. The GOP should reject cooperation on the stimulus lest they be connected to it.
At this time, the GOP needs bold leadership, not "post-partisan politics."
McConnell is the chief seeker of mediocrity and his recent speech at the press club embodies that.
The things that top the list explaining why he has descended to mediocrity are not the things that are sexy — such as his leadership style that is most certainly that of "find out where the winds are blowing, and then go walk out in front... sort of... for a while..."
He is lauded for strategy, but what has he done that is so brilliant that has benefited America or conservative ideas?
Right now - he, and Boehner more than I would prefer, are doing absolutely NOTHING to defend conservative principles or draw a line of distinction between Republicans and Democrats.
As a friend of mine who participated in the Senate GOP retreat where Alexander shut out conservatives told me, "it was a bunch of puke about 'appearing to work together with Democrats,' and 'reaching across the aisle for bipartisan accomplishments.'"
I know how these nimrods work. And I remain unimpressed.
Right now, we should be talking about permanent low personal tax rates, lower corporate tax rates and lower, indexed-to-inflation capital gains tax rates — instead, we are letting Democrats, and Obama specifically, get away with calling his bogus, non-tax-cutting "credits," tax cuts. That is absurd. We are letting them win in the name of being conciliatory. And it is McConnell's fault and the fault of those who defend him, and fail to take him on.
Right now we are letting them win the most fundamental of Republican arguments - about true tax cuts stimulative effect on economic activity. Democrats are saying they are tax-cutters, and they are not. They are welfare-statists and are using the tax code, with Republican help, to accomplish their socialist aims.
- has been notoriously antagonistic to DeMint for almost 2 years.
- is throwing Coburn under the bus and throwing minority rights under the bus at the same time, refusing to stand up for the minority's right to amend legislation.
- currently is failing to do ANYTHING to define Republicans - such as not putting for a Republican agenda of any kind, exemplified by the never-filled S11-S20 in the 110th Congress, and the yet to be laid out Republican agenda for the 111th (S11-S20 or not - just show me something).
- that failure is exemplified by his willingness to let 25+ years of conservative, low-broad-tax-rate fiscal policy and sound economic policy get pissed all over by Democrats, with Republicans going along for the ride...
- failed to keep us out of trouble on immigration, voting the right way only after the American people demanded it
- has consistently sided with porkers over reformers, and never has enacted what he promised to do - reform/transparency re: earmarks and the appropriations process
- promised to make judges a key issue in the 110th, and totally failed to do it. he wanted to own it. He did - and did not make judges the kind of issue it could have been to yield more confirmations, make political points and set the stage for the 111th...
- His core strategy for the home stretch politically was to "get out of Washington," which while normally a decent instinct, left us with no fall strategy or footing with which to deal with the bailouts.
- failed to make sure Chambliss, and his gang of idiots, didn't screw up the energy negotiations. Our "signature issue" was left dangling over August heading into the political season with a bunch of pissed off people.
- allowed moderates like Coleman, Smith and Collins to dictate the overall Republican Conference message, like leaving ANWR out of our energy bill(s). Nice record on those guys in the election, huh?
- lost how many seats when he was head of NRSC in 1998? How many as whip in 2006? How many as leader in 2008? How many times can he be a victim of circumstance before everyone wakes up to see that his "calculating" style doesn't seem to produce anything useful.? He's been intimately involved with campaigns and strategy when we have lost over 20 seats.
I'm not hopeful McConnell can turn the corner, but perhaps he can. He can start by turning on Rush Limbaugh and paying attention.