Final Thoughts on the Senate GOP ‘Messaging’ Strategy
The Senate Republican Leadership under Mitch McConnell and Lamar Alexander told us to trust them.They were going to offer a series of “messaging amendments” to point out all the flaws in the health care legislation. The rest of us said no — force a vote on the legislation while the Dems did not have 60 votes.They ignored us.Then we said drag out the legislation as long as possible. They ignored us until votes were scheduled, making the dragging out impossible. When the scheduled time for the votes came, it did not matter if the bill was being read, the votes would happen.Along the way, McConnell and Alexander pooh-poohed anyone who suggested the messaging strategy was doomed to failure.There were 501 amendments offered.Mitch McConnell offered only one.Lamar Alexander? He did not offer a single one.So intent on avoiding being labeled by their friends in the press and on the aisle opposite as “the Party of No,” they rolled over and became the “Party of No Problem.”The Senate GOP Leadership’s fall back claim is that they only had 40 seats. Well, Mitch McConnell started with 55. Had he done his job when Ted Stevens fell to scandal in 2007, we would probably have a Republican Senator from Alaska. Likewise, in offering up a host of Republicans with little to distinguish them from the Democrats, his ultimate strategy had to focus on keeping Olympia Snowe on board instead of picking off just one Democrat.Well played, Mitch McConnell. Well played indeed. At 8:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve, 60 Democrats will pass legislation that prohibits its own future repeal, then Mitch McConnell will hop a flight to Kentucky, smiling that he and his good friend Harry Reid negotiated a Republican surrender to get out of Washington before an ice storm struck.