Did you ever hear the one about the inadvisability of shooting at kings, and missing?
Yeah, well, that applies to Senate Minority Leaders, too.
In the hours and days following his re-election win, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fielded dozens of congratulatory calls and reached out to Democratic and Republican lawmakers, as well as President-elect Barack Obama.
But despite a previously solid working and personal relationship with his Democratic counterpart, McConnell chose to ignore both the election night call and a subsequent follow-up call from Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), whose party had dumped more than $6 million into Kentucky in an ultimately futile push to knock off the Republican leader.
In fact, according to Democrats and Republicans familiar with the situation, while McConnell and Obama spoke on the Thursday following the election, it took McConnell some nine days to ultimately respond to Reid’s overtures.
You know, it’s interesting: objectively speaking, neither Speaker Pelosi nor Senate Majority Leader Reid have actually done all that much in the last two years to thwart the GOP. And yet my opinion of Pelosi has somewhat improved, while mine of Reid’s has sunk through the floor. It must be because the former at least knows how not to let her opponents get away with slapping her down at every opportunity.The article goes on and on about how these two once had a warm relationship which has now cooled, and how things are all tense now, and a similar load of codswallop. The reality is this: when Reid took the Senate Majority Leader’s job in 2007, McConnell responded by first kneeing Reid in the groin right away, and followed up by kicking him in the ribs until the Senate Majority Leader cried uncle. Which Reid did, pretty abjectly, which is why the war got funded, the troops stayed in Iraq, FISA passed with no changes, and pretty much everything else that has made the Democratic base scream with inchoate rage for the last two years. So let’s not pretend that Reid’s desperate attempt to Make The Scary Man Leave was anything but precisely that, all right?
So, let me translate this next bit from the article for you:
“The Majority Leader made a tactical error that could potentially cost him his job when he signed off on $6 million of attack ads the last few weeks in Kentucky. McConnell never takes political attacks personally, but he is someone who has never hesitated to repay his opposition for their courtesy,” a senior Republican official said, adding that identifying a high-quality opponent to challenge Reid will be a priority for the party in the coming months.
McConnell is going to first break Harry Reid like a rotten stick, then make sure that he loses in 2010. And he has precisely the right tool to hand: he will probably end up with at least 41 votes in the caucus – 42 if you count Lieberman, and you should, for reasons that will become obvious – and he will be more than happy to sit down with the new President and say the magic words “bipartisan initiatives.” And the new President – who will be absolutely desperate for wins, especially when the economy collapses in, oh, say, March or so – will be more than happy to come up with some nice “moving to the Center”-type stuff, and never mind the Democrats in Congress.
Oh, right, the Democrats haven’t really had any experience in this lately. You see, there are two Democratic Parties: the executive branch one, and the legislative branch one. The two don’t actually have quite the same goals, and they certainly have their own priorities – and they have completely different sets of voters who they have to assuage. This is true of the GOP as well, by the way – and we had our fun little fights from 2002-2006, didn’t we just? Well, now it’s the Democrats’ turn… and if Obama hasn’t figured out yet that he can get legislation passed by getting the GOP caucus on board, then breaking the Democratic one in half, then Mitch McConnell will be happy to break out the PowerPoint slides.
Hearing this will probably annoy the partisans on both sides: to those on mine, consider this: it beats having them pass hardcore progressive legislation, and it won’t actually hurt us in 2010. To those on the other side… um, well, I don’t particularly care if you’re upset about this. I can only note that this is probably not going to get any better for you folks, from here on out…
PS: Unintentionally Ironic Statement of the Day Award:
But one veteran Democrat warned that Reid is not afraid of a fight, saying the Majority Leader “ain’t afraid to whip out the old Searchlight sling blade and cut their n*ts off.”
Yes, that was actually in the article.