Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Secret of Mitch McConnel's Success

He's taken a well deserved end of the year victory lap.

"Something strange occurred as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell prepared for a year-end news conference to crow about the accomplishments of the Republican Senate in 2015: The Democratic minority was celebrating, too."

"The spectacle on Friday of Minority Leader Harry Reid declaring it had been a “successful year,” just minutes before McConnell pronounced for the umpteenth time that the Senate "is back to work,” shows how far Congress has gone this year to challenge the long-held notion that Capitol Hill is hopelessly gridlocked and incapable of tackling big issues."

"In fact, bipartisanship was on display time and again as the GOP Senate leader teamed up with Democrats to get big-ticket legislation across the finish line, often leaving his own party split and conservatives on the sidelines. Speaker Paul Ryan did much the same in his first months in the job

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So that's the secret of McConnell-and Paul Ryan's early-success. A willingness to work with Democrats. So to the extent that Congress is working it's working thanks to the Dems.

"Democrats are more than a little annoyed by the GOP boasting. In their view, the $1.8 trillion spending and tax deal that passed last week wouldn’t have been written much differently if Reid were still majority leader. Same goes for several other notable bills that passed this year."

“McConnell is indeed compromising to get things done, but it’s a Democratic program,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in an interview this week. “The tea party made it happen. Because they wouldn't give him votes, so he had to come to Democrats.”

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This is something Rush Limbaugh has said too-that the latest Omnibus bill would have been no different had the Dems been in charge:

Still, there is a debate on what to draw from this less dysfnuctional GOP of late:

"But wins are wins. And Republican leaders have deprived Democrats of the election-year argument that the GOP Congress can’t get anything done. Instead of being able to paint the GOP Congress as a picture of chaos, Democrats are left to make the more nuanced case that McConnell nemesis Ted Cruz has argued: Rather than consolidate Republican support and pick off a half-dozen or so centrist Democrats on legislation, McConnell is taking the wins that Democrats will give him."

"While Schumer and other Democrats believe McConnell has been forced into compromise by the party’s recalcitrant conservative wing, McConnell says he always intended to empower the Democratic minority. It was the only way, he said, to show that the Republican Congress wouldn’t be the disaster that Democrats had always predicted."

“I’m glad they cooperated,” McConnell said in an interview this month. “I looked for bills where I thought there would be enough Democratic cooperation. Why? We don’t have 60 votes. You can either do things one-party only and score points in the Senate, or you can accept the fact that in order to do significant things, you have to have some Democratic support.”

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Well, look. What we're learning is that to govern like a Democrat means simply to govern. It might be ironic if McConnell's party benefits from Democratic votes. Well the GOP tried scorched earth opposition for years. Now they are going to try to beat the Dems by letting Congress function.

Of course, if a GOP President were to win with the GOP Congress that'd be something different.

The bar for Congress is pretty low thanks to the record of the House until Ryan and the Senate until 2013. Simply funding the government and to defaulting on the debt is now something highly laudable.

But look, we're Dems, we can't root for obstruction after all. Had the GOP reverted to the past the economy could have been hurt and hurt the Dem''s Presidential chances. I'm happy McConnell and Ryan are responsible. Just have to remind them and the voters they couldn't do this without Democrats. 

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