There’s probably very little point to the flood of speeches and press releases out this morning, with various players making the case for what President Obama “should” say in his State of the Union address. I have a hunch the 11th-hour recommendations won’t change so much as a syllable.
But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) spoke on the chamber floor this morning about his own expectations, and they struck me as rather interesting.
“…Republicans will be listening with great interest to see where the president plans to take the country over the coming year. Some media outlets are already reporting that we’ll be subjected to another litany of left-wing proposals, with plenty of red meat for the president’s base. I hope not. The campaign is over, and the fact is, if the president plans to accomplish anything good for the country in the coming months, he’s going to have to go through a Republican-controlled House.
“So this morning I’d like to humbly suggest once again that it’s time for the president to reach out to Congress, including Republicans, and make divided government work. That’s how he’ll actually address the issues Americans are most concerned about right now. It’s the only way.”
Now, I imagine Obama would love nothing more than to “make divided government work.” It’s why the president has pleaded with Republicans to work with him on, well, just about everything. The efforts have failed and Mitch McConnell knows why: he spent the president’s first term saying that defeating Obama, not helping Americans, was his top “priority,” and deliberately refusing to consider bipartisan proposals, even ones that he liked and approved of, in order to advance his larger partisan cause.
But it’s this fear of “left-wing proposals” that strikes me as especially interesting. McConnell wasn’t fielding reporters’ questions at the time, but I’d love to know which of Obama’s ideas the Minority Leader considers “left wing.” Because, whether the Kentucky Republican likes it or not, the American mainstream sides with Obama – and not the GOP – on nearly every major issue of the day.
Perhaps McConnell thinks the public is made up of too many “left-wing voters,” too?