Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sat down late last week with “a room full of advertising and cable television types” in Lexington, and he had plenty to say about how great American politics would be if only he led the Senate. The Daily Independent in Ashland, Kentucky, reported Friday on one striking detail in particular.
He promised to restore order to the U.S. Senate, allow votes on legislation he might not support, force President Barack Obama to sign or veto legislation for “a growth agenda,” and joked about the expense of running a U.S. Senate campaign. […][D]oes that mean he’d allow votes on such things as the minimum wage which Democrats generally support (including Grimes) and which Republicans generally oppose?“Yes,” McConnell said.
Well, that’s different. Indeed, it’s more than different – it’s the exact opposite of what McConnell recently told the Koch brothers and their allies.
The Kentucky Republican appeared earlier this summer at a private summit organized by the Kochs, and at the time, McConnell told the crowd that if he’s put in charge of the Senate, “we’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That’s all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage.”
So, which is it? Was McConnell telling the truth to the Koch brothers, when he said the Senate wouldn’t vote on raising the minimum wage, or was he telling the truth to the media professionals last week, when he said he would allow the Senate vote on a minimum-wage increase?
For context, it’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time the GOP Senate leader has struggled with the issue. Shortly after the public learned about McConnell’s disdain for “gosh darn” increases to the minimum wage, the senator told the ABC affiliate in Louisville that if economic growth improves, “raising the minimum wage might make sense.”
It’s a reminder that McConnell finds himself in a tough spot: he’s an endangered and unpopular incumbent on the wrong side of a popular economic measure. Is it any wonder the senator is now making contradictory promises to entirely different audiences?