Literally one day after President Obama won 332 electoral votes en route to a second term, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) insisted, “The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the president’s first term.” How constructive.
Talking to reporters today, McConnell expanded on his perspective, saying his caucus is “open to new revenue” as part of a debt deal, “in exchange for meaningful reforms to the entitlement programs that are the primary drivers of our debt.” How about a quick fact-check of this?
In terms of the federal budget deficit, the “primary drivers” are the tax cuts McConnell approved without paying for them. Long term, it’s certainly true that health care costs are the overwhelming factor driving debt in the future, but McConnell and his party just spent a couple of years attacking Democrats for every possible cost-saving measure in Medicare and health care costs in general. If the Senate GOP leader has changed his mind on this, he should say so.
As for the road ahead, McConnell added that Republicans want President Obama “to lead” by offering a debt-reduction plan “designed to succeed.”
It’s fascinating rhetoric, actually. For Mitch McConnell, “showing presidential leadership” and “making Republicans happy” are literally the same thing. Indeed, under this framework, if Obama fails to satisfy GOP demands, he’s necessarily failed a leadership test – to lead is to satisfy McConnell’s demands. “Designed to succeed” roughly translates to “bills that some members of the most far-right Senate caucus in American history deem acceptable.”
If the president’s approach enjoys broad national support with the electorate, but McConnell deems it insufficiently conservative, then Obama must be deemed an unyielding partisan. It’s quite a scam, isn’t it?