So Mitch McConnell has finally decided to abdicate all responsibility to the Republican party, despite being the leader of the Republicans in the Senate.
Instead of working for the greater success of the Republican Party (or, more realistically, given his capabilities, we better go with lesser), he is now dedicating himself to helping the Democrats win as many seats as possible in the 2010 midterms. Making passionate pleas to steer them away from dangerous mis-steps which could cost them votes and seats:
The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, warned Democrats on Tuesday that Republicans would use the issue of health care to bludgeon them in the November midterm elections if Democrats succeeded in passing a comprehensive overhaul.
“It will be the issue in every race in America,” Mr. McConnell said at a news conference in the Capitol. He also referenced the Republican victory in the Massachusetts special Senate election as evidence of the price Democrats would pay if they “jam” a health care bill through Congress “over the objections of the American people.”
My first reaction was: “Wow! That’s mighty big of him! Instead of holding his tongue, and starting to plan the huge Republican victory celebration that would be called for in November, he’s actually giving Democrats a chance to take corrective action before they shoot themselves in the mouth. (Mouth, because that’s usually where their foot is to be found, in my experience.)” I thought this was McConnell signaling his personal intention to return to the courtly politics of the good old days, when both sides behaved like perfect gentlemen (there’s no way he could bring his party with him on this, so it would have to be just his personal intention).
And then I thought: “McConnell? Courtly? Perfect gentleman? Naah, no way!” Which is when it hit me that this has to be McConnell’s overture to the Democratic Party, the first step of his double-cross of the Republicans. Once Democrats take his advice and win big in November (or, more realistically perhaps, just lose small), McConnell will be the toast of the Democratic party and, coincidentally, no longer welcome in the GOP.
So even if McConnell is only an unpaid consultant at this point — or, if you insist, an unsolicited consultant — if Democrats would only let his unrequited love bloom into a mutual passion, anything could happen. We could even get back to the halcyon days of the filibuster-proof 60-seat majority.
Okay, this is how far I had got in my thinking when I sat down to write this post. But, as I wrote it, it hit me that McConnell doesn’t seem to have taken any flak whatsoever for his gesture of political altruism. No one in the media or the GOP has risen up to denounce him for warning the Democrats off from electoral suicide.
The silence of the media can hardly come as a big surprise to anyone. Everyone knows that the mainstream media is one big liberal conspiracy. At some point, this liberal conspiracy was bound to infect even Fox News. We’ve obviously just seen that happen. So McConnell betrays the Republic Party, and there’s not a peep out of Fox News.
The unanimous silence from the GOP is much more striking, and would have to qualify as a surprise. But hardly a puzzle. Such unanimous silence can only mean one thing. Republicans have read the tea leaves. With the rise of the Tea Party movement, they see themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. Too many of what used to be two-way contests that Republicans won easily are going to turn into three-way contests in which Democrats are going to squeak out victories. (When McConnell referenced the Republican victory in the Massachusetts special Senate election, he was really just reminding everyone of the surprise Democratic victory in the New York special House election.) Too many Republicans are going to face primary challenges from Tea-Party supported extremists, that will drive them so far to the right to win the primary that they will sabotage any hope of winning the general election. It’s really no fun when you wake up to the realization that you’re now doomed to always be in the minority, that all your future political life has in store for you is petty obstructionism and posturing.
You can see where I’m going with this, don’t you? I’m afraid McConnell is, after all, the standard-bearer for the Republican party. His overtures to the Democrats are not for himself alone. He’s going to bring his entire party with him.
I readily concede this is just a theory at this point. But a theory that will easily prove or disprove itself in the coming weeks and months. Just look to Republicans, and see what they do. And when you find a consistent pattern of warning Democrats away from electoral disasters, you’ll know exactly what that means. And you’ll find me right here, dusting off my hands, and going “Q.E.D.!”