Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 27, 2010

SHINING A LIGHT ON MCCONNELL'S SHORT-TERM THINKING.... It was a bit of a delayed reaction, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) remarks to National Journal about his plans for next year are becoming increasingly interesting in Democratic circles.

If you're just joining us, McConnell noted the strategy he has in mind for 2011 and 2012. "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president," McConnell said, adding, "Our single biggest political goal is to give [the Republican] nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spoke about this at some length during a briefing yesterday, and the Democratic National Committee released this video today.

Just to clarify, it's worth emphasizing that the clip isn't going to be aired on television -- it's 47 seconds, not 30 -- though the DNC no doubt hopes it makes the rounds online.

Greg Sargent has a worthwhile take on this, questioning whether the issue really moves the needle, and noting that McConnell and his party just don't seem to care about how such sentiments are perceived: "[I]f anything, what's really interesting here is that McConnell sees no need whatsoever to even disguise his real aims, and never really has."

That's clearly true. But I think it's worthwhile for Democrats to incorporate this into the party's message anyway, for a few reasons. The first is that it might have a marginal effect on the Democratic base, which has frequently been infuriated by Republican obstructionism, and which may not like to hear McConnell boast that his agenda involves destroying the president next year.

The second has to do with so-called, self-identified "independents," who claim to like the idea of Dems and Republicans cooperating and working together. With McConnell and other Republicans already declaring -- in public and on the record -- they have no intention of doing anything of the sort, it might matter to some of these voters that a vote for the GOP is a vote for intensified partisan strife.

Ultimately, though, the key angle here is laying the groundwork for future debates. The next Congress, if the midterms go as expected, will be very ugly, and Americans are likely to ask why policymakers can't get anything done. The race will be on for each side to blame the other.

Since Republicans really will be responsible -- they're the ones already bragging about their unwillingness to compromise -- it makes sense for Dems to hammer the point now.

Steve Benen 1:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (17)

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Comments

What kind of a dull witted dumb fucker do you have to be to not know this is whats been going on for almost 2 years now. It took the Dems until a week befor the elections to figure this out. Sheesh!

Posted by: Gandalf on October 27, 2010 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

So they ran for re-election and are telling us they won't do their job. And they get paid. Sweet deal they've got.

Posted by: Lynn on October 27, 2010 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Hasn't he been saying this all along? Publicly? He had a Times interview more than a year ago where he said their plan was to obstruct everything. There is simply no reason for Dems to not have made this an issue at every turn for the past 1.5 years.

Posted by: wvng on October 27, 2010 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I hope they hit this hard, because the next two years are going to be a spectacle with impeachment and obstruction galore. Placing blame where blame is due will be much easier if quotes like this are common knowledge.

Posted by: danimal on October 27, 2010 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Lynn, the repub base thinks this is their job.

Posted by: wvng on October 27, 2010 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure why you think this is going make a difference. Republicans have been bragging about their unwillingness to compromise since November 2009 and yet here we are.

The problem is that since day one the frame by the media has been "why are Democrats refusing to compromise with Republicans," and I don't see that changing.

Again we get back to piss poor messaging and coherence by Democrats. For a political party with so many intelligent members, you wouldn't think it would be this hard.

Posted by: karen marie on October 27, 2010 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Again we get back to piss poor messaging and coherence by Democrats. For a political party with so many intelligent members, you wouldn't think it would be this hard." Messaging requires a vehicle willing to carry your message. As you yourself noted, the media frame was the Dems needed to compromise. The media wouldn't carry any other frame for fear of being labeled liberal.

Posted by: wvng on October 27, 2010 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Again we get back to piss poor messaging and coherence by Democrats. For a political party with so many intelligent members, you wouldn't think it would be this hard.

That's the point, it's not the intelligent members that are the problem, it's faux propaganda news and their millions of brainless zombie followers.I ahave seen it, brainwashing is easy , repetition is key.Murdoch is the evil emperor and rove , bohener(sp) are Darth Vader.The dark side flows well thru these ones . . .

Posted by: Michael on October 27, 2010 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Not to belabor the point, but I've been saying for years that the reason why it's so hard to get the Dem message out is that a huge percentage of the national media (including TV, newspapers, magazines and radio) is owned or controlled by the rightwing noise machine. (Hello, Mr. Murdoch!)

Until that changes, we're just going to have to do the best we can and hope that the situation somehow fixes itself. My guess is that the country will have to suffer a lot of pain before the drooling masses finally wake up and see how they've been manipulated. I hope I'm wrong.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on October 27, 2010 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

In a sane world Republicans would get blamed for gridlock and complete refusal to coorperate or negotiate in good faith.

But we live in a world where the MSM has defined 'bipartinship' to mean:

Democrats do what the Republicans want.

Anything short of that and Democrats are called obstructionist or traitors or anti-American.

Posted by: thorin-1 on October 27, 2010 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't Mitch or one of those guys talk about "Waterloo" a long time ago?

I'm sure Obama will continue to reach out in a bipartisan way and compromise and compromise some more, while the Repubs will continue to claim their exellent ideas are being completely ignored. And vote against everything even if it's 99% their own ideas.

Jeeez.

Posted by: emjayay on October 27, 2010 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

So, Senator Mitchell, if it comes down to voting yes for a program that would improve the lives of Americans, but might also improve Obama's chances of being re-elected, and voting no, so that lives of Americans would be made worse, but Obama would also be less likely to be re-eleceted, you would vote no?

That is what he said.

Posted by: catclub on October 27, 2010 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Why should McConnell bother hiding?

With "true progressives" hating Obama as much as teabaggers, there's absolutely zero force on the media to cover such lack-of-concern-about-governing. The McConnell's of the country have had free reign since "true progressives" deserted Obama (i.e., around February 2008).

Posted by: sherifffruitfly on October 27, 2010 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

This statement is a powerful weapon against the GOP because their actions of the blatant obstructionism over the last two years makes it irrefutable.

According to Olbermann on Countdown last Monday, McConnell has been trying to walk back the statement, so he knows full well how damaging it could be if picked up by the MSM.

I was absolutely appalled when I first heard about this, especially given the dire straits the country currently finds itself in. Politics for politics sake, truly pathetic.

Posted by: Kiweagle on October 27, 2010 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

there's absolutely zero force on the media to cover such lack-of-concern-about-governing

The media has covered 'governing' in years. When they do cover policy its almost always through the lense of 'politics' and generally about the horserace aspect.

It makes things easier and cheaper for them. You can spout off opinions all day about whether x policy will be percieved as benefiting Obama or republicans without thinking or research or any real work. Trying to figure out what those policies actually do and how they actually effect real people requires effort and work.

It also leaves the public woefully underinformed about what's happening in the world and disconnects what happens in congress from what government actually does.

Posted by: thorin-1 on October 27, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Wait. The Democrats have a message?

Posted by: Buggy Ding Dong on October 27, 2010 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think anyone here gets it. Blocking Obama's agenda is now what most Americans want the Republicans to do. When 60+ house seats flip and the Repubs are talking to Ben Nelson about becoming the 51st GOP Senator, this will be pretty clear. It's not considered obstruction when you're obstructing something the people have made clear they don't want anyway.

Posted by: Raven on October 27, 2010 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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