Political Animal


July 06, 2011 3:25 PM McConnell: ‘We look a lot like Greece already’

By Steve Benen

It’s difficult to say without knowing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) personally, but he either isn’t very bright, or he says dumb things on purpose, in the hopes that we’re not very bright.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said Wednesday that the financial state of the U.S. is similar to bankrupt Greece.

Making the case for major spending reductions a day before congressional leaders will meet with President Obama, McConnell said, “We look a lot like Greece already.”

No sane person could believe this. Greece has a debt crisis and an awful credit rating. It’s a small country with a small economy, and a government structure that’s a little shaky.

To see Greece and its crisis and think the United States looks “a lot like Greece” is the kind of sentiment that should send a pretty loud signal to the political world: Mitch McConnell is someone who doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.

If the Minority Leader meant what he said, he’s a fool. If he didn’t mean what he said, and this is some sort of political game, he’s a cynical con man.

Either way, the fact that he’s leading the Senate Republican caucus isn’t a healthy development for any of us.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • AtlasMugged on July 06, 2011 3:34 PM:

    So much for "American exceptionalism" from the GOP.

  • Squeaky McCrinkle on July 06, 2011 3:34 PM:

    Mitch McConnell may have a point in one way . . . the rich in Greece don't like paying their fair share in taxes either.

    McConnell is a snake.

  • SadOldVet on July 06, 2011 3:35 PM:

    My vote is for FOOL...

  • kevo on July 06, 2011 3:38 PM:

    Mitch McConnell is a disingenuous man!

    His power comes from his benefactors who are sending jobs overseas!

    His perspective comes from a perverse sense of conservatism where empathy for his fellow humanity is void!

    And his hubris comes from no effective counter narrative offered by Democrats who have gone AWOL on this national debate of who we are as a people, and what we value among ourselves as we call each other American! -Kevo

  • Chris on July 06, 2011 3:40 PM:

    I sense that the Republican party has every intention on causing the U.S. to default on its debt. So by making assertions that "we look a lot like Greece", McConnell is setting up the pins for the media. If we default, then the media can blame the resulting recession on our Greece-like debt.

    See how smart Republicans are? They predicted it.

  • Bernard HP Gilroy on July 06, 2011 3:42 PM:

    >>Greece has ... a government structure that's a little shaky.
    Hmmm. Maybe we do look like Greece a little...
  • c u n d gulag on July 06, 2011 3:44 PM:

    You're misunderestimating him.
    He actually WANTS us to look like Greece!

    Why do you think we're having this whole debt ceiling charade?

    If the Democrats fold in the debt ceiling talks, the old, sick, poor, disabled, and children get cuts.

    And if the economy collapses and interest rates soar because the debt ceiling wasn't raised, the old, sick, poor, disabled, and children get even more massive cuts.

    It's a win/win.

    In Greece, they're sacrificing a lot to keep the Banksters and rich afloat.

    Greece isn't a warning.

    Greece is an aspirational goal.

  • Josef K on July 06, 2011 3:52 PM:

    I'm starting to think the Emperor Tiberius had it right when he said the Roman Senate was just "men fit to be slaves."

    Our own Senate is looking much the same as his: ineffectual, too privileged to understand the country's troubles, and too interested in its arcane procedures/traditions to care.

  • DAY on July 06, 2011 3:52 PM:

    And Mitch McConnell looks like. . .

    Well, I'm a gentleman, and there are ladies present, so I shant say what Mitch McConnell looks like.

    Besides, the imagination is a wondrous device!

  • Davis X. Machina on July 06, 2011 4:01 PM:

    Let's test his thesis:

    debt crisis -- no
    awful credit rating -- no
    small country -- no
    small economy -- no
    government structure that’s a little shaky -- yes.

    See, we are just like Greece

  • fourlegsgood on July 06, 2011 4:01 PM:

    He's stupid.

    End of story. Anyone that thinks differently is stupid as well.

  • biggerbox on July 06, 2011 4:01 PM:

    Well, much as I hate to agree with the Turtleman, I do see some similarities. I mean, we too have a government that seems committed to ignoring the needs and will of the huge majority of the people and enacting ridiculous legislation designed only to please a group of elite bankers who refuse to acknowledge that they need to accept a haircut on the bad loans they made trying to exploit a bubble that has now burst.

    Oh, that wasn't the comparison he had in mind?

  • Stephen on July 06, 2011 4:08 PM:

    John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor, John Kyle, etc
    all voted for multiple debt limit increases and multiple budgets that included deficit spending (before we had a Democrat in the White House).

    If Mitch thinks we are like Greece, then he can look in a mirror and see the reason.

  • karen marie on July 06, 2011 4:16 PM:

    Hey, McConnell and his Republican colleagues have worked very hard to get the US to look like Greece. Give them a couple more weeks and we'll have the same or a worse credit rating.

    Next, Republicans will sell off national assets at pennies on the dollar, and corporations will own this country lock, stock and barrel.

  • slappy magoo on July 06, 2011 4:26 PM:

    McConnell looks like Eddie Deezen, who played Eugene in Grease. So...you know...in that, he's not entirely wrong, I guess.

  • Mimikatz on July 06, 2011 4:38 PM:

    Kevo and Chris have it right. McConnell is not stupid. He is smart and a sociopath. He is interested in his own personal power, which he believes will be increased (to majority leader) if Obama loses, and more riches for his patrons (and himself), the already very rich. Everything he does is calculated. In this case he is saying that Obama has made us a third world country. Many people sense that that is just what we are becoming, but forget that it was Bush who pushed us there, Bush and the congressional GOP. And he is preparing us for the eventual default (albeit short) that he thinks will bring about the final weakening of Obama needed to bring in a GOP Senate majority. He in fact doesn't care about the Presidency (which he is astute enough to realize is beyond the GOP's reach, at least with the current clown show), but he doesn't care because his power is maximized with a Dem President.

    He is truly a scumbag. But he is smart.

  • Michael on July 06, 2011 4:39 PM:

    Ya know, we're raising turkeys this year for the first time, and I've named 'em all Mitch because of their uncanny resemblance to the current Senate minority leader. And, ladies and gents, not only does Senator McConnell looks like a turkey, he acts like one, plus he keeps on making turkey sounds with his mouth. Gobble gobble gobble.

  • Daddy Love on July 06, 2011 4:49 PM:

    Calling a Republican a cynical con man is an affront to cynical con men.

  • exlibra on July 06, 2011 4:52 PM:

    Well, I'm a gentleman, and there are ladies present, so I shan't say what Mitch McConnell looks like. -- DAY, @3:52

    If you're squeamish about saying words like "prick" (with teeth, legs and a tail) in mixed company, you can always resort to visual help. Here's a photo of "naked mole rat". Remind you of anyone?

    As for the substance of his statement... We have already surpassed Greece. They never had *marriage* equality, no matter what they practiced on Lesbos and elsewhere.

    "nuclear arldinat". Which is it? Either "nuclear" or "ordinary", but not both.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on July 06, 2011 4:55 PM:

    There was an NYT political reporter, I forget who, that, after McConnell made one of his all-too-frequent stupid remarks last week, tweeted:

    "We're governed by idiots."

    Most people would have to work very hard to find the stupidity that McConnell finds effortlessly.

  • paul on July 06, 2011 5:03 PM:

    Actually, there is a way that we're like Greece, and it affect our fiscal stability: rich people here, as there, feel entitled to the benefits of a modern nation without any sense that they need to pay their fair share of taxes.

  • Texas Aggie on July 06, 2011 5:07 PM:

    Well, there are certain similarities. Greece was brought down by a collusion between crooked politicians and the financial "wizards" and they are sacrificing their people to enrich the bankers.

    Who was it that had an article about what has happened through history when the rich refused to carry their share of the financial burden? The one that struck me was the French Revolution with Madame LaFarge, the tumbrils, and other accoutrements. A similar situation could happen here if these guys push it too hard.

  • ClearEye on July 06, 2011 5:42 PM:

    McConnell, who proclaimed loudly that his purpose is to make Obama a ''one term President'' is not stupid.

    He is intentionally misleading, as he is confident that what he says is seldom examined critically by the press. This has worked well for him and his party.

    On the particular point about Greece, the CIA World Factbook provides some handy comparisons, such as countries ranked by public debt as a % of GDP: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2186rank.html

    Greece is #5 (at 144%) and the US is a lowly #37 (at 59%).

    But modern Republicans ''create our own reality'' as Karl Rove told Ron Suskind early in GWB's second term, and McConnell is happy to play reality creator as long as the press will allow.

  • max on July 06, 2011 7:54 PM:

    Regarding McConnell, saying he's either a fool or a cynical con man is way too charitable. He's much worse.

  • thebewilderness on July 06, 2011 7:57 PM:

    Actually it is California that is looking a bit like Greece, except for having three times the population and three times the economy of Greece, but except for that and a few other things they are exactly alike.

  • Doug on July 06, 2011 8:54 PM:

    From all the articles about Greece that I've read, corruption is the major cause of Greece's financial problems. Not just major, massive bribes to politicians, know here as "campaign contributions", but day-to-day corruption where one has to pay money under the table just to receive services supposedly already paid for. We haven't gotten to that point, although with the Republicans' idea of governing via the "good old boy" system, it wouldn't take long!