For a number of years, Mitch McConnell has orchestrated a duplicitous dynamic in which he engineers a Republican capitulation but ensures that he is not faulted for it. In fact, McConnell always makes sure to vote against the capitulations he sets into motion, so as not to stir up the “rubes” in his conservative home state. Well, the wheels are starting to come off that circus.
Conservatives have already seen a glimpse of the McConnell duplicity during the amnesty debate. He refused to lead the fight against it and even praised the bill, only to vote against it in the 11th hour. It was becoming clear even to those unfamiliar with his shenanigans that Mitch is the invisible hand behind the wall.
This week’s disastrous capitulation on the fight over Obama’s radical nominees has completely exposed McConnell as a feckless and duplicitous leader. As always, McConnell tapped a group of backbencher RINOs to negotiate the terms of surrender with Reid and Schumer on the fight over nominations. He sent Bob Corker, Lindsey Graham, and Roger Wicker to do his bidding. As always, they were happy to do so, and the surrender played out according to plan.
But then something happened. The media realized how pathetic Republicans looked after the deal; they even started feeling bad for Republicans. After all, Republicans agreed to rubber stamp the nominations of Richard Cordray for the new Dodd-Frank agency, Gina McCarthy to head the EPA, Tom Perez as Secretary of Labor, and replace the two vacant slots at the National Labor Relations Board with anyone Obama chooses. He chose two stooges of Richard Trumka.
The result was so embarrassing that all the newspapers in DC began reporting on how McConnell had his clock cleaned. Roll Call reported on a “new governing majority” of Schumer and the RINO Republicans that make McConnell look irrelevant. McConnell went into panic mode and started disavowing the deal. He reportedly told his members in a closed-door conference that he would have negotiated a better deal and that he was kept in the dark on this surrender. Then, all hell broke loose:
A meeting of Senate Republicans on Wednesday grew tense as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told his members he could have gotten a better deal on nominations than the one negotiated by rank-and-file Republicans.
McConnell’s tone, according to multiple sources, implied that he had been kept in the dark about the talks between some in his own ranks and Democrats. However, those same Republicans say they kept McConnell updated throughout their negotiating process.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., got so frustrated with McConnell’s presentation of events, that he called “bullshit” loud enough for the room to hear, nearly a half-dozen sources said. The heated exchange underscored the “buyer’s remorse” among some Republicans, especially leaders, one senior Republican said on background.
Corker’s office did not comment for this story.
Multiple Republican sources said McConnell appeared to be trying to create space between himself and the deal, given that many GOP members were upset by its outcome, especially in the case of Thomas E. Perez, President Barack Obama’s choice to run the Department of Labor. Perez’s nomination narrowly beat a filibuster attempt Wednesday on a 60-40 vote.
When asked directly about whether there was residual frustration with a deal brokered by Corker, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and others with Senate Democrats, most members demurred but gave hints to what had transpired.
“Not really. I think Sen. McConnell was completely informed about what was going on,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who backed McCain’s deal told CQ Roll Call. “This is a good conclusion to a hard problem, as far as I’m concerned. No senator is bound by anything but their conscience.”
The RINOs were willing to carry water for him, but they weren’t about to let Mitch throw them under the bus. Mitch knew about this deal and supported it the whole time, and they were not going to let him weasel out of it. Corker and Graham are tired of being punching bags for conservatives while McConnell gets away free.
Ask yourselves this question: is this the man we need to lead the opposition against Obama?
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