Opinion: Don’t be fooled. GOP ‘moderates’ will back McConnell’s scheme to stop Biden.

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
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Opinion by
Paul Waldman
Columnist
May 6, 2021 at 12:06 p.m. CDT

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is not a subtle man. He’s happy to explain to you exactly what his sinister schemes are and how they work. So it was no surprise that when asked about the current ferment among House Republicans, McConnell did not give the standard I’m just working hard for the American people reply.

Instead, McConnell said: “One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.”
McConnell does not waste time on the pretense that bipartisanship can be had if Democrats and Republicans come together in good faith, or that at heart everyone wants the same things. His job as he sees it is to hamstring, thwart and defeat President Biden at every turn.

But McConnell’s ability to accomplish this goal depends on a group of people whose actions, both past and future, are widely misunderstood: the moderates in his caucus.


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One might even go so far as to say that people in Washington, D.C., are deluded about who those moderates are and how they’ll act. Because the truth is, McConnell has the likes of Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska firmly in his pocket. He’s counting on their help to kill Biden’s infrastructure and jobs packages. And he’s going to get it.
It’s not that the moderates don’t consider themselves to be independent thinkers, and don’t make occasional efforts to work with Democrats. But when it counts, they do what McConnell wants.

We’ve been through this routine so many times it’s remarkable that there are still people who don’t understand how it works. The moderates string Democrats along for as long as possible, assuring everyone that they really, really want to be bipartisan. They express deep concern about the extremists in their own party. They pine, visibly and painfully, for the days when members of both parties routinely crossed the aisle. Then they vote with McConnell.


That has been the pattern on every remotely controversial piece of legislation in recent years. In 2009 and 2010 the GOP moderates negotiated endlessly with Democrats over the Affordable Care Act — then every last one of them voted against it. How many moderates objected when McConnell held open a Supreme Court seat for nearly a year to deprive President Barack Obama of the ability to fill it? Zero.
In 2017 McConnell and President Donald Trump giddily passed tax cuts gift-wrapped for the wealthy and corporations — and every moderate voted for it. Every one of them voted against the American Rescue Plan earlier this year, not because it was so drastically different from the pandemic relief bills passed in 2020, but because this time a Democrat president would reap the political benefit.

The only time in recent history that a few moderate Senate Republicans joined with Democrats to do something meaningful that seemed to contradict McConnell’s wishes was when three of them voted against their party’s misconceived 2017 attempt to repeal the ACA — and that was the exception that proves the rule.


That’s because when Collins, Murkowski and John McCain (R-Ariz.) deprived the GOP of the 50 votes it needed, they were doing McConnell and the GOP a favor. Throwing roughly 20 million Americans off health coverage and rewriting the rules of the whole system would have been so cataclysmic that any smart Republican knew it would be a nightmare for the party. Instead, they showed the base that they were making an effort but didn’t have to suffer the consequences had they succeeded.
So the only time a few moderate Republicans appeared to be rebelling against McConnell, they actually weren’t.

And yet some people still hope that next time, the moderates might say no to McConnell and join with Democrats to provide a victory for Biden. When conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), a desperate defender of the filibuster, was pressed on McConnell’s comment about stopping Biden, he brushed it off.


“That’s one person,” Manchin said Wednesday, adding that “I can assure you” that “there are Republicans working with Democrats” to “make something happen” on infrastructure.
Manchin is right about the short term, and spectacularly wrong about the medium and long term. Yes, he’s talking to Republican colleagues about infrastructure. But just as they did on the American Rescue Plan and on Obamacare, they will negotiate with him and then vote against the bill.

They have two different incentives, and they’ve figured out how to satisfy both. On one hand, they want their constituents (many of whom are not Republicans) to see them as independent and reasonable — so they make a show of talking to Democrats as the legislative process proceeds.
On the other, it’s in their interest for Biden to fail, since that helps every Republican. So there’s no way they’ll give Democrats votes to pass the bill, which is why Democrats will need to pass it with the simple-majority reconciliation process.


Just after saying he was 100 percent focused on opposing Biden, McConnell added, “What we have in the United States Senate is total unity from Susan Collins to Ted Cruz in opposition to what the new Biden administration is trying to do to this country.” Don’t doubt it for a moment.

 

Hoosierhawkeye

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
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The problem with the moderates honestly isn't that they won't work with the dems, it's that they are not enough of them to make working with them attractive enough for the dems.

2 ways to get something done in the senate, budget reconciliation which is limited but is the dems go it alone option.

The other way is breaking a filibuster which would require 60 votes or 10 Republicans.

There are not 10 moderate Republicans to break the filibuster. Therefore it's simply not worth the dems time to do it. Compromising with them is essentially like bidding against yourself. You are giving up a bunch and gaining nothing other than the appearance of bipartisanship.
 

BubsFinn

HR Legend
Nov 20, 2004
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Funny, I don't recall any of the schemes to stop Trump ever being called "sinister" by anyone at The Washington Post.
I'm sorry Democrats, you made this bed and now you have to lie in it.
 

ThorneStockton

HR Legend
Oct 2, 2009
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Funny, I don't recall any of the schemes to stop Trump ever being called "sinister" by anyone at The Washington Post.
I'm sorry Democrats, you made this bed and now you have to lie in it.

Exactly, if it wasn't for the Dems schemes we would have had Trump's Beautiful Health care plan that was going to cost less, cover more and be the most beautiful thing ever.

Oh wait...


Mocking you aside, this is kind of the "benefit" of Republican/conservatism. The ideology isn't based around "doing" things, besides lowering taxes. Their "winning" is doing nothing or preventing Dems from doing something.
 

joelbc1

HR King
Gold Member
Sep 5, 2007
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you can’t always get what you want!
Funny, I don't recall any of the schemes to stop Trump ever being called "sinister" by anyone at The Washington Post.
I'm sorry Democrats, you made this bed and now you have to lie in it.
2 of Trumps 4 years, the GOP had control of Congress....Dems are not nearly as "locked" together as Repubbers are.....they never have been. The Post is a democratic leaning newspaper.....even Nixon hated it.
 

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
65,599
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Funny, I don't recall any of the schemes to stop Trump ever being called "sinister" by anyone at The Washington Post.
I'm sorry Democrats, you made this bed and now you have to lie in it.
Um, Democratic "schemes" to stop the traitor Trump's horrible policies were in the best interest of the nation as anyone but a brainwashed Trumpkin would understand. And it's hard to say that Democrats "made this bed" when McConnell honestly stated that from day one their number one priority was to make Obama a one term president.
 
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ft254

HR Legend
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Jun 3, 2003
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Funny, I don't recall any of the schemes to stop Trump ever being called "sinister" by anyone at The Washington Post.
I'm sorry Democrats, you made this bed and now you have to lie in it.
I'd rather lay in the bed Democrats made than the bed of rocks, broken glass and poison ivy the Republicans have made and are further shaping.