Mitch McConnell Plays Hardball, Or, Calling David Limbaugh

 

From the New York Times:

Democrats in the Senate hoping to pass nonbudget-related legislation in the lame-duck session were put on notice by their Republican colleagues Wednesday morning: No tax-cut extension? No laws for you!

In a letter signed by the 42 members of the Republican caucus, delivered to the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and mentioned Wednesday on the Senate floor by the minority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republicans informed their Democratic counterparts that they would not go forward with “any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers.”

Over the last couple of days, I believe readers will agree, a theme has developed in David Limbaugh’s posts:  Now that we in the hinterlands have given them new power, are these Republicans going to deliver, or what?  David still has me worried about some of Eric Cantor’s recent comments about retaining the “good” parts of ObamaCare instead of repealing and replacing every last jot and tittle of that abomination.  But after about 24 hours of saying gracious things about the need for Republicans and Democrats to work together, Mitch McConnell, joined by every last one of his Republican colleagues in the Senate, has now made clear they have no intention of permitting themselves to get rolled in this ludicrous lame-duck session.

Mitch McConnell, God bless ‘im.  He may not be the ideal face of the GOP, looking, as used to be said of Calvin Coolidge, as if he was weaned on a pickle.  But he’s smart, he’s utterly in command of the intricate rules of the Senate–and he means to win.

‘Tis the season, David Limbaugh, to be jolly.

There are 38 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar

    For a basic intro to Republican healthcare ideas, this Heritage Foundation report explains it. To sum up, insurers need a (rather complicated) insurance scheme of their own, designed and run by representatives of the industry. Initial government effort is required for research and development, but in theory this insurance scheme could be privately-run (as it almost is in Utah–the Risk Adjuster Board is run by health insurance and consumer representatives, answerable to the state legislature).

    This sort of scheme is why private healthcare markets in other countries work just fine, but not here in the U.S. It’s also a prerequisite for a fiscally-solvent exchange. The healthcare bill pays pays lip service to these ideas–I suspect they wanted to woo conservative Blue Dog Democrats, not Republicans–though in a mis-mashed, incompetent manner.

    (And like I said above, it also has horrendous regulation, earmarks beyond all reason, doesn’t reduce costs, and on sum is a total disaster. But it’s important we don’t risk destroying our own ideas at reform).

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Contributor
    @Midge
    Lady Kurobara

    — a closet Marxist with a big, fat veto pen.

    I just can’t help but wonder if the phrase “big, fat veto pen” is in violation of the Ricochet Code of Conduct or not.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Contributor
    @Midge
    Peter Robinson

    Mitch McConnell, God bless ‘im. He may not be the ideal face of the GOP, looking, as used to be said of Calvin Coolidge, as if he was weaned on a pickle.

    I think he looks more like an amiable tortoise myself.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Contributor
    @DavidLimbaugh

    Peter: Thanks. I did see this yesterday and hoped it was still current, i.e., that it had not been superseded by yesterday’s Kumbaya event between the president and GOPers. But I also didn’t want it to interfere with my bad mood. Ok, just kidding.

    What I find noteworthy about this and other similar developments we’ve seen is that there is might be a sea change development occurring that distinguishes today’s Dem shellacking from the one they received in 1994, i.e., the Tea Party phenomenon. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: It is shaping up as though the protest movement in favor of recapturing fiscal sanity will be almost as important in holding victorious Republicans accountable as it has been (and will continue to be) in displacing the irredeemably profligate Dems.

    We are witnessing nearly immediate, direct accountability in real time — as these incumbents, even the very entrenched and powerful ones, realize they are not beyond being replaced themselves. In direct response to having our sovereignty stolen, we are reclaiming it and the politicians — at least more so than in a long time — are giving it back to its rightful owners.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar

    @Lady Kurobara:

    Mathematically, the Federal Government has to get smaller. We cannot pay for it anymore, and tax hikes literally cannot keep up with the shortfall (there’s bunches of CBO reports showing this).

    Do you honestly believe the 1997 welfare reform was a victory for leftists? Or the mid-90s balanced budgets? Both were compromises, in conservatives’ favor.

    We have the upper hand here. What we need is more 90s-style politics, not a rejection of compromise–the past decade saw the rise of big-government, statist Republicans; compromise didn’t drive them towards betrayal of principle, they wanted to do so.

    [edit to make slightly more civil]

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar

    @David Limbaugh: Best way of putting it I’ve heard so far. We are reclaiming our sovereignty–government by consent of the governed!

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake

    Peter Robinson

    Mitch McConnell, God bless ‘im. He may not be the ideal face of the GOP, looking, as used to be said of Calvin Coolidge, as if he was weaned on a pickle.

    I think he looks more like an amiable tortoise myself. · Dec 2 at 12:09pm

    That’s close. To me, he looks like the cat that ate the canary. I have always liked McConnell. For a good long time, he staged a filibuster against McCain-Feingold. His wife, whom I knew when she was a White House Fellow years ago, is a wonderful woman and very, very canny herself.

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Member
    @flownover

    We have to root around the toolbox to find some other methods of insuring that our representatives actually represent. Waiting for another two years with Obama in office is way too risky.First, we need to kick the can down the road past the lame duck yesterday. Second, when the break is over, we need to make it clear to our reps that we expect brutality in spending cuts, bloodshed in the earmarks category, total destruction of the czar system, complete ignorance of European financial escapades, a shootout with the EPA (backshooting ok), and a peckinpahish wild bunch of violence among the status quo. Well, at least that is a start.

    And Limbaugh can carry that overtime back to Georgetown !

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar

    Well, the bi-partisan budget plans do brutally cut spending, including earmarks. . .and those tax expenditures we all love so much (why do we spend so much money through the tax code? Without all those deductions tax rates could fall 10 percentage points and still raise the same revenue).

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Member
    @LadyKurobara
    Joseph Eagar: @Lady Kurobara:

    Mathematically, the Federal Government has to get smaller.

    We have the upper hand here. What we need is more 90s-style politics, not a rejection of compromise–the past decade saw the rise of big-government, statist Republicans; compromise didn’t drive them towards betrayal of principle, they wanted to do so.

    Both of us agree that the Federal Government must be reduced. I will never argue against that. And I fully agree that “statist Republicans” were complicit in creating the current mess.

    However, as is my wont, I have taken the extreme position. I have planted my banner (“No Compromise!”) and I will stand my ground. And I suggest that, the closer Republicans adhere to my position, the better off we will be.

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Member
    @MatthewGilley
    David Limbaugh: What I find noteworthy about this and other similar developments we’ve seen is that there is might be a sea change development occurring that distinguishes today’s Dem shellacking from the one they received in 1994, i.e., the Tea Party phenomenon. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: It is shaping up as though the protest movement in favor of recapturing fiscal sanity will be almost as important in holding victorious Republicans accountable as it has been (and will continue to be) in displacing the irredeemably profligate Dems.

    We are witnessing nearly immediate, direct accountability in real time — as these incumbents, even the very entrenched and powerful ones, realize they are not beyond being replaced themselves. In direct response to having our sovereignty stolen, we are reclaiming it and the politicians — at least more so than in a long time — are giving it back to its rightful owners. · Dec 2 at 12:10pm

    Another way of putting it – the less reliable Republicans have been scared straight. Their biggest worry is no longer the Democrat they may face back home. Their biggest worry is a primary challenge.

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Member
    @LadyKurobara
    flownover: …when the break is over, we need to make it clear to our reps that we expect brutality in spending cuts, bloodshed in the earmarks category, total destruction of the czar system, complete ignorance of European financial escapades, a shootout with the EPA (backshooting ok), and a peckinpahish wild bunch of violence among the status quo.

    I find your bloodthirsty metaphors deeply appealing.

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @Spin

    I don’t know too much about all this monkey business, but I do know this: Republicans need to stop trying to get along. After the mid-term election results were in, I was more curious what President Obama’s reaction was going to be. He said before the election, in essence, if the (Republicans) win that is just the American people voting for change again, and they’ll have to work with me. If they lose, then that’ll just show ’em, and they’ll still have to work with me. Either way, they need to get on board with me. And then when the results were in, he said “They are going to have to work with me”. I think this new bit is them saying “Oh no we don’t”. I’m glad they are holding their ground until the new congress takes office. It’s encouraging to me.

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Member
    @AaronMiller

    Joseph, what conservatives must keep in mind is that Republicans must do more than Democrats just to break even. It’s easier to get into debt than to get out of it, easier to create programs than to eliminate them, easier to damage our alliances than to build them, and so on. And remember: liberals are willing to ignore laws and procedures. We can’t (shouldn’t) do the same.

    That is why I tend to share Lady Kurobara’s reluctance to compromise. Conservative gains are erased by even greater liberal gains. As Steyn often argues, healthcare is how governments have historically broken down the door to micromanage every aspect of citizens’ lives.

    The word “reform” can mean anything in politics. Yes, there are acceptable changes Republicans could make to healthcare, but the Obamacare monstrosity should be entirely repealed for the mere fact that it was passed without anyone in Congress having read it completely. If we’re going to reform healthcare, let it be done honestly (start over).

    • #14
  15. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar

    @Lady Kurobara

    You can’t say the bi-partisan budget proposals aren’t brutal spending cuts. They raise revenue by broadening the tax base, making the tax code more fair; people shouldn’t have to do government-approved activities to pay less taxes.

    And frankly, a 75% spending cut/25% tax hike ratio seems reasonable. I’m in my 20s; I’m sick of deficit-financed tax cuts I will pay for down the line. It is mathematically impossible to balance the budget without either eliminating tax expenditures or raising marginal tax rates.

    You may be willing to drastically cut Social Security and Medicare. But are you willing to cut defense too? Tax expenditures? The home mortgage interest deduction, healthcare employer tax credit, child deduction? How dedicated to reducing spending are you?

    Tax expenditures, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and defense are the federal budget. Do you really want to tell current seniors “you paid FICA taxes all your life, but no Social Security for you”?

    Do you have any idea how extreme the cuts would have to be, if all revenue raisers are off the table?

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Member
    @
    TeeJaw : Joseph Eagar, I think you fail to see the political value in passing Obamacare repeal laws in the House and forcing Senate Democrats to defend it. Obamacare is unpopular and becoming more so. Lots of Democrat Senators are up in 2012, a repeal bill might just slip through the Senate as the election nears. That would make Obama defend it with his veto pen. Can’t you see the Republican’s and conservative groups’ TV ads?

    In 2010 the Senate group for reelection was 50/50 and from 2004.

    in 2012 the Senate is lopsided Democrat and features all the 2006 winners who ran to the Right of the Republicans. 2006 was also the year that the Tea Partiers were calling Talk Radio telling the Host that Republicans Deserve to Loose.

    In 2010 there was a 30% shift in the Senate (based on those who were up for Re-Election not the total Senate) due to DisSatisfaction with democrats.

    The Strategem of Making Senate Democrats Defend Obamacare, and proving they are not the conservatives they ran as could make 2012 sizemic when it comes to the Senate.

    Of course it takes BackBone to Lead like that.

    • #16
  17. Profile Photo Member
    @flownover
    Joseph Eagar: @Lady Kurobara

    Do you have any idea how extreme the cuts would have to be, if all revenue raisers are off the table? · Dec 2 at 1:22pm

    The question should be whether we think it is worth saving our country first and then figure out how . If the answer is yes, then does the extreme nature of the cuts bother us ? Do you think that there will be people dying in the streets or something ? Better to return to personal responsibility and community / church social networks than to continue to wean people off reality and into the clutches of their empowering social work empire. Protecting everybody from everything eventually robs everybody of the ability to protect themselves. Is that something you’d like to pass on to your children ?

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar
    flownover

    The question should be whether we think it is worth saving our country first and then figure out how . If the answer is yes, then does the extreme nature of the cuts bother us ? Do you think that there will be people dying in the streets or something ? Better to return to personal responsibility and community / church social networks than to continue to wean people off reality and into the clutches of their empowering social work empire. Protecting everybody from everything eventually robs everybody of the ability to protect themselves. Is that something you’d like to pass on to your children ? · Dec 2 at 2:25pm

    Did you even read what I wrote?

    75% spending cuts/25% tax, ratio is a bad thing? Those are massive spending cuts! People will be less protected, not more–I agree, a good thing (blacks were technically “protected” by their owners–security can be its own oppression).

    But modest tax increases–with lower marginal rates–are hardly unacceptable! Stop thinking in black and white. Taxes would be 19% of gdp in Simpson-Bowles, exactly what conservatives are proposing in the Roadmap. Spending would be limited to 21% of gdp.

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Member
    @LadyKurobara
    Joseph Eagar: @Lady Kurobara

    Do you really want to tell current seniors “you paid FICA taxes all your life, but no Social Security for you”?

    Do you have any idea how extreme the cuts would have to be, if all revenue raisers are off the table?

    Instead of cutting entitlements (which will be necessary, anyway), I suggest that we begin by lopping off big chunks of the government.

    Dept of Energy? Useless. Dept of Education? Worse than useless. Get rid of them.

    Here is the Big Problem: There are too many people working in the public sector. Every job in the public sector destroys at least one job in the private sector. Nothing meaningful can be done unless all public employee unions, state and federal, are destroyed. Those unions are illegal anyway, because they represent an obscene conflict of interest.

    And since you reminded me, Joseph, I am now planting a second banner: NO NEW TAXES AND NO TAX HIKES. The American people are already over-taxed. If you raise taxes and increase revenue, the government just finds a new way to spend the extra money. Nuts to that.

    I have chosen my ground and here I stand.

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe

    flownover

    75% spending cuts/25% tax, ratio is a bad thing? Those are massive spending cuts! People will be less protected, not more–I agree, a good thing (blacks were technically “protected” by their owners–security can be its own oppression).

    But modest tax increases–with lower marginal rates–are hardly unacceptable! Stop thinking in black and white. Taxes would be 19% of gdp in Simpson-Bowles, exactly what conservatives are proposing in the Roadmap. Spending would be limited to 21% of gdp. · Dec 2 at 2:51pm

    Edited on Dec 02 at 02:53 pm

    Two thoughts. First, spending at 21% of GDP would be higher than it has ever been pre-Obama. As usual, we would be in retreat. Second, conservatives signed on to a budget deal not so long ago specifying $3 in cuts for every $1 in increased taxes — and guess how it turned out. Taxes went up, and spending went up. We cannot presume that any such deal will be honored in practice. Every member of Congress is under pressure from special interests within his constituency to increase their subsidies. Even in December, 2010, there were eight Republican Senators willing to vote against ending earmarks.

    • #20
  21. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar
    Lady Kurobara

    Instead of cutting entitlements (which will be necessary, anyway), I suggest that we begin by lopping off big chunks of the government.

    Dept of Energy? Useless. Dept of Education? Worse than useless. Get rid of them.

    Oh really? And those would balance the budget? The costs of public employees is worst at the state and local level; that won’t help federal deficits. Besides, I thought a 10% workforce reduction was being proposed–by Democrats, even.

    And as for the tax comment. . .I will be paying for that in my 30s and 40s; I have a huge problem with it. Most likely, you will be retired, free from the consequences.

    You are deceiving yourself if you believe the current low rate of taxes aren’t paid out of the deficit. Tax rates do not have to go up, but the subsidies in the tax code have got to go. Why is tax expenditure somehow acceptable spending? It’s still spending!

    • #21
  22. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar
    Two thoughts. First, spending at 21% of GDP would be higher than it has ever been pre-Obama. As usual, we would be in retreat. Second, conservatives signed on to a budget deal not so long ago specifying $3 in cuts for every $1 in increased taxes — and guess how it turned out. Taxes went up, and spending went up. We cannot presume that any such deal will be honored in practice. Every member of Congress is under pressure from special interests within his constituency to increase their subsidies. Even in December, 2010, there were eight Republican Senators willing to vote against ending earmarks. · Dec 2 at 3:15pm

    When did they sign this deal? Did it include specific legislation, concrete cuts? This isn’t an informal deal; it’s a legislative package. David Cameron did the same thing in Britain, and followed through with it.

    [edit–addendum]

    Besides, as a matter of math, spending cannot be sustained at its current levels–it’s more like 25% of gdp at the moment, unsustainably high. The only direction it can go is down–unless Congress gets public support for a VAT–and it never will.

    • #22
  23. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe
    Joseph Eagar

    When did they sign this deal? Did it include specific legislation, concrete cuts? This isn’t an informal deal; it’s a legislative package. David Cameron did the same thing in Britain, and followed through with it. . . .

    Besides, as a matter of math, spending cannot be sustained at its current levels–it’s more like 25% of gdp at the moment, unsustainably high. The only direction it can go is down–unless Congress gets public support for a VAT–and it never will. · Dec 2 at 3:32pm

    Edited on Dec 02 at 03:42 pm

    If I remember correctly, the deal was done under the elder Bush. More to the point, today’s legislative package can easily be undone tomorrow morning — and some of our guys will jump on board.

    I would not so quickly rule out a value-added tax. If I remember correctly, even Mitch Daniels was toying with the idea.

    Lady Kurobara is not wrong to be thinking about dumping the Department of Energy and the Department of Education. I would add Health and Human Services. We will never reduce federal expenditures if we do not narrow the scope of the federal government.

    • #23
  24. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar
    Paul A. Rahe

    I remember correctly, the deal was done under the elder Bush. More to the point, today’s legislative package can easily be undone tomorrow morning — and some of our guys will jump on board.

    I would not so quickly rule out a value-added tax. If I remember correctly, even Mitch Daniels was toying with the idea.

    Lady Kurobara is not wrong to be thinking about dumping the Department of Energy and the Department of Education. I would add Health and Human Services. We will never reduce federal expenditures if we do not narrow the scope of the federal government. · Dec 2 at 3:52pm

    I agree with abolishing the Department of Energy/Education; they’ve not been worth their cost to society. But I disagree with “today’s legislative package can easily be undone tomorrow morning”–there just isn’t the financial room for it to happen.

    We aren’t in the 2000s anymore. We no longer have the economic freedom to behave so irresponsibly. It’d take a VAT, or middle-class tax hikes, to maintain spending; and I don’t believe either will happen. There are too many centrist politicians against that.

    • #24
  25. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe
    Joseph Eagar

    I agree with abolishing the Department of Energy/Education; they’ve not been worth their cost to society. But I disagree with “today’s legislative package can easily be undone tomorrow morning”–there just isn’t the financial room for it to happen.

    We aren’t in the 2000s anymore. We no longer have the economic freedom to behave so irresponsibly. It’d take a VAT, or middle-class tax hikes, to maintain spending; and I don’t believe either will happen. There are too many centrist politicians against that. · Dec 2 at 4:2

    I hope that you are right, but I do not believe it. Never underestimate the willingness of a Congressman of either party to spend tomorrow’s dollar today.

    • #25
  26. Profile Photo Contributor
    @DavidLimbaugh
    Paul A. Rahe

    If I remember correctly, the deal was done under the elder Bush.

    Yes, Paul, I referred to this the other day in a different context. Wasn’t this the deal whereby Bush broke his “Read My Lips” pledge? That is, wasn’t he lured into this deal with the promise of spending cuts? But it might have been a 2/1 ration — not sure. Will look up later. At any rate, Dems don’t keep their word all too often, and after stabbing him in the back they also accused him of lying about his no new taxes pledge, as if he had planned to do it all along. Same as their maliciously disingenuous allegation against Dubya re lying about WMD. To Dems, if a Republican says something and later changes his mind without intending to do so from the beginning OR if a Republican says something he believes at the time to be true and later it turns out it wasn’t — the Republican is lying. But distorting the language is also nothing new for them.

    • #26
  27. Profile Photo Member
    @TeeJaw

    Here’s an idea. Repeal all of Obamacare, every jot of it. But don’t stop there. Repeal every other federal law that has anything to do with health care or health insurance. It’s none of the federal government’s business and, Joseph Eagar, that would be real health care reform you could believe in.

    Instead of thinking about what new laws can be enacted, the visionary we need thinks about what laws can be repealed. It’s a target rich environment.

    • #27
  28. Profile Photo Member
    @TeeJaw

    Joseph Eagar, I think you fail to see the political value in passing Obamacare repeal laws in the House and forcing Senate Democrats to defend it. Obamacare is unpopular and becoming more so. Lots of Democrat Senators are up in 2012, a repeal bill might just slip through the Senate as the election nears. That would make Obama defend it with his veto pen. Can’t you see the Republican’s and conservative groups’ TV ads?

    I lost my medicare advantage because of Obamacare and I really liked it. There are about 5 million others in the same boat and I’m betting most of them feel the same way I do about Obamacare. And that’s just one example. Lots of employers paid plans are getting hit with the Cadillac plan tax, and they know the unions are exempt from it. They know Obama cronies are getting waivers. Obamacare is literally a ticking time bomb.

    Not repealing it because Senate Democrats would kill it or Obama would veto it misses the point. Everything in a complex society is political and political skills are necessary to survival. Multiple repeal bills that Democrats kill or Obama vetos is good political strategy.

    • #28
  29. Profile Photo Member
    @JosephEagar

    This is absurd. Obamacare has Republican ideas in it–it may be a total disaster, but it really does have bits and pieces of our own ideas. Why is this so hard to believe? It’s a great political maneuver.

    The bill is filled with micromanaging, horrendous regulation, terrible burdens on states, and bunches and bunches of earmarks. It’s a horrible bill, but they did include some of our ideas–no doubt to make it more difficult to repeal.

    It’s perfectly reasonable what Cantor said. If we cannot repeal Obamacare–and we can’t–the next best thing is modifying it to be as close to our replacement bill as possible. Building on top of the few Republican ideas in it lets Democrats save face, and is much more likely to succeed.

    • #29
  30. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @oleneo65

    It is about time for the Reps to use the pair they have!

    • #30

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