Over the Cliff We Go

In the Senate today–as I write this, it’s still Wednesday here in California–Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican minority leader, did something remarkable: He invited Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, to permit the chamber to vote on the administration’s current budget proposal.

No filibuster. No objections of any kind. To the contrary. Sen. McConnell–I repeat–invited Sen. Reid to schedule a vote on the administration’s budget–a vote that the Democrats, who control the chamber by 53 to 47, would have won.

Sen. Reid refused.

Sen. McConnell then delivered a remarkable speech. All eight minutes are worth watching, but just look at the way he begins:

When the two parties first sat down to discuss the so-called “fiscal cliff,” it was widely assumed among Republicans that President Obama and Democrats actually wanted to avoid it. That was the premise that any possible agreement hinged on. That was the common goal—or so we thought. 

But over the past couple of weeks it’s become increasingly clear to many of us that we were simply wrong about that.

images-1.jpgIf the administration finally chose to negotiate in good faith, no doubt Sen. McConnell would still prove more than willing to do so. But if instead the administration insists on taking us over the cliff, Sen. McConnell wants us to know, the catastrophe will have taken place for that very reason: the President–not the Republicans but the President–will have insisted upon it.

Sen. McConnell can be saying this for only one reason: He has concluded that it may very well happen.

(With a nod to Conservative Wanderer, who put up a fine post on this event hours before I got to it myself.)