Thursday, January 29, 2015

Senator McConnell's Headaches

I suppose that Mitch McConnell actually wanted to be the Senate's Majority Leader. But as he's finding out pretty regularly lately - the job comes with a lot of headaches.

In the first days of this new Congress, it seemed obvious that McConnell's new strategy would be to paint President Obama as the obstructionist by sending him bills that he had already promised to veto. So far - that veto pen hasn't been called on. And its looking more and more like the extra ink the White House might have ordered to keep up won't be needed anytime soon. That's not because of Democratic obstruction. It's entirely due to the fact that Republicans can't get their act together on actual governing.

We've seen how Boehner and McConnell have been scrambling to get their members lined up to pass a DHS funding bill by the end of February (the deadline they self-imposed). But another HUGE headache is coming McConnell's way.

It's clear from the hearings on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be the next Attorney General that she will ultimately be confirmed by the Senate. And while Senator Sessions has announced that he will not vote for her (which is not a big surprise), Senator Ted Cruz sounds like he's planning to up the ante by putting the heat on Senator McConnell.
Sen. Ted Cruz called attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch’s immigration views “dangerous” Wednesday and questioned whether Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., should even have the chamber consider her nomination.

“That is the decision the majority leader is going to have to make. I believe we should use every constitutional tool available to stop the president’s unconstitutional executive action. That’s what Republicans, Republican candidates all over the country said over and over again last year,” the Texas Republican said in a brief interview with CQ Roll Call as the daylong Judiciary Committee hearing on Lynch’s nomination neared conclusion.
Due to Senate procedural rules, it is possible for Cruz to hold up a vote on Lynch if that's what he choses to do. However, the above statement seems more designed to make McConnell look weak. It remains to be seen whether Cruz will take it the next step. Since ideologues don't tend to concerns themselves with the petty business of outcomes, I doubt it will concern Cruz that any delay on the Lynch confirmation simply means that Eric Holder holds the position longer.

What all of this means is that Majority Leader McConnell is learning a bit about what things have been like for Speaker Boehner these last four years. It will be interesting to watch whether or not he is more adept than Boehner at managing the lunatic wing of the Republican Party.

1 comment:

  1. Democrats teach their young people to govern, not win elections. Republicans teach their young people to win elections, not govern.