Video: McConnell wants an end to budget standoffs

posted at 12:01 pm on October 18, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Mitch McConnell has had enough of shutdowns and standoffs, in large part because they don’t work to Republican advantage in the current political environment.  When National Review’s Robert Costa asked whether Republicans will push the next budget deadlines to another shutdown, McConnell explicitly rejected the idea, and said, “There’s no education in the second kick of a mule.”  Instead, the Senate Minority Leader plans to protect the sequester savings and look for other ways to cut deficit spending in the next round without giving Democrats a PR opportunity closer to the midterms:

COSTA: You said we’d be back here in January and February dealing with the same issues. Is another shutdown possible?

MCCONNELL: No. One of my favorite sayings is an old Kentucky saying, “There’s no education in the second kick of a mule.” The first kick of the mule was in 1995; the second one was the last 16 days. A government shutdown is off the table. We’re not going to do it. …

COSTA: How does the party get beyond this mess? It seems like you’re having a civil war over tactics.

MCCONNELL: Well, for one, we’re not going to do this again in connection with the debt ceiling or with a government shutdown. Look, it’s unlikely the Democratic Senate or Democratic president will do much on Obamacare. We did a minor little income-verification thing, an anti-fraud thing, but beyond that, it’s unlikely. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it’s front and center for the 2014 election. Of the things we can predict for 2014, Obamacare will be front and center, especially in the red states where we could pick up seats.

That will take some expectation-setting, and not just among Republicans on Capitol Hill:

COSTA: Looking ahead, what’s your message to your colleagues about reasonable expectations for divided government?

MCCONNELL: Thanks to the nature of the Senate, unless you’re at 40, you’re not irrelevant. We were irrelevant a few years ago, frankly, except for keeping unity for things we opposed, like Obamacare. But since then, we’ve been a consequential minority. But you’re only a consequential minority if you can hold together 41 people. Thanks to my colleagues, we’ve had the ability at these critical moments to try to get as good an outcome as we could, given the cards that we’ve been dealt. But one thing that’s made it hard is the inability of the House of Representatives, on these occasions, to send us legislation that’s more robust, proposals that have more of the things that I and my colleagues would prefer. We’d have been in a much stronger position if they had been able to do that.

The question might be whether there was education in the first kick. Heritage Action, one of the groups that pushed the defund/shutdown strategy, isn’t so sure that Republicans should take it off the table.  Conn Carroll interviewed Heritage Action communications director Dan Holler, who didn’t want to get pinned down on that strategy:

Townhall: So are you going to push to defund and shutdown the government again in January?

Holler: You know one of the things I think that became clear over the past several weeks is that Democrats have tremendous political unity. And somehow, contrary to what the politics of their state would dictate, these guys held together.

They need to feel pressure so they can begin to crack. I don’t think you can apply real pressure to them without some sort of legislative strategy, because the grassroots outside of Washington are not going to be engaged without real action. So there has to be a legislative component to that.

I think it is too early to say what that strategy should look like. There is a lot of stuff in flux right now. The Ryan-Murray budget conference. What comes out of that, if anything. That puts things in a holding pattern right now. But we’ll see.

There will undoubtedly be opportunities where leverage exists to do something about Obamacare. And when they arise, we have to take them.

Townhall: So, that’s a “we’ll see” on a shutdown in January?

Holler: Yeah, I mean I don’t think anybody has really figured out beyond this week what is going to happen. If there is an opportunity to leverage a situation, to try and protect the American people from Obamacare, I think that is worth doing.

Before you can do that though, you have to move opinion and put pressure on these red state Democrats. Maybe over the next 90 days they will hear so many horror stories from constituents that they will realize their position is unsustainable. Hopefully that is the case. We don’t know.

Larry Kudlow notes in this interview with Costa that the sequester is the Republican ace in the hole — and one authored in part by McConnell himself, so he’s not likely to fold on it.  Costa reaffirms, though, that McConnell has no desire to do another shutdown, either in the near future or even further out:

Heading into the midterms, Republicans have to re-establish their bona fides as a responsible governing party.  The shutdown wasn’t so much of the problem as flirting with the debt ceiling was, in terms of perception — and that’s what counts in elections.  One can argue that a shutdown can demonstrate the arbitrary nature of federal power, as well as the ways in which it can be maliciously wielded for its own sake, and this shutdown certainly did that much.  But a return engagement won’t play well for Republicans, and Democrats are simply not going to dismantle ObamaCare under any conditions, not through defunding or repeal. By that time, though, they may wish they could.


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I suppose, with inflation:

Thirty pieces of silver = $3 billion

socalcon on October 18, 2013 at 1:26 PM

No one said you can’t criticize Cruz. Cruz has his faults, but at least he is going to Washington and attempting to do what his voters elected him to do. Unlike the other Repubs who are quicker to attack their own party members and their base than they are to attack Dems.

Obamacare is real, and it is hurting people. Waiting until we get this mythological majority in all branches is like waiting unicorn to $hit skittles. I don’t fault someone for at least trying unlike McConnell who took kickbacks off our back.

melle1228 on October 18, 2013 at 1:19 PM

When I see post after post here every day acting like John McCain is Public Enemy #1, I don’t know what else to think.

I know very well that Obamacare is a disaster, I am the daughter of a doctor and a nurse and have two sisters whose jobs with insurance companies are in jeopardy. But it is never, ever, ever going to be de-funded as long as Obama is President, unless it plays out over the next year and there is a huge public backlash to it. Even Rand Paul isn’t talking anymore about totally repealing it, but fixing the worst parts of it.

rockmom on October 18, 2013 at 1:27 PM

When I see post after post here every day acting like John McCain is Public Enemy #1, I don’t know what else to think.
rockmom on October 18, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Name ONE time in the last two weeks, McCain has criticized Obama or ANYONE in the Democratic Party? And then compare that to the number of times he has gone after Cruz, Lee and the base.

He is public enemy #1..

melle1228 on October 18, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Wouldn’t you need a budget to have a budget stand-off? Seems to me that the problem is that the Democrats have figured out they can win by not playing the game, even though the law requires them to. Since there is nobody enforcing the law in their case, why should they act against their interests? If the President won’t, and the press won’t, and the voters won’t, nothing will change.

Socratease on October 18, 2013 at 12:45 PM

That’s exactly right. They win by refusing to play the game. And Obama has gone right along with this strategy. Imagine if everyone on the Right had talked about nothing but this for the last 6 months, instead of creating a fantasy that somehow Obamacare could be defunded in a CR. Republicans should be always fighting against CRs and forcing Democrats to justify them.

rockmom on October 18, 2013 at 1:08 PM

I recall (I think it was) Medved hailing the agreement because: “It requires a Budget, that is a BIG WIN!”.

Um, er, the Constitution also “requires’ a budget… the administration ignores any legislative constraints it doesn’t like/agree with. (note: “Executive Orders”, Employer mandate delays, Obamacare waivers, {not enough bandwidth for the entire list})

socalcon on October 18, 2013 at 1:43 PM

COSTA: You said we’d be back here in January and February dealing with the same issues. Is another shutdown possible?

MCCONNELL: I don’t give a damn. I’ve ensured my future wealth via the Kentucky Kickback and couldn’t give a shit about what happens any more…..oh….is this mic on?

BobMbx on October 18, 2013 at 1:45 PM

McConnell: I want an end to budget standoffs

We want an end to you.

One of my favorite sayings is an old Kentucky saying, “There’s no education in the second kick of a mule.”

Epic fail on the homespun, you sorry sack of incontinent elitism. Your failure to understand the enemy is pathetic and beyond tiresome.

rrpjr on October 18, 2013 at 1:48 PM

So what you are really saying, Mitch, is that you are going to capitulate earlier in the process so as to not risk a shut down. Sounds about right.

cptacek on October 18, 2013 at 1:48 PM

When I see post after post here every day acting like John McCain is Public Enemy #1, I don’t know what else to think.

rockmom on October 18, 2013 at 1:27 PM

I find fair challenges to Cruz’s strategies as quite acceptable. In fact, I didn’t really agree with his strategies. BUT, he’s trying to do something to slow the growth of government. Unlike pretty much anyone else in the GOP over the last decade+. Something beats nothing. And nothing is what the GOP has to offer.

And, with regards to McCain, specifically, he engages in unrestrained and continual ad hominem (against members of his own party!!), which is not acceptable. Moreover, McCain has a history of attacking conservatives, pretty much exclusively, so he has zero good will with conservatives and anything he says should and will be taken in the worst possible way.

besser tot als rot on October 18, 2013 at 1:49 PM

One of my favorite sayings is an old Kentucky saying, “There’s no education in the second kick of a mule.”

Shoot the mule, buy a John Deere.

Thats the whole problem with the GOP. They’re still trying to convince the mule to do something it just will not do.

BobMbx on October 18, 2013 at 1:51 PM

When I see post after post here every day acting like John McCain is Public Enemy #1, I don’t know what else to think.

rockmom on October 18, 2013 at 1:27 PM

I don’t think he’s public enemy #1. I think he’s a superannuated and small-minded as*hole with zero interest in political reform in the name of a Constitutional republic, and therefore as a Republican profoundly counter-productive and, to some degree, absolutely an enemy of conservatism and freedom.

rrpjr on October 18, 2013 at 1:55 PM

I WANT McCONNELL GONE – BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!!!

williamg on October 18, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Maybe if Ted Cruz started yelling about Reid instead of whining about attacks from nobodies like Peter King, it might help.

rockmom on October 18, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Precisely backwards.

If Cruz didn’t have to suffer the arrows of fellow Republicans in his back, he could focus on Reid.

As it was, Reid was not Cruz’s chief obstacle/detractor, now was he? Team McCain were more in Cruz’s face than the Dems – in fact, with more ferocity than they’ve ever directed at the left.

Midas on October 18, 2013 at 2:26 PM

It’s hard for me to see what the Republicans could have done differently in the face of that.

I think I see the problem. Okay rockmom, I’m guessing you’re related to one of the 23 senators that undercut the entire effort. I thought you were one of the solid ones around here, must have you mixed up with some else. As you were.

DanMan on October 18, 2013 at 2:27 PM

When I see post after post here every day acting like John McCain is Public Enemy #1, I don’t know what else to think.

rockmom on October 18, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Wouldn’t say ‘#1′, but when you’re in a foxhole with a guy, taking aim at the enemy across the field, and the guy in the hole with you stabs you in the side, how many times do you suggest we just turn to him and politely request that he desist? How many times would you do so, before you turn to him, quickly make sure he’s no longer an immediate existential threat for you, and then return your focus to ‘#1′?

The simple reality is that we can’t completely and only focus on ‘#1′ when McCain et al are constantly and joyously stabbing the shit out of us, ok? McCain et al are THE REASON this whole thing folded – not Reid, not Obama – they just sat there and said ‘no’. OUR guys – OUR OWN F*CKING GUYS – undermined it, poisoned it, castigated it, and f*cking killed it.

You’re damned right they need to be removed, and probably have to be before we can hope to seriously move forward. Otherwise they will simply continue to be there, making with the gung-ho stabbity-stab in our sides the whole time.

Enough. F*cking enough.

Midas on October 18, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Good people of Kentucky, please, please, kick this old mule McConnell to the curb. He is doing you and yours no favors.

Bmore on October 18, 2013 at 2:33 PM

So, Mitch is going to back-stop McCain’s vow to make sure their is never another government shut-down, evah!

How much will this cost us?

Another Drew on October 18, 2013 at 3:01 PM

I still say the end of the Shut Down story ain’t been writ yet pardner. Don’t tell me it wasn’t worth a shutdown to warn the American people about the oncoming disaster called Obamacare. One of the issues became a year delay in individual mandate. Looks like now Obama will have to give a years’ delay him self. Can’t wait for the spin on that. Jay Carney will probably say Obama was so busy fighting Tea Party that he didn’t have time to get web site ready.

Herb on October 18, 2013 at 3:03 PM

It’s come to this:

Mitch McConnell Obama

22044 on October 18, 2013 at 3:19 PM

GubRmint shutdown

Bwahahahahahahahahahaha

Can’t have the peons of American see’n just how fine the can git along without the gubRmint clowns……

Jeebus …. Barry had to inflict pain …. by closing a Monument to military veterans…… if he does it again …. those vets may wake up and realize that that Place isn’t a monument TO THEM….. It’s nothing more than a monument to the STATE…..

roflmmfao

donabernathy on October 18, 2013 at 3:20 PM

“There’s no education in the second kick of a mule.”

The education is in not standing in the arc of the kick. Let it kick all it wants, it’ll only make it look crazy and tire out the mule.

As far as “there’s no education in the second kick of a mule”, why do the RINOs keep doing things that have the base kick them over and over?

Mimzey on October 18, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Hmmm…. so the traitor wants to get rid of our last, measly piece of leverage. That makes sense.

Theophile on October 18, 2013 at 4:11 PM

When I see post after post here every day acting like John McCain is Public Enemy #1, I don’t know what else to think.

rockmom

After reading some of the tripe you’ve posted in this thread, hell, I’m surprised you can think at all.

xblade on October 18, 2013 at 4:35 PM

One of my favorite sayings is an old Kentucky saying, “There’s no education in the second kick of a mule.”

Says the guy who desperately wants to repeat the amnesty debacle of 1986.

Hopefully the voters of Kentucky keep this advice in mind though, and get rid of him. Per his own words, there’s nothing to be gained by re-electing him.

xblade on October 18, 2013 at 4:42 PM

When I see post after post here every day acting like John McCain is Public Enemy #1, I don’t know what else to think.

rockmom on October 18, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Juan isn’t Public Enemy #1, but he is tie with the rest of the surrender caucus for that dubious honor. The shutdown could have been won, but the people can’t stand a quitter, and the GOP surrender caucus does nothing but. McCain has simply been the main face of that ugly fact. They are quitters, and so, they are losers and deserving of contempt.

By the way McConnell, if you had learned the first time you got kicked we wouldn’t be looking to kick the hundredth time. I guess you are a slow learner, just like the rest of the surrender caucus.

Quartermaster on October 18, 2013 at 7:02 PM

How else is Mitch going to get his kickbacks, er, I mean not earmarks if there is no shutdown?

Kissmygrits on October 19, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Betrayal used to only cost 30 pieces of silver

Today the Senator from Kentucky held out for 2 Billion dollar pork project

Back stabbing hore, we now know your price to screw america

sniffles1999 on October 19, 2013 at 9:32 AM

What damage to the GOP is done by McCains critiques is matched only by the vacuum in leadership that McConnell provides. Talk about “relevance” in the Senate! Irrelevance is his special-subject.

virgo on October 19, 2013 at 1:33 PM

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