Mitch McConnell abandoned his tough talk on Meet The Press, and went into full suck up mode. He called Harry Reid a good man, and a good majority leader while begging for no nuclear option.
McConnell first pretended that there was no problem in the Senate, but now, Mitch is ready to be bipartisan and talk, “Yeah. the reason we call it the the nuclear option, David, is because it’s breaking the rules of the Senate in order to change the rules of the Senate, which the Majority Leader, as you pointed out, in his book, indicated was something we should never do. Look, rather than getting down in the weeds on the rules, what is the problem here? The president has had 1,540 of his nominations confirmed, only 4 defeated. He’s not lost a single member of the cabinet. He’s getting them faster than President Bush was at the same time in his second term. The Majority Leader needs to bring these nominees up. most of them are going to be confirmed. It really kind of comes down to three appointments that the federal courts have told us were unconstitutionally recess appointed. Two members of the NLRB and the CFPB. We need to talk about that and we’re going to talk about it at a rather unusual joint session in the old Senate chamber on Monday of all senators. we need to start talking to each other instead of at each other, and see if we can’t resolve this in the same way that we did ten years ago when republicans had genuine provocation.”
McConnell also walked back his worst Majority Leader ever comments from last week, and generally tried to suck up to Reid, “No. He won’t be if he pulls back from the brink as we did ten years ago. We had much more serious case then than he has now. he’s a reasonable man. He’s a good Majority Leader, and we’re going to have a chance to air all of this out in a joint conference with all of our members Monday, and I’m hoping we won’t make this big mistake.”
Gone was the tough talk that McConnell used on the Senate floor to bash Reid. Now that the nuclear option looks like a real threat, all of the sudden Harry Reid isn’t such a bad guy.
What McConnell was putting out there today was pure and utter bullshit. The goal of Senate Republicans isn’t deny Obama’s nominees confirmation. They don’t have the votes to flat out vote down the president’s nominees. The Republican goal is to delay the confirmation of Obama’s nominees for as long as possible. Senate Republicans understand that the president can’t govern as effectively without his leadership in key agencies of the federal government.
If McConnell can’t make Obama a one term president, he is going to do everything he can to weaken his presidency.
This chart from People For The American Way shows that there has been a 100% increase in cloture votes of executive branch nominees during the Obama presidency:
During his entire eight year presidency George W. Bush faced 7 cloture votes on his nominees. President Obama faced 16 during his first term alone.
McConnell’s claim that Obama eventually gets his nominees confirmed was a swerve designed to distract from the real problem. The nuclear option is being threatened to deal with not if Obama’s nominees are confirmed, but when. Beyond the distraction tactic, McConnell’s other move is to claim that the sky is falling, and it will be Armageddon for the senate if Democrats change the rules. This is the standard Republican answer to anything that they don’t like. The election of President Obama was supposed to bring about the end of days. The sky was falling when Obamacare was upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court. The sky was falling when background checks were being debated as a part of gun legislation. If Republicans don’t like something, it means doom for America.
Throwing their arms up in the air, and claiming that the sky is falling is a main Republican go to move. The reality is that McConnell can’t factually defend the Republican abuse of the filibuster as tactic to delay confirmation of Obama’s nominees, so he had to make some stuff up.
The reality is that by blatantly abusing the filibuster rules, Senate Republicans brought this on themselves. By choosing to filibuster nearly everything, Republicans left Harry Reid and the Democrats no choice but to change the rules.
Mitch McConnell can cry foul and pretend that there is no problem until the cows come home, but the truth is that Republicans broke the Senate, and Democrats may have to go nuclear in order to fix it. McConnell knows that if Reid goes nuclear, Barack Obama will have more of the staff he needs in order to get the job done. This a concept that Republicans are opposed to with ever fiber of their being.
When it comes to keeping his power to obstruct the president’s nominees, Mitch McConnell showed that he definitely ain’t too proud to beg.