Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 10:49 AM ET, 12/ 1/2010

Mitch McConnell ups the ante

By Jennifer Rubin

What a difference an election makes. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has sent Senate Majority Harry Reid a letter saying that the entire GOP caucus (42-strong) isn't going to vote for cloture on anything until the funding of the government is squared away and the tax issue is settled.

Liberals scream "obstruction!," but think about it. The government runs out of money in two days and a huge tax hike looms over the economy. But what are the Dems doing? "Don't ask, don't tell," a settlement with black farmers and the DREAM Act. In other words, they are throwing the final crumbs to key Democratic special interest groups while the rest of the country's business takes a back seat. And as for START, a plugged-in advisor to a key senator on national security issues told me that the administration has exaggerated the importance of a "nothingburger" agreement. Yes, there are concerns if the deal unravels and, no, it's not a good idea for the president to be rebuffed on a treaty. But is there ANY rationale for forcing a vote now? No.

McConnell with a total of 42 Republicans is a formidable force. With 47 beginning in January, he'll be a menace to the administration.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 1, 2010; 10:49 AM ET
Categories:  Senate GOP  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama admininstration pressures AIPAC?!
Next: No rush on 2012


Jennifer Rubin

I am very happy you are here with the new blog

Hopefully, this blog will represent more tolerance for Conservative views than has been the case with the Washington Post in the past.

Again, welcome.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

While I understand your point of view, I do not agree that the government's steps to compensate African American farmers for a century of denial and mismanagement by the Department of Agriculture towards minority farmers is a parochial issue. These people as well as Native Americans have been cheated out of access to government loans and other programs as part of a widespread discrimination against them that often benefited economically White farmers as well as large agribusinesses. Congress has seen fit to provide huge tax incentives and subsidies to many farmers over the decades while ignoring the plight of African American farmers. Various administrations and the Congress have tried to tackle this discrimination. The Department of Agriculture acknowledged that it had mismanaged loan programs for African American farmers. Still, the climate of discrimination persisted. If President Obama and his Secretary of Agriculture, with congressional help, are now able to implement just policies to compensate farmers who were denied economic help, then this should be done. It will remove one more heavy burden of discrimination in our society.

Posted by: bkbing2 | December 1, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Um, what about unemployment insurance? That is URGENTLY needed or two million people will lose all their income by Christmas.

Is that not an economic measure? If it doesn't get extended, the economy will get far, far worse.

Posted by: mikediaz1 | December 1, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

McConnell with a total of 42 Republicans is a formidable force. With 47 beginning in January, he'll be a menace to the administration.

Or a menace to good governance. Does he honestly think we can continue to use borrowed money so his patrons can keep more of their money - money they are NOT using to create new jobs, instead they are using it to bet on the economy failing.

Posted by: jamalmstrom | December 1, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Hi Jennifer,

Wow! A conservative blog in WP?

The people that run WP must be getting liberal-minded. How ironic.

Looking forward to making this a regular stop.

Posted by: jphays | December 1, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

But is there ANY rationale for forcing a vote now? No.

I can't figure out if you're daft or just intellectually dishonest.
Any honest analysis would easily conclude the rationale for a vote now is that the Dems are about to lose a number of seats and now is the last possible time to count on some of those votes. This isn't some kind of inside baseball, secret machinations of the powers-that-be situation. It is all about the numbers.
Come on, you knew that.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | December 1, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Good tactic Mitch, but you really needed to include the extension of unemployment compensation as the top priority. Force the Dems to re-allocate unspent funds from the Stimulus, otherwise the GOP risks a two year label as "Party for Millionaires."

The Medicare payment fix for doctors should be the #3 priority, after funding the government and unemployment compensation.

What did Harry Reid drink to put him on the DREAM Act time-waster for the lame duck?

I thought the Ag settlement was passed yesterday in a non-controversial vote, so it is gratuitous to include that as a misplaced priority today.

Posted by: K2K2 | December 1, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

The WaPo seems to know that one, good conservative is worth five liberals in political debate.

Obviously, that's why they have a 10 to 1 ratio of liberals to conservatives.

They believe in leveling the writing field.

Their way.

Posted by: battleground51 | December 1, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

With 47 beginning in January, he'll be a menace to the nation.

There... I fixed that for you.

Posted by: CardFan | December 1, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The Dems, with Obama at the helm, still don't get it.
Just like when they were ramming through a trillion dollar health care bill for a year and a half while the people were crying for jobs.
I guess losing the House and seats in the Senate was not a big enough clue stick.

Posted by: spamsux1 | December 1, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse


That is disappointing that you would say that - considering that those 47 were elected by the American People.

And - in case you are not sure - the incoming House of Representatives was elected by the American People as well.

Hardly a menace to the nation - those people REPRESENT the nation.

I realize that you may feel an urge to cling to your liberal agenda......

However, the American People have spoken.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Several posters say that an unemployment benefit extension is necessary. Why? If two years is enough for welfare, why is it not enough for unemployment? One hears a lot in the immigration discussion about jobs Americans will not do. Well, perhaps without unemployment benefits some Americans would condescend to take a dish washing job.

Posted by: Inagua1 | December 1, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

What a sad day for the Post to have to print your nonsense.

Instead of a conservative viewpoint, why not one based in reality? The settlement with black farmers for illegal government discrimination isn't a give away to a special interest group. It's following the law. The Dream Act gives temporary residency status to kids of illegal aliens who serve in our military or who were smart enough to get into a 4 year university -hardly a give away. We've always made citizenship easier for people who fight for the country.

I keep waiting for conservatives deal with reality, instead of trying to push reality into their ideology.

If were President Obama had appointed a majority of Union leaders to the deficit commission, you could argue that was political; in fact, we have the same supplyside bankers who wrecked the country, explaining to us how Americans are going to have to do 70 years of hard labor to pay for billionaires tax cuts. Even though we know supplyside theory is false. Don't believe me? US corporations just reported record earnings, but stocks went down because revenues (demand) was down. According to supplyside theory, those stocks should be through the roof.

I am so tired of idiots who believe BS getting to creditional themselves with the word "conservative". Stupid would be a better word for people who don't understand, economics, climate science or geology.

Posted by: BartStratton | December 1, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The liberal agenda

A football game has 60 minutes. This Congress has had 23 of its 24 months.

We are past the two minute warning and the liberals are behind by 5 touchdowns.

McConnell's letter is just reminding the liberals to look up at the scoreboard - and see the score- see the time remaining and Greg, you and Obama have no time-outs left.

Case closed.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

@Inagua1 Unemployment insurance is needed because people still can't find jobs. It is that simple, unless we want to drive 2 million people into homeless shelters over the holidays, we need to extend that insurance for a little while more.

These people are not on welfare, they WANT to work, but there are more people looking for jobs than there are jobs right now. To take away the only income they have is not only bad for the economy, it is immoral.

Posted by: mikediaz1 | December 1, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Cardfan- he won't be a menace to the entire country, just those making less than $1 million per year. Ms Rubin- "think about it."

Posted by: detoqueville | December 1, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

RainForestRising: This isn't a football game. This is real life. It's not about your side vs. my side. It's about every one of us. And attitudes like yours hurt us all.

Also, when you say the American people have spoken, you act like the most recent election was the last one we'll ever have. The balance of power shifts back and forth, and always has, and always will. The country is in trouble. Childish boosterism helps no one.

Posted by: IrenePollin | December 1, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

MOSCOW--Russia will have to expand and update its nuclear arsenal if the United States fails to ratify the New START treaty, now before the Senate, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin said in an interview to be broadcast Wednesday on CNN.

Another compelling reason in stark contrast to Rubin's fantastic conclusions.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | December 1, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Very well put, IrenePollin. Thank you for being reasonable and mature.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | December 1, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats should cut a deal to extend all the Bush Tax cuts for two years and have a continuing resolution to fund the government until the end of January, 2011 in exchange for the Republicans allowing cloture votes on START II, DREAM, DADT, and unemployment insurance extension. This is assuming that Reid is willing to allow debate and Republican amendments on the Defense Authorization act that I believe DREAM & DADT are going to be attached to.

If they were really smart, they'd ask retiring Republican Senator Jim Bunning to reintroduce his measure to pay for extending unemployment insurance by eliminating an environmentally destructive tax subsidy to the paper industry that they rejected about nine months ago.

If they don't want to make a deal, then Reid should just bring up the measures and let the chips fall where they may.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 1, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

@veritas: "Russia will have to expand and update its nuclear arsenal if the United States fails to ratify the New START treaty"

With what? They have a surplus of cash?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 1, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer, WELCOME! It's wonderful to have an alternate voice at the "leans-so-far-to-the-left-I-have-to-shut-one-eye-and-tilt-my-head-to-read-it" Washington Post!

Be prepared for the hatred and name calling which is rampant around here. Guess if they can't compete in the arena of independent thought, they then choose the lowest path of attack.

You are totally right about "ups the ante". Without funding the government, NOTHING can be passed as we have nothing in the way of funds to back it up with. The business of the nation certainly comes first.

Congratulations on your blog and hang in there as I would imagine the sea will be rocky at times!

Posted by: JackESpratt | December 1, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Mike Diaz1,

If in fact there are no jobs and the alternative is 2 million people homeless over the holidays, then you are correct that a non-extension would be immoral. But are you absolutely sure of your facts? I suspect, but cannot prove beyond my own neighborhood, that there are plenty of menial jobs like dishwashing and gardening available. I know three people on unemployment who will not do this type of work. Purely anecdotal, to be sure, but a definite exception to what you postulated.

Posted by: Inagua1 | December 1, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Is there a compelling rationale for the START treaty to have not already been ratified besides obstructing the president?

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | December 1, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the psyche-ward of the blogosphere, Ms. Rubin.
It looks as though the moonbat regulars are a bit intimidated. This is the most eerily civil thread, I've seen in some time.

As for your post;
You're exactly right.
These lame-duck session giveaways are the last shots at securing their voter base, that the left is going to have before '12.

Under the START treaty, Russian tactical nukes, which are fairly mobile, and outnumber ours, aren't even addressed!
How does that help anyone but Russia?

The treaty also abandons on-the-ground monitoring of Russia’s missile manufacturing facility, and permits Russia to withhold telemetry of some of its missile tests. It reduces our ability to know both what is being produced and what is being developed.

Posted by: MrMeaner | December 1, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

As the polls show, Obama has lost his star-power. Also he should have been a little nicer to Republicans the last two years.

Posted by: Billw3 | December 1, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

If someone would please explain to me why now "elections matter" or "the people have spoken". None of this was taken into consideration when Obama was elected president and Dems. had majority. Repubs. said "no". Now they're still going to say "no".

What has changed except they're the majority in one chamber - so they're still the party of no.

Posted by: rlj1 | December 1, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"And as for START, a plugged-in advisor to a key senator on national security issues told me ..."

You've got to be kidding. From God's mouth to your ear. Sweet.

Posted by: fzdybel | December 1, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

My cousin is a laborer and he told me at Thanksgiving he knows a dozen people at least that take unemployment and work under the table. Two of my renters do the same thing. It's morally wrong and the government is encouraging it. I think 2 years of benefits is just about enough.

Posted by: jmpickett | December 1, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Conservative should not be hypocritical.
Greed is NOT a family value. Taxpayers subsidize 75% of healthcare costs for elected officials and their families FOR LIFE. Big government is LIKED when it benefits our proponents of small government officials. Congressmen spend less days on the job than their corporate counterparts. Taxpayers subsidize their time off so they can RUN FOR ELECTION for their own job rather than work on critical issues of this country. We pay taxes to support our elected officials whose self-interest is wearing everytime they open their mouths.
They want to repeal healthcare reform, but
keep their own cushy healthcare benefit.
Healthcare has been turned into a commodity
that is becoming as tenuous as the financial fiasco - but no legislator will
say "The emperor has no clothes." Instead,
they will yelp "Obamacare."

Posted by: PoliticalWatchdog | December 1, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

jmpickett, I don't know what state you're in so I can't link you to the phone number, but you should be reporting that to the state. The government is not encouraging what you've described.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | December 1, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

It's morally wrong and the government is encouraging it. I think 2 years of benefits is just about enough.

Posted by: jmpickett
So it's morally right to cut off people's lifelines just before Christmas? It has been shown that unemployment benefits help the economy more than anything else, because the people spend the money.

Posted by: jake14 | December 1, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Democrats could easily turn the tables on the GOP and tell them that if there's no vote on extending unemployment benefits then there's no vote at all and the tax breaks will expire on their own.

Democrats have power they don't seem to realize they have.

We know what the GOP wants -- anything they can get for the rich (including the Senators who are screaming bloody murder), which are usually only tax cuts and voting against anything and everything that will benefit the American People.

Posted by: lindalovejones | December 1, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I forgot that black farmers are such a "key special interest group" thanks for reminding me

Posted by: jkblodge1 | December 1, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

TO: Billw3 who wrote:
“As the polls show, Obama has lost his star-power. Also he should have been a little nicer to Republicans the last two years.”


Lost his star power? You must be polling Republicans.

As for being “a little nicer to Republicans” have you been listening to Republicans for the past 2 years?

The first thing Mitch McConnell said publicly about President Obama after Obama won the election was that he [McConnell] was going to do everything in his power to make Obama fail, and McConnell has kept that promise.

McConnell then came up with the publicized insult that his [McConnell’s] only priority was making sure Obama is a one-term president.

Pretty nice so far?

Then we have Republican hacks on the internet all day, every day, trying to beat down the POTUS with relentless insults of all types.

Republicans could care less about “nice” when it comes to being the party in power, i.e., the GOP wants to be in power and they’re willing to make as many enemies as are necessary in the process.

Posted by: lindalovejones | December 1, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Hello again. Yesterday I posted three issues I would like for you to discuss on this blog because I wanted to understand or, at least know, the conservative point of view. I will continue to ask these questions every day until I see a column from you on them.

Number One - Why is America exceptional? The country ranks 12th in college graduates so it is not education The country has (until the recent health care bill, which most conservatives oppose) over 40 million uninsured as well as an infant mortality rate higher than Cuba's so it is certainly not health care. I can come up with more examples but this is a start. Again, why do YOU think America is exceptional?

Was the invasion of Iraq worth the cost - one to three trillion dollars, 4000 American lives, over 100,000 Iraqi lives? What did this country and the rest of the world get out of that invasion that was worth that cost?

Conservatives oppose gay rights and a woman's right to chose, among some other constitutionally questionable issues Liberals do not. Why do conservatives consider themselves more freedom-loving than Liberals when they oppose equal rights for groups that Liberals do not?

I await your answers in one or more columns.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | December 1, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

battleground51 said:
The WaPo seems to know that one, good conservative is worth five liberals in political debate.

Obviously, that's why they have a 10 to 1 ratio of liberals to conservatives.

They believe in leveling the writing field.

Their way.

Obviously exaggerated, perhaps a 5 to 1 ratio. Of course, the Washington Times has absolutely no liberal columnists. Go read that newspaper and you can be happy and contented every day.

Posted by: maltnhops52 | December 1, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Mitch McConnell is and has been Reason Number One why Congress can't act. He is his own party of No. Mitch may want the past to return, but it won't, and our country really needs a Congress that can act. We need to get America moving and fast! McConnell is the wrong person at the wrong time. And forget the Tea party desire for states rights, white privilege, etc., we must act now. Or learn to speak at least one dialect of Chinese.

Posted by: dudh | December 1, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

welcome i guess???? they and you are never going to get what you really want by the way

Posted by: willjolley | December 1, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes in war, one is forced to admire the sheer evil, cunning, and enterprise of the enemy. One such example is 9/11, a complex plot that was pulled off without a hitch despite the years-long planning and execution.

Another such case is the success of the right wing in America. For over a hundred years, industrialists, capitalists, and investors have chafed under the spectacle of American workers enjoying a middle class life. No stone has been unturned to roll back the benefits of the workers. There has been vilification of "union bosses," accusations of "socialism" and "communism," there has been HUAC, Pinkertons, police and army, but even so, American workers prospered.

But then came globalization. Our government, strongly influenced by the money interests and the profit motive, allowed the exportation of America's production capacity, and to where? To countries ruled by communist and fascist dictatorships where there are no labor rights, where the tyrants rule by fear and starvation and the people are forced to labor for peanuts. Meanwhile, the ruling cliques share the bonanza with the American outsourcers, their enablers.

And now, after millions of jobs have been outsourced to China and India, after millions of Americans, trained, experienced people who spent their lives in productive work, have been put on the street, the Republicans go after their unemployment benefits!

For the sake of greed and avarice, the leaders of America have abandoned their nation. I saw a picture of Sarah Palin in front of the banner saying "Country First." What a lie. They weaken our country, they strip it of its power to produce, they sell our manufacturing secrets to foreigners, they impoverish our people, and foul their own nests. They kiss up to repulsive dictators, and there is no atrocity so vicious and cruel that they won't defend to justify their profits, the only thing they care about come hell or high water. What a miserable species.

Victory! Victory for the bankers, stockholders, owners! Why, someone said so right here on this thread, that trained, experienced American unemployed should go work as dishwashers! That's the American spirit for you, you study, work hard, raise a family, and suddenly your job is stolen by an Indian, outsourced. Now, go wash dishes!

One has to reluctantly admire the skill that the Republicans have used to dupe and fool any American employee who votes for them. Just like 9/11, sneaky, cunning, persistent, and dangerous. The power of greed and avarice is amazing.

Posted by: 7891 | December 2, 2010 1:32 AM | Report abuse

CINO's (conservatives in name only) have taken over the Republican Party. McDonnell, Boehner and their party of nuts seem to be crack addicted. I can only blame it on the media which has sold us out to a steady stream of knuckleheaded slogans. American really don't need the extra angst the dopes come up with every day.

Posted by: hhkeller | December 3, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Why pass the START treaty now? Because the Republicans have vowed to vote against it and next year they will have an even greater majority. The same can be said of every one of the other bills you mentioned (Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the DREAM act, etc.)
As for the tax "increase" the Democrats have been trying all year to get these tax cuts extended and guess what? The Republicans are dead set against keeping the tax cuts for the lower 99% of Americans. The Democrats want to vote on a bill that would extend those cuts, but the Republicans insist that we extend tax cuts for the top 1% first. That is what this letter is about. The Republicans are saying unless the Democrats make those cuts permanent, they won't do anything else.
It's also manifestly untrue that they *will* do anything else. They just want to try and get the Democrats to pass their pet bills and they will respond, as they always have this term, by continuing to block everything.
Balancing the budget? Give me a break! The Republicans increased spending astronomically before, and kept the wars and bailouts off the books. Obama put them on the books, and gets blamed for growing the deficit that actually Bush increased as he tripled our debt. And cutting taxes never has helped us balance the budget. But let's say we do that. We still would need to cut spending, and the Republicans have no plan for what to cut. Defense spending is, pun unintended, the elephant in the room, and it is treated as a sacred cow. It is twice what we had under Clinton, and almost none of it goes to help our troops fight the enemies we actually have. Instead the Republicans who spent the SURPLUS of 2.5 trillion dollars Social Security provided elsewhere, may cut benefits there so that it provides a surplus again that they can spend elsewhere. People who make over $100k a year don't pay social security taxes on anything above that; is that really fair? If they did, Social Security would be more than paid for.
Obama tried to get costs for health care reduced, but because of Republicans, we still can't increase competition in health insurance or pharmaceuticals, so there went a great chance to save everyone else including the government money.
Bottom line, the Republican plan of decrease taxes then cut nothing will increase the deficit. If they do cut something, they have to tell us what.
And that is another reason this is just a blocker rather than a path to detente. By making balancing the budget the second requirement, something the Republicans won't allow to be accomplished in the first place, they have an out even if they get their way on the tax cuts. What the Republicans are really saying is their obstruction policy is working, and it will be continued indefinitely.

Posted by: rifter | December 3, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company