Mitch McConnell doesn’t want another government shutdown, yet he’s been reluctant to publicly, in front of cameras and microphones, confront those fellow Republicans of his who do.
His reluctance has officially ended.
McConnell specifically singled out the Senate Conservatives Fund — a group that has endorsed his Tea Party challenger, Matt Bevin, for the 2014 Republican nod in Kentucky’s Senate race. The incumbent McConnell told the Examiner that groups of that nature are “giving conservatism a bad name.”
“What they do is mislead their donors into believing the reason that we can’t get as good an outcome as we’d like to get is not because of a Democratic Senate and a Democratic president, but because Republicans are insufficiently committed to the cause — which is utter nonsense,” McConnell said.
McConnell is doing what he can, when he can, to avoid another shutdown. Here’s why:
Before the shutdown, McConnell and Boehner had Harry Reid and Obama and Pelosi pretty much where they’d wanted them. Sequestration was locked in for the rest of the decade. No pay increases for federal employees, no hope of bringing in new revenues, but cuts as far as the eye could see.
In order to get the Democratic votes needed to end the shutdown, McConnell and Boehner had to agree to put the sequester on the table, and to a 1% pay increase, the first in three years, for federal workers.
Why? Because the shutdown was, despite the media’s best efforts to pretend that “both sides” were at fault, known to be a Republican production from the get-go. It had been planned by the Republicans’ Suicide Caucus since last January, in fact. And the public rightly blamed them for it.
McConnell knows that Shutdown 2 will, if anything, be an even bigger disaster for the Republicans. The first one happened far enough away from the 2014 elections that with time, and with GOP/Media Complex demagoguing against the ACA rollout, its ill effects would be minimized if not totally countered. But Shutdown 2, including its runup, will happen in January and February of 2014 — right as Republicans will be wanting to get out and fundraise to fight off the Koch-funded Tea Party primary challengers allied with the Suicide Caucusers that gave us the first shutdown and are now jonesing for another one. Worse yet, the very problems with the Obamacare website that they hoped would lead them to victory in 2014 will have faded from the public mind, replaced by a growing number of stories like this one.
The bottom line personally for Mitch McConnell is this: He needs to stand up to the Suicide Caucus now, and try to get them to see reason on the second shutdown they want so fervently, or he not only loses his shot at taking the Senate, he likely loses his Senate seat to his Democratic challenger, Alison Grimes, come November.
The bottom line for the Republican agenda is this: If the Republicans force another shutdown next month, they will injure themselves so badly politically that when February rolls around they’ll be begging Harry Reid to end the sequester for them. Which Harry Reid will be perfectly happy to do.
(Crossposted at Daily Kos.)