Mitch McConnell gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation this morning where he doubled down on his promise to do what he could to make President Obama a one-term president. From the transcript:
Let’s start with the big picture. Over the past week, some have said it was indelicate of me to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office. But the fact is, if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailouts; cut spending; and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things. We can hope the President will start listening to the electorate after Tuesday’s election. But we can’t plan on it. And it would be foolish to expect that Republicans will be able to completely reverse the damage Democrats have done as long as a Democrat holds the veto pen.
If you read through the entire transcript, it's remarkable. The strategy is simple: "Re-educate" the public about the "hard left" agenda of Democrats, recapture the White House in 2012, repeal every reform passed by the 111th Congress. But in all my years following politics, I have never seen it turn so hard and rigidly right.
As it turns out, it would seem the Tea Party has the Republican leadership by the short hairs. A ransom note to Mitch McConnell from Judson Phillips at Tea Party Nation clarifies things a bit. It opens with this: "Grow a pair." Here are some of their demands:
First, you can start by imposing party discipline. The days of reaching across the aisle are over. You have forty-six senators. (At the time of this writing, Washington State is still too close to call, but I do not believe Dino Rossi can get a fraud proof majority). Lisa Murkowski will also caucus with the GOP. They are also looking towards 2012 and they can count numbers just as well as you can. Many of them have been in the majority before and know how much better it is in the majority. Many of them are looking forward to being committee chairs. They need to understand, if they want to be chairs, they are going to follow orders.
That was mild, and expected. But what follows is typical of the thuggery I've come to expect from this group.
The filibuster is now going to be our friend. The GOP is going to filibuster early and filibuster often. The good news is, with control of the House, we will not have to worry about killing a lot of bad spending bills. However, there are certain things that do fall exclusively to the purview of the Senate.
First, no more radical judges. I do not care if another Federal judge is not approved until 2013. This is not a bad thing. No more bad treaties. The list of bad treaties that Obama wants us to sign is quite long. Just say no.
To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, “Gridlock is good.”
Hmmm. Bad treaties, like the START renewal. Because somehow non-proliferation is bad? Really? But wait, there's more. It's not really a ransom note until the threat is made, after all.
Your job, kill the bad bills of the Obama regime. If you do, in 2012, we will see a sea of red, all across the country, as we did Tuesday night. You will be the majority leader in the Senate.
On the other hand, if you do not, we in the Tea Party will remember. 2010 was our first election. We did not do everything right, but one thing I will say for our movement, we learn quickly. If you want to be the majority leader after 2012, I suggest you do the same.
Why do I write about these people? Because like it or not, they have some traction they shouldn't have. Rand Paul will be a Senator in January, as will wingnut Ron Johnson. Mitch McConnell is getting heavy pressure from these Tea Party groups who are not just simple grassroots movements. They're heavily funded by corporate interests and represent the ongoing message those corporate interests are trying to sell to ordinary Americans. While Tea Party Nation is a purely for-profit organization, it aligns itself with other Tea Party organizations and markets Tea Party merchandise. Sarah Palin has spoken at their convention along with other far right wing speakers.
This particular ransom note was thuggish. It exceeded anything I've ever seen come from the left in terms of pressure on politicians to take ideological stances. It assumes a group representing less than 10% of the population controls the entire conservative agenda, and as you can see from the list of demands, governing this country is not important. Only the politics are.
Oh, and the profit.