There’s an article in The Hill this morning that explores the mindset of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Sen. McConnell is laying low and allowing the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, to take all the heat for Republican skirmishes with the White House. He doesn’t want Congress to become a lightning rod in this election because he thinks it will hurt his chances of taking over the Senate. The article details some areas where McConnell has pulled his punches recently, and it explains why his rhetoric isn’t as hot as it was back in 2009-2010.
“It’s not about swallowing Democratic legislation. It’s about picking your battles,” said the [Senate GOP] aide. “There is no point in walking into a trap that is set for you. And playing on another guy’s field when you can play your own ballgame is stupid.”
The staffer said McConnell had to let his rhetoric run full throttle in 2010 because he could not afford to lose a single Republican vote.
“There was no margin for error,” said the aide. “If we were going to stop policy, we had to go berserk.”
It’s refreshing to hear a top-level Republican aide admit candidly that the Republicans went berserk during the first two years of Obama’s administration. But, while McConnell may be strategically dialing back the Crazy, the rest of the party and its base was permanently brain-damaged.