Sunday, March 29, 2009

GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell: Bush Was "A Millstone Around Our Necks"

In a recent interview, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky predicted a comeback for Republicans now that George W. Bush is no longer president:

"President Bush had become extremely unpopular, and politically he was sort of a millstone around our necks in both '06 and '08. We now have the opportunity to be on offense, offer our own ideas and we will win some."

McConnell told reporters that the "party of no" label used by Democrats and the White House in reference to Republicans doesn't bother him:

"I don't feel anyone should be apologetic for opposing a bad idea. I'm not fearful of an effort to demonize dissent."

Speaking of opposing what they call a bad idea, i.e., President Obama's budget, the Republicans put out an alternative that was short on numbers, leading White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to extend the concept of the "party of no":

"It's interesting to have a budget that doesn't contain any numbers. I think the 'party of no' has become the 'party of no new ideas.' "

CNN contributor Paul Begala agreed–and put the blame where it belongs:

"The Republicans are like an arsonist who complains that the fire department is wasting water. Obama is trying to handle an immediate crisis while also laying the foundation for long-term growth. The Republicans are doing neither. They have no plan to stop the loss of jobs or to get capital markets functioning properly -- and they certainly have no plans for health care, education or energy, which are the keys to both long-term economic growth and long-term deficit reduction."

"If this were 'Sesame Street,' the announcer would be saying, 'This program brought to you by the
letters G, O and P ... None of the crises the president is addressing were of his creation. All of them were created or worsened by the Republicans who ran the House of Representatives, Senate and White House for years."

Regarding McConnell's reference to Bush as a "millstone," Matthew Yglesias points out that McConnell "was architect of the unorthodox notion that Senate Republicans should respond to losing their majority in 2006 by launching a lot of filibusters in defense of the unpopular incumbent president’s agenda." The photo above shows McConnell with the "millstone" whose agenda he so faithfully served.


A. S. Haley said...

Thanks for putting this up, Jeff. I think it serves to show that the current crop of Republican leaders can serve as their own millstone, without any help from Bush 43. There's not a fresh idea in the lot of them.

The Republicans will have to get a lot smaller before they can ever grow larger again.

Jeff Tone said...

Allan: Good to hear from you, as always. The Republicans are displaying the classic syndromes of a party whose longtime rule has come to an end, at least for now. They're either clinging to ideas that no longer bring them electoral success, or they have no ideas that answer today's issues.