Mitch McConnell Surrenders to Reality

mitch-mcconnell-peaceRedState’s Erick Erickson has a piece with the headline “Mitch McConnell Surrenders.” His dastardly crime? Allowing the inevitable to take place early enough on Christmas Eve for his colleagues to get home to their families ahead of an ice storm.

So Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid have agreed not just to vote on the health care package on Thursday morning, but also to lift the debt ceiling.

Then they’ll fly home. All before the sun even makes it to its peak position in the Christmas Eve sky.

Yes, the GOP got the Democrats to go to Christmas Eve. But only for show and face saving.

The GOP will vote against the health care package having not run out the clock, and then they’ll help the Democrats raise the debt ceiling.

As Roll Call puts it, “Under the agreement between Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), votes on final passage of the health care bill and a two-month extension to the debt limit sometime before early afternoon on Christmas Eve.

Two blows for freedom with Mitch McConnell’s cooperation.

We need a Churchill, not a molehill as the GOP leader.

Good thing George Washington wasn’t a wimp when it came to crossing the Delaware in an ice storm on Christmas night.

By the way, why stick around? We know the Democrats have the votes. Make them own it. If we’re going to throw in the towel early, the GOP should en masse pack up and go home. Leave the Dems alone by themselves to do in the Republic. [all emphases in original]

First off, I don’t understand what Erick is asking McConnell to do:  Stay and engage in shenanigans?  Or leave town and abdicate his responsibility to vote?

Beyond that, the Democrats have 60 votes for the health care bill.  Presumably, the Republicans could be jerks for a few more hours to ruin Christmas.  But to what end?  How is delaying the inevitable a blow for liberty.

And, I’m sorry, but the “debt ceiling” is a perennial joke.  Congress is spending the money.  There’s simply no serious debate about whether to raise a meaningless “ceiling” to allow the government to borrow the necessary funds.  None.

Okay, so Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas to engage in a surprise attack on some drunk German mercenaries.  How is McConnell supposed to apply that lesson to his situation?

UPDATE (Dodd): I think Allah has the right of it on this one:

What’s the problem? They’ve all got kids and grandkids they want to see on Christmas, as do their staffers. Why work late if you don’t have to and doing so would accomplish nothing? Pure spite is a poor political strategy, especially when the basic symbolic point — forcing the Dems to wait until the last possible day to pass this travesty — is preserved.

Actually, the early vote will achieve something the late vote couldn’t: A full day of media devoted to a bill the public hates and which both left and right agree is garbage. Good luck getting people to watch the news after dark on Christmas Eve; now, thanks to the new arrangement, they’ll have almost 12 extra hours to stew about it before the holiday draws them away. McConnell knows what he’s doing here.

Erick’s desire to see the GOP do everything and anything to gum up the works is certainly understandable. But there’s no point in futile gestures. Especially not if you can squeeze some lemonade out of the situation.

See also, Byron York, who says McConnell actually got a decent deal for a relatively small gesture.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Pug says:

    Presumably, the Republicans could be jerks for a few more hours to ruin Christmas

    The party of Scrooge?

  2. Mithras says:

    They just want to make sure Tiny Tim is well and truly dead before they can enjoy their feasts. Michele Malkin will be hiding in the bushes to see what kind of countertops the Crachits have.

  3. Dantheman says:

    “But to what end?”

    In the vague hope that a Democrat may die in the interim. See here or here for examples.

  4. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Did any of you dolts notice the part where the demorats are trying to make the death panels permanent? Not death panels you say? A board of bureaucrats who ration care, for the purpose of cost cutting. Call it what you will, but they wish to make it nearly impossible to repeal that section. What other titbits of tyranny are hiding in this unconstitutional legislation? Congress is not en powered to mandate purchases. Never has been and never will be. The SCOTUS will end this nightmare.

  5. anjin-san says:

    Rags I thought the Acorn secret police would have hauled you off to the FEMA detention camps by now. How did you evade the mass arrests?

  6. Steve Plunk says:

    Shenanigans? After all the shenanigans the Dems have pulled recently why not give them a taste of their own medicine? I don’t give a rip if they stay in session all through the Christmas holiday since they have Scrooged me and the most of the country already. I say fight to the end.

  7. Bill H says:

    …but the “debt ceiling” is a perennial joke.

    Has a vote to increase the debt ceiling, by any amount, with either party in control of Congress, ever failed?

  8. James Joyner says:

    Has a vote to increase the debt ceiling, by any amount, with either party in control of Congress, ever failed?

    Not to my recollection. If it has, it was for show — and followed quickly by a vote in the opposite direction.

  9. JPSobel says:

    The Republicans should call for a reading of the bill. A 2000-page document would take 2-3 days to read aloud. The Democrats would have to decide to start the reading immediately having it continue through Christmas or put off the vote until after the break.
    I’d enjoy seeing the Democrats’ feet held to the fire for a few days by their constituents back home.

  10. Wayne says:

    Reid was the one that schedule this for Christmas Eve in order to bully the Reps.

    The Reps said they would do all they can to slow and prevent the bills progress. It only holds up until it becomes a little inconvenient to them. They are weak and cowards.

    Even when you can’t beat a Bully, you make him pay as big as price as you can. If you do that you will find that you can get concisions even if he can beat you and he will think twice before bullying you. The other choice will have him bullying you a hundred times more.

  11. An Interested Party says:

    The Reps said they would do all they can to slow and prevent the bills progress. It only holds up until it becomes a little inconvenient to them. They are weak and cowards.

    And yet, these are the folks who are supposedly going to win back control of Congress next year? Good luck with that… 🙂

  12. Wayne says:

    AIP
    Your right in it won’t be these people winning back congress. They are the one that lost it in the first place. Our only hope is something along the line of the Tea Party movement. We need conservatives with backbones as candidates not so many of these Dem-Lite slime balls.

  13. sam says:

    Our only hope is something along the line of the Tea Party movement.

    Good luck with that… 🙂

  14. anjin-san says:

    We need conservatives with backbones

    You might want to think about adding brains to the equation, they are pretty much absent right now…

  15. Pure spite is a poor political strategy . . .

    I thought that was the GOP’s strategy.