Column: How Mitch Mcconnell And The Gop Perfected The Politics Of ‘no!’

Groucho Marx isn’t regularly hailed as a political oracle. But you can’t inform me he wasn’t channeling the future Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky in 1932, when he sang:

Your proposition can be top,But permit’s have one aspect understood:Whatever it’s far, I’m towards it.And even whilst you’ve changed it or condensed it — I’m in opposition to it!

That quite properly sums up how the Republican chief of the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body has greeted nearly every concept from the Biden administration.

McConnell hasn’t made a mystery of his doctrine.

“One hundred percent of our attention is on preventing this new management,” he said earlier this month.

That consists of blocking off even proposals which have bipartisan assist, including one that would establish an unbiased commission to investigate the Capitol insurrection of Jan. 6.

Such a probe could be a awful idea, McConnell stated, due to the fact it would distract electorate from President Biden’s guidelines, which he says will “turn America right into a socialist us of a.”

“We think the American humans, going ahead and within the fall of 2022, need to attention on what this administration is doing,” he stated.

Fall of 2022, now not coincidentally, is while the next congressional election will occur. The last thing McConnell desires is for Biden to have a list of accomplishments to gloat approximately come election time.

Consider some other notion that has gained bipartisan support: a police reform bill to deal with problems exposed via the demise of George Floyd and other unarmed Black civilians on the arms of police. Biden requested Congress to skip a bill by using Tuesday, the anniversary of Floyd’s homicide in Minneapolis. It didn’t happen.

Three Black lawmakers, Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Democratic Rep. Karen Bass of Los Angeles, were negotiating diligently to draft bipartisan legislation for months.

But McConnell and others in the GOP, decided to solid the celebration because the defender of law, order and “blue lives,” have antagonistic any extensive alternate to “certified immunity,” the judicial standard that makes it extraordinarily hard to sue police officers for his or her movements at the task.

And then there’s infrastructure spending, the largest bipartisan precedence at the desk. In those negotiations, too, McConnell and his lieutenants are digging in their heels.

Biden started the bidding with a large $2.3-trillion notion that blanketed no longer handiest roads and bridges, but also clean strength and home care for the aged. Senate Republicans responded with a suggestion of $568 billion, much less than half of which become new spending.

To be honest, each sides have engaged in shell games. Biden responded to the GOP provide through reducing 1/2 a trillion from his preliminary inspiration, but he simply moved some of the deletions into every other invoice.

“There’s no goodwill on both facet,” a congressional aide instructed me. “There’s a whole and utter lack of believe.”

The biggest stumbling block isn’t the overall quantity, but how to pay for all that spending. Biden desires to improve taxes on organizations and all and sundry making more than $400,000 a yr; McConnell and other Republicans have dismissed that as unthinkable.

One mildly promising sign emerged on Tuesday: A bipartisan organization of moderates together with maverick Democrat Joe Manchin III of West Virginia said they had been working towards a new compromise. But they are performing with out McConnell’s guide, in an effort to make it tough for them to attract the ten Republicans had to reach the Senate’s 60-vote requirement.

It’s no longer sudden that negotiations on ambitious legislation might be difficult; they’re purported to be. The problem is that best one birthday celebration is behaving as if it wants to pass some thing in any respect.

McConnell, in contrast, is rooting overtly for Biden and the Democrats to fail. He’s revived the playbook he used against then-President Obama, when he noticed obstructionism as a way to show voters against the administration and closer to the GOP.

From the viewpoint of pure politics, that’s rational behavior. It helped Republicans win a majority in the House of Representatives in 2010 and in the Senate in 2014.

As Princeton political scholar Frances Lee has pointed out, while manage of Congress is at stake, a minority celebration’s self-hobby impels it to block the majority from accomplishing any success.

“Competition fuels celebration warfare by way of raising the political stakes of every coverage dispute,” she wrote. “How can a celebration salary an powerful marketing campaign after … participating with its opposition?”

Besides, at a time when Republicans are divided over the legacy of former PresidentTrump and the destiny of conservatism, McConnellneeds a way to maintain them collectively. It’s no longer constantly clear what Republicans stand for in recent times, besides for low taxes.

But at least they realize what they’re towards: Biden’s large-spending agenda.

As Professor Groucho said — or, instead, sang: “No be counted what it’s far or who commenced it, I’m towards it.”