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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2021 9:58 am 
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John Darkow
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 7:25 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2021 11:15 am 
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Ed Wexler
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Mitch McConnell has finally accepted reality. Not actual reality, of course, but simply the reality that Donald Trump is not going away any time soon. So great is Trump's power that Mitch McConnell is now forced to say things he absolutely knows are not true. In particular, he has now "warmed" to Trump's endorsement of Herschel Walker (R) in the Georgia Senate race. About Trump's Senate picks, McConnell said: "I don't believe they are troubling."

The Minority Leader is lying through his teeth. He knows very well that Walker is about the weakest candidate the Republicans could put up in Georgia. Not only has Walker never run a campaign before, but he has a history of threatening to kill people (including his ex-wife), has lied about his finances, and suffers from a potentially debilitating mental disorder. The fact that McConnell has been forced (very much against his will and better judgment) to agree that up is down and war is peace, shows that Trump is going to play a huge role in 2022. He may well hurt the Republicans in multiple states, but there apparently isn't anything McConnell can do about it. After saying that Walker is not troubling, he would have a hard time using his PAC to support a different candidate in the GOP primary in Georgia, which very likely means that the race there will be Walker vs. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA).

It's hard to see McConnell even getting involved there. He probably won't be making TV ads saying: "Vote for Walker because Trump says so." That might goose the Republican vote but it will goose the Democratic vote even more. Maybe he has resigned himself to losing in Georgia and will spend all his money in other states where Trump's choice happens to be the strongest candidate (by accident). Sure, he could support Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) in Alabama, but that hardly matters since any of the GOP candidates there can win the general election and be a loyal Republican vote in the Senate.

One state that will really test McConnell is Alaska. Trump has endorsed Kelly Tshibaka (R) there. While Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) sometimes expresses her own opinions and doesn't always toe the party line on everything, she is an incumbent senator. For McConnell to try to defeat one of his own incumbents would be a huge risk, even for him. It might even be enough to get her to become an independent and promise to caucus with the Democrats, like Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Angus King (I-ME). He might also just stay out of that one and let the chips fall where they may.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2021 7:37 pm 
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Kevin Siers
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The famous and acerbic columnist H.L. Mencken once wrote: "No one in this world . . . has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appears to be ready to bet the tobacco plantation on it. Unless Congress does something within a couple of weeks, or maybe a month at most (unless Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen suddenly discovers a stray trillion-dollar coin in her purse), the U.S. government will default on its debt for the first time in history, with catastrophic results. The reason for this potential default is that the Treasury does not have the money to pay the bills for spending Congress authorized years ago. It has nothing to do with potential future spending. But McConnell is channeling his inner Mencken and betting that most Americans are too dumb to realize this and will think that the debt limit has something to do with the reconciliation bill that the Democrats are working on.

Pat Byrnes
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If we get to the brink, Joe Biden can try to educate the public by explaining that it is like you're getting a credit card bill. Writing a check is needed to pay for spending you already did. It is not for new spending you might do in the future. McConnell knows that Biden has the bully pulpit, but he is gambling that 40% of the country won't believe whatever Biden says. In fact, most of the 40% won't even bother tuning in when he addresses the nation.

Dave Whamond
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McConnell knows perfectly well what the actual situation is, but he is hoping to force the Democrats to make some concessions in return for not causing the economy to tank. If this were a game, it might be called something like "Ultimate Chicken." It is a huge gamble and big business might be really, really angry with McConnell if he follows through and really does it, taking the markets and the economy down.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2021 9:59 am 
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Kevin Siers
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2021 9:57 pm 
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R. J. Matson
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John Cole
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Dave Whamond
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 7:58 am 
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David Horsey
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At a rally in Iowa on Saturday, Donald Trump lit into Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Turtles have hard shells and McConnell can take the incoming arrows, but out-and-out war between Trump and McConnell could hurt the Republicans' Senate prospects in 2022. That is especially the case if Trump decides to jump into some primary and support some (weak) candidate just to spite McConnell.

David Fitzsimmons
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In Des Moines on Saturday, Trump attacked McConnell for giving the Democrats the time to produce a reconciliation bill to raise the debt ceiling by themselves. The Minority Leader certainly did not make any concessions on policy and made it clear that he was not going to help raise the ceiling without major concessions, such as killing their reconciliation bill. But Trump considers giving the Democrats more time to do what McConnell wants them to do—and may force them to do in December—as a failure of leadership. Trump said: "They can now have two more months to figure it out how to screw us, OK." In reality, giving the Democrats two more months doesn't really change their situation at all if McConnell won't budge.

Dave Whamond
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Trump hates McConnell because the senator has blasted Trump's claims of election fraud as lies. In return, Trump called him a "dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack" after McConnell slammed Trump for his behavior on Jan. 6 during the attempted coup. The technical term for a situation like this is "they're both right." Trump also once called McConnell an "old crow," which McConnell said was quite an honor since "Old Crow" was the favorite bourbon of legendary Kentucky senator Henry Clay. Incidentally, if you search Google, you will find that passages like that one, which contain a reference to Clay or to Alben Barkley, are the only way that "Mitch McConnell" and "legendary Kentucky senator" ever end up in the same sentence. McConnell may be a shrewd operator, but he's built a legacy as thin as Saran Wrap.

R. J. Matson
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Trump spoke for 90 minutes and rattled off a long list of campaign promises, but didn't announce that he was going to run again. As usual, he told the whipped-up crowd that the 2020 election was rigged against him. He also attacked Joe Biden and endorsed Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Grassley is not terribly Trumpy, but since Grassley is virtually certain to win, Trump can later claim that people he endorses win. By endorsing sure winners, Trump thus raises his batting average.

Pat Byrnes
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R. J. Matson
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:49 am 
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Monte Wolverton
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That Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is very unpopular with Democrats is a given. That he is also unpopular with his own constituents is also well known. The only reason he keeps getting reelected is that Democrats are so hated in Kentucky that it takes a phenomenally bad Republican to lose in the Bluegrass State, and McConnell doesn't quite make the cut. Also, he is pretty good at bringing home the bacon.

But all of a sudden, he has a new bunch of detractors: Senate Republicans. The reason is that McConnell gave the Democrats 2 months to raise the debt ceiling on their own. He made it clear he wouldn't help them in December, but he felt he had to give them the time needed to put together a reconciliation bill specific for raising the debt limit, which is his preferred option. And a number of other Republican senators are now angry with him for that. They wanted him to refuse to budge and default on the nation's debt if need be to stick it to the Democrats. McConnell was afraid that would crash the markets, start a worldwide recession, and the Republicans would get the blame for refusing to do something that the Democrats routinely did during the Trump, Bush, and Reagan administrations. In other words, some other Republican senators not only wanted to take the country hostage, they were fully prepared to shoot it if the Democrats refused to obey them.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the informal leader of the "default or bust" team, said: "I believe Democratic Leader Schumer was on the verge of surrendering and then unfortunately ... Republicans blinked. I think that was a mistake." There is no evidence that Schumer was about to blink. Another Republican senator said that McConnell didn't have an exit plan in case Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) refuses to use the reconciliation process in Dec. to raise the ceiling. Still another Republican senator said McConnell was calling and begging the members of his caucus to vote for a bill allowing a simple 2-month extension to the debt issue.

It seems that the influence of Donald Trump is so great on the Republicans that his mentality has taken over. It doesn't matter if you get what you want or that you do anything that is good for the country. All that matters is that you punish the other side and make it lose. If you win as a result, that is the cherry on the sundae, but the key thing is humiliating the other side. McConnell didn't do that (in part due to a realistic fear that the Republicans would get blamed for the ensuing disaster, or that the filibuster would get carved). So now the Republican Senate caucus is angry with McConnell.

Their anger is not exactly an accident. Trump hates McConnell and pounds him at every opportunity. This certainly does not help his popularity with Trumpy senators like Cruz.

Now get this: House Republicans think Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), a rock-ribbed conservative, is in cahoots with the Democrats and Senate Republicans think McConnell, who has confronted the other party time and time again for years, is soft on Democrats. This says something about the current state of the Republican Party.

If the Cruz faction is ascendant, it could cause big problems for the GOP, because then it won't have a powerful leader to herd the cats. Republicans are minorities in both chambers and exert power only due to being unified behind a strong leader. If that leader is declawed, it could hurt them later in this session and definitely in the next session in Congress, when McConnell allies Roy Blunt (MO), Richard Burr (NC), Rob Portman (OH), and Richard Shelby (AL) will be gone due to retirement. The anti-McConnell group doesn't have a leader, and although Cruz is making the most noise, he is not going to lead anything since the other 49 Republican senators (and all 50 Democratic/independent senators) hate him. So in a certain sense, having McConnell be weakened by his own team is good news for the Democrats. It is much harder for him to threaten them if he can't count on his caucus backing him up.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2021 8:35 am 
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Dave Whamond
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 10:53 am 
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Randall Enos
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