Nighttime Must-Read: Paul Krugman: Debt Shall Have No Dominion
Thursday Hoisted: From Comments: Someone Who Remembers 1997-98 on Chris House on Traditional Macroeconomic Models and the Great Recession

Mitch McConnell Changes Medicare Position in Race vs. Alison Grimes: Live from the Roasterie CCXX: July 17, 2014

Brian Beutler: Mitch McConnell Changes Medicare Position in Race vs. Alison Grimes: "At some point in just about any campaign...

...a candidate will spin or shade his record or platform. No politician's history and agenda is entirely good and popular but they put all of it in a good light no matter what questions come their way. It's unusual, however, for a politician to disclaim all of his (and his party's) objectives rather than simply frame them in positive terms (liberty restoring, job creating, etc.). But that's exactly what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is doing in Kentucky, where he's running an unexpectedly tough re-election campaign against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.... 

McConnell's campaign last week made an incredible claim. With respect to McConnell's position on Congressman Paul Ryan's 2011 budget... his campaign said, “There is no way to speculate if [McConnell] would have voted for final passage without having debated amendments.” McConnell rests this claim on a technicality. In 2011 the Senate didn't vote on the question of whether to adopt the Ryan budget. Instead it conducted a test vote on the question of whether to debate it in the first place. Forty Republicans, including McConnell, voted yes. This was understood by everybody at the time to be the Senate GOP's opportunity (or misfortune, depending on your perspective) to go on record in support of Ryan's plan. McConnell himself explained the truism to David Gregory on "Meet the Press" when Gregory pressed him on his support for Ryan's Medicare plan. "I voted for the Ryan budget this week," he said.... Writing at Salon last week, Simon Maloy did the yeoman's work of finding all the wonderful things McConnell had to say about that plan on the Senate floor....

The record here is crystal clear. It's almost as clear as his position on the Affordable Care Act, which is that it should be repealed "root and branch." But in Kentucky, that would mean eliminating the state's popular insurance exchange, Kynect, and its successful Medicaid expansion. So McConnell is also trying to disclaim that position as well.... If you follow domestic politics closely, this is pretty disorienting. Its reminiscent of Mitt Romney's first debate with President Barack Obama, when he disavowed the fiscal agenda that defined his candidacy. At the time, Obama aides cited that about-face as one of the reasons Obama performed so poorly that night. That strategy backfired on Romney as the campaign wore on. The question now is whether it'll backfire on McConnell....

Repealing Obamacare and implementing the Ryan budget is what the GOP exists to do. And if the top Republican in the Senate won't defend his party's positions politically, there's every reason to suspect the party itself wouldn't be able to execute on the vision, if ever given the chance.

Comments