Thursday :: Dec 21, 2017

McConnell Breaks From Ryan

by Deacon Blues

Mitch McConnell sent an interesting message today: the Senate will not spend a lot, if any time in 2018 on entitlement reform or repealing Obamacare. Instead, McConnell says the Senate will look for a bipartisan opportunity with Democrats on infrastructure. The message for House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has already signaled he is bailing out after next year and wants to send his GOP members on a kamikaze mission without him of cutting Medicare and Social Security is: drop dead.

McConnell, unlike Ryan, plans to be around a while, and he doesn't like to send his mates into a meat grinder to satisfy an ego. McConnell knows he needs to hold his slim Senate majority at all costs next year and wants to continue as Majority Leader. The way to do that is for the Senate to stay away from the "third rail" issues of Medicare and Social Security, and instead seek Democratic votes for a politically-safe issue like infrastructure. It is likely that this reflects Trump's wishes as well, and it is a direct message to newly-elected Democratic senator Doug Jones in Alabama as well as centrists like Joe Manchin of West Virginia that the GOP majority is open for business with them in 2018. Again, very smart.

Which makes the gutless whines from Ryan and the newfound instability of Lindsey Graham all the more noteworthy. Graham is practically frothing at the mouth to destroy Obamacare now, even though it could cost him his seat. I guess wearing kneepads for Trump has affected his brain. As for Ryan, it's easy to be a warrior when you are leaving the field of battle yourself.

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