Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., answers questions from reporters about challenges facing President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law in the Supreme Court next week, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, March 23, 2012. The GOP leader criticized the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as "Obamacare," as the single worst piece of legislation during his time in Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Republicans Always Pull Their Punches

Despite a reputation as a cut throat street fighter, Mitch McConnell never seems to push as hard as the Democrats unless he is personally invested in a cause. Take the nominations of Trump’s cabinet. Having declared he wanted most of them ready on Inauguration Day and, if they were not, he’d keep the Senate running non-stop, McConnell promptly recessed after the Inauguration. It sent a signal to the Democrats that they could take him. And take him they are. The Senate Democrats are pulling out every available stop to grind the Senate to a halt.

I am reminded of the Obamacare fight at the end of 2009. McConnell said the GOP would do everything within its power to grind the Senate to a halt to stop it, but with the writing on the wall he decided to cave so the Senate could get home in time for Christmas. Do you really think Chuck Schumer would have done that?

This happens again and again. Republicans have stenographers in the media declaring their boldness, sternness, and ability to play cut throat politics. Then Democrats actually are bold, stern, and cut throat.

Democrats, many of whom openly loathe Trump and are furious over his refugee crackdown — which Democrats describe as a “Muslim ban” — and other executive actions, have used all the procedural arrows in their quiver to slow down confirmation of Trump’s Cabinet nominees. They’ve boycotted committee meetings, refused to let panels meet in the afternoon, dragged out votes as long as possible, and refused to agree to even normal floor requests. They are voting against Trump’s Cabinet picks in unprecedented numbers, arguing that Trump doesn’t deserve even a patina of partisan support.

Chuck Schumer even voted against Mitch McConnell’s wife for Secretary of Transportation and she was the least controversial nominee of the lot.

Democratic voters right now are angry at the Senate Democrats. They want them to fight harder than they are. I, for once, would just like to see the Senate Republicans fight as hard as the Democrats.

There was no reason we should have gotten to February 6th and still not had Betsy DeVos, Jeff Sessions, and Tom Price confirmed. McConnell could have pushed and pushed. But he did not. And now, in his delays, he has set DeVos up for rejection and allowed a Deputy Attorney General from the Obama Administration to martyr herself, overshadow the President’s immigration executive order, and become a future Democrat Party leader.

We should not expect the GOP will ever really repeal Obamacare with all these pulled punches. There’s a reason Harry Reid was such a success in the Senate. He knew the Senate Republicans would cave when pushed. Chuck Schumer knows it too.

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Erick Erickson

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