There’s a dirty little secret in Washington. The reporters and pundits who surround Mitch McConnell serve as stenographers for his talking points. He wants Mike Lee blamed for the failure to pass something that does not repeal Obamacare, Lee is going to get blamed. Why? These reporters, pundits, talk hosts, etc. depend on having access to leadership to advance their own careers. Connectedness in Washington gets people TV shows, front page name placement, and highly paid columnist and contributor gigs and that connectedness depends on connectedness to leadership, not the conservative or even liberal rabble.
So if McConnell wants Lee to be blamed, then Lee is going to be blamed. It’ll give you MSNBC placement or front page billing at the Washington Post and Roll Call.
Those voices out there right now saying Mike Lee owns Obamacare are fully aware that McConnell did not have 51 votes even if Lee had stood with him. But McConnell does not like Lee or the conservative senators, so these yes men to leadership will blame them.
What is so hilarious about it all is that everyone recognizes McConnell’s plan does not repeal Obamacare. It is a fundamental breach of a seven year old Republican promise. But you won’t see these people point that out because to do so would be to acknowledge McConnell never really committed to repeal. And if they did that, they’d be shut out of access from McConnell and his minion.
This is McConnell’s failure, not Lee’s. It is McConnell who structured the plan and McConnell who ran around behind closed doors telling moderates they could vote for it because it was never actually going to go into effect. It was McConnell making sure everyone knew the plan would not be implemented that lost him Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Jerry Moran, and others. And it was McConnell who lost Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, etc. Fifty-one senators were not going to vote for this plan and there were not forty-five Republicans to vote for it either.
But Mike Lee will get blamed by the various pundits and talk show hosts because those guys are McConnell’s fluffers who depend on access to the leadership to give themselves credibility.