Mitch McConnell's internal polling must still be showing him vulnerable to an upset by Alison Grimes, because he's playing the one real card he has in his hand. If re-elected, he's going to shut down the government unless President Obama surrenders completely.
Mitch McConnell has a game plan to confront President Barack Obama with a stark choice next year: Accept bills reining in the administration’s policies or veto them and risk a government shutdown.
In an extensive interview here, the typically reserved McConnell laid out his clearest thinking yet of how he would lead the Senate if Republicans gain control of the chamber. The emerging strategy: Attach riders to spending bills that would limit Obama policies on everything from the environment to health care, consider using an arcane budget tactic to circumvent Democratic filibusters and force the president to “move to the center” if he wants to get any new legislation through Congress.
In short, it’s a recipe for a confrontational end to the Obama presidency.
“We’re going to pass spending bills, and they’re going to have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy,” McConnell said in an interview aboard his campaign bus traveling through Western Kentucky coal country. “That’s something he won’t like, but that will be done. I guarantee it.”
So yeah, if you thought Ted Cruz's little test run was fun, wait until enough Democrats stay home to give Mitch the Turtle here control of the Senate. It'll be the GOP's way or else.
A “good example,” McConnell said, is adding restrictions to regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency. Adding riders to spending bills would change the “behavior of the bureaucracy, which I think has been the single biggest reason this recovery has been so tepid,” he said.
“He could,” McConnell said calmly when asked if such a tactic would prompt Obama to veto must-pass appropriations bills. “Yeah, he could.”
So yes, this would be the staring point of a Congress controlled completely by the GOP, a standing threat for the next two years to throw a tantrum and shut the country down, causing tens of billions in economic damage, any time they don't get what they want.
Of course, as Steve M. reminds us, voters are too lazy to care about shutdowns.
The fact that voters don't remember government shutdowns helps explain why McConnell's threat might be serious. If you were a Republican and you were looking at this chart, and at other 2014 polls, you'd think: Why shouldn't we shut down the government again, just as long as we don't do it a week or two before Election Day 2016? Voters won't remember. They sure don't remember the last shutdown, otherwise they wouldn't be on the verge of reelecting a GOP House and (probably) a GOP Senate.
Remember, Americans have shown no real appetite when it comes to punishing Republicans for bad behavior in the last 20 years. And there are tens of millions of Americans who will vote for the Republicans to shut down the government anyway, because they know Republicans won't allow it to hurt their checks from Uncle Sam, just the programs for those people.
That's not governance. That's lunacy.
But they're convinced they will win, because they're convinced you won't give a damn and will stay home in November.
Of course here in Kentucky you could vote Mitch out totally.
I happen to like that idea.