January 23, 2022

Analysis: Mitch McConnell’s 2022 agenda? Do nothing.

Take the Senate minority leader’s strategy on building a set of policies on which Republicans can run in 2022. That strategy? He’s not doing it.

“Mitch McConnell has told colleagues and donors Senate Republicans won’t release a legislative agenda before next year’s midterms, according to people who’ve attended private meetings with the minority leader,” reported Axios on Thursday.  

The piece went on to note that “McConnell has long held the view that putting out an agenda ahead of midterm elections is a mistake — at least for Senate Republicans.”

McConnell’s theory of the case is simple: Midterm elections when your party is out of power in Congress and the White House should be solely a referendum on what the other side has done for the last two years.

Voters, under this line of thinking, have little interest in knowing what Republicans would do if they were put in charge in Washington in 2023. Instead, they simply want Republicans to be the alternative party, the party that, well, isn’t currently in charge.

Proposing an agenda — a la Newt Gingrich’s famous/infamous “Contract with America” in 1994 — only gives Democrats something to punch at, a way to change the subject from Covid-19 and inflation worries to what a Republican-controlled Congress would look like and do.

Cynical? You bet. After all, democracy in its purest form has the two major parties offering their competing visions for the country and fully informed voters making a choice between the two.

But, as McConnell well knows, that’s not really how politics works most of the time. And no one is more willing to do whatever it takes to win than McConnell.

The Point: McConnell has made a career of realpolitik.  This is just one more example.

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