McConnell: Punch Tea Party “In The Nose”
November 22, 2013 by Ben Bullard
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) evidently has a plan for the 2014 midterm Congressional elections: punch the Tea Party in the nose.
The comment came to light today via Breitbart, following an interview with a GOP donor who said he heard McConnell’s remark during an Oct. 30 conference call hosted by Karl Rove’s Crossroads donor group.
On the call, according to a donor who was on it, McConnell personally named Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) as Tea Party conservatives he views as problematic for him. “The bulk of it was an attack on the Tea Party in general, Cruz in particular,” the source, a prominent donor, said in a phone interview with Breitbart News.
But the most memorable line came at the end of the call.
“McConnell said the Tea Party was ‘nothing but a bunch of bullies,’” the source said. “And he said ‘you know how you deal with schoolyard bullies? You punch them in the nose and that’s what we’re going to do.’”
The source said Rove was less vivid in his remarks, but essentially agreed with McConnell that Tea Party conservatism needs to be relegated to the margins as part of the GOP’s 2014 center-line campaign strategy.
The revelation comes just one day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wielded majority power to castrate Senate Republicans’ powers, and Senate procedure along with it.
In light of Reid’s invocation of the filibuster-ending nuclear option, and the failure of Republican leaders to counter by withholding unanimous consent on the rest of the day’s business, “an aide to a Tea Party lawmaker said that McConnell’s focus on trying to go after the Tea Party has jeopardized Senate Republicans’ chances at actually beating Democrats.”
Red State persuasively argues the Tea Party isn’t the problem; McConnell’s weak leadership is:
Instead of fighting fire with fire, McConnell is basically saying we can’t do anything until after the elections:
“The solution to this problem is an election,” McConnell said at a Thursday press conference after the Senate voted to go nuclear, changing the rules of the filibuster.
“The solution to this problem’s at the ballot box,” McConnell said. “We look forward to having a great election in November 2014.” […]
“I don’t think this is a time to be talking about a reprisal,” he said. “I think it’s at time to be sad about what’s been done to the United States Senate.” [Daily Caller]
I’m sure Harry Reid is scared to death.
There is one simple thing Republicans can do to retaliate. They can start by ending the Democrat super-majority on legislative issues. They can easily pledge to filibuster every piece of legislation and deny all requests for unanimous consent until the rules change is overturned.
…Harry Reid has identified a soft target. And until we change GOP leadership in the Senate, he will keep punching.
We’ve seen that the most loyal servants in President Barack Obama’s partisan army don’t reward true negotiating overtures or understand the time-tested, workaday dance of give-and-take. For the GOP to accomplish anything in the current Congress, it needs leaders who are willing to hew to the party’s core values and take a stand. It isn’t the Tea Party McConnell should want to punch “in the nose” – it’s the Democrats who are leading him about with the ring they’ve stuck in his.