What wilderness? Republicans emerge from elections ready to charge
Republicans have emerged from the political wilderness and they’re wasting no time laying down markers.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell particularly sounds like he’s looking for bear, not mincing words in his speech at the Heritage Foundation today.
Never mind that his party is still in the minority in the Senate and would need support from Democrats and the president to get anything enacted, McConnell appears ready to lay down the law.
“The White House has a choice: they can change course, or they can double down on a vision of government that the American people have roundly rejected,” McConnell said. “If the administration wants cooperation, it will have to begin to move in our direction.”
Soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner, who will actually lead a Republican majority, offers his thoughts in “Pillars of a New Majority” and a letter to his colleagues that says “the people have been clear: the job-killing spending binge in Washington must end, and Congress must change.”
Our congressional correspondent Donna Smith reports that Washington analysts say Republicans feel they will be able to force Democrats to accept spending cuts without compromising on taxes.
It remains to be seen whether they will go along with the White House offer to compromise on the question of extending tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush and which expire at the end of the year.
It seems from McConnell’s remarks that Republicans are in no mood to compromise and plan a full-throttle attack on Obama’s healthcare law.
“It speaks volumes that the first thing on Republicans’ ‘to do’ list is to give power back to big health insurance companies,” Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said in a statement.
Obama said he wants to engage both parties “in serious conversations about where we’re going as a nation” and he invited congressional leaders of both parties to the White House on Nov. 18.
“With so much at stake, what the American people don’t want from us, especially here in Washington, is to spend the next two years refighting the political battles of the last two,” Obama said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Longtime Washington observers might respond: good luck with that…
Photo credit: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko (herd of elephants in South Africa)