A Squandered Majority Opportunity

On May 31, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky wrote an op-ed article for the Wall Street Journal trying to justify how the establishment sees Washington working.

Mr. McConnell’s article was entitled, “How the Senate is supposed to Work.”  It missed the mark completely.

The point is made that the 2010 Affordable Care Act passage “played an underappreciated role in eroding the Senate’s core function as a place where great national challenges are hashed out openly, and ultimately resolved.”

Mr. Obama is determined to force his will on the country whether his countrymen like it or not. The Republican majorities in Congress simply have no answer or tactic to stop the president.

Mr. McConnell writes about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 when Senate Majority Leader Everett Dirksen produced 30 out of 32 Republican votes for its passage.  This was an example of both parties working for the good of the country.

In other votes, only six senators voted against the Social Security Act of 1935.  And only eight voted against the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Contrast those two votes with passage of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which passed the “Senate without a single vote from the minority Republicans.”

Mr. McConnell points out, “What seems to have been forgotten is that it’s not an act of betrayal to work with one’s political adversaries when doing so is good for the country.”

What was good “for the country” was passing legislation curbing human trafficking, a free trade agreement, a five-year highway bill, and a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act, which transfers power back to the states.  Each came with a huge price tag and concessions to President Obama.

What really “was good” for the country?  Was it free trade?  In early June it was announced that the U.S. trade deficit rose 5.3 percent in April to $37.4 billion after a rebound of imports of foreign goods such as autos, aircraft and clothes.

American workers did not benefit from these imports.  The seasonally adjusted deficit through April is $220.3 billion.

Employers in May added the fewest number of workers in almost six years reflecting broad cutbacks to the economy according to Bloomberg and Company.  Most economists thought that 161,000 new jobs would be added.  It was actually only 38,000.  The jobless rate dropped to 4.7 percent, the lowest since November 2007, as Americans left the labor force. 94 million Americans don’t even look for work anymore.

Mr. McConnell said, “The bipartisan cooperation has been good for our policies.”  The answer is not to rail against one’s fellow conservatives, but to make better arguments and build coalitions.

Here he completely misses the points.  Both parties have produced years of wars, a huge national deficit, open borders, talk of amnesty and contempt for the Tea Party that produced a Republican House in 2010.

Don’t you remember the Tea Party, a group of mostly middle-aged Americans, concerned with the country’s direction?  They met at Congressional Town Halls to vent their political frustrations with their elected representatives.

To Mr. McConnell’s surprise, the country does not view Washington as making good decisions collectively.  They view Republican leaders as out of touch and emotionally weak, who have no answers for executive overreach through the IRS, military reductions or in the bathroom.

No, Mr. McConnell misses the mark.  His Senate is not the way things should work.  Republicans have squandered what the public has given them. Speaker Paul Ryan likes to rail against Donald Trump yet won’t give Kate’s Law a House hearing.