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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) makes a point about his meeting with President Barack Obama regarding the country's debt ceiling, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington May 12, 2011.   REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst   (UNITED STA
Nope, not even one little bit
First, let me recap the situation: For months, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had publicly opposed a clean increase in the debt limit, but on Wednesday when Sen. Ted Cruz insisted on a procedural vote to block a clean debt limit increase, McConnell flip-flopped. In so doing, McConnell made it clear that he'd been bluffing all along, and was perfectly happy to see a clean debt limit increase.

I can't argue with the position that McConnell ultimately took (we'll leave that to morons like Cruz), but to call it a profile in courage would be absurd. And yet that's exactly how people close to McConnell are pitching it:

“McConnell’s not going to be defined by any outside groups. He’s always going to be motivated by what he thinks is best for Kentucky and the country,” said Billy Piper, McConnell’s former chief of staff. “He’s an easy target for some because he’s not afraid to take positions.”
Actually, he was very afraid of taking this position. According to The Hill, McConnell wanted to vote against proceeding, but Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski refused to cast the deciding vote unless McConnell joined her. And that, in turn, forced McConnell to rally several other colleagues to give him some cover.

In other words (a) McConnell wanted a clean debt limit but (b) didn't want to admit that. Ultimately, he was forced to make a decision, and his preference for a clean debt limit to precedence. That's a profile in timidity, not courage, yet apologists on the right argue:

We may strongly disagree with his analysis, but we cannot deny that McConnell knowingly sacrificed his own personal political interests for the sake of what he thought the best combination of policy and political outcomes would be for the Senate Republican Conference as a whole and for the country. There is no other explanation for it.[...] it wasn’t a cowardly vote; it was a courageous one. Sometimes courage can be misguided or even foolhardy, but that doesn’t make it any less courageous. Conservatives might think he is the wrong leader for Senate Republicans. We must, however, acknowledge that he did show leadership, and in doing so, afford him at least a grumbling form of respect.
Not only is that the lowest standard for bravery I've ever seen, it's also ridiculous to assert that McConnell's motives were purely altruistic. Even if McConnell honestly wanted to avoid a catastrophic default, he also is smart enough to know that a default would almost certainly hand his seat to the Democrats. Yes, he would probably lock down the GOP primary, but can you imagine the political blowback from swing voters if McConnell had let the country go bankrupt?

If McConnell had been willing to take on Cruz months ago, sparing us the drama of the debt ceiling nonsense, that could have qualified as political courage. But he didn't, waiting until the very last moment to cast his vote for a debt ceiling increase—and only moments later, when his vote wasn't required, flip-flopping back to opposition, never once having the courage to say the members of his party who supported default were the lunatics that they are.

When it's all said and done, maybe McConnell will deserve credit for managing to walk on eggshells. But not for leadership.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 01:45 PM PST.

Also republished by My Old Kentucky Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  He's a profile in cowardice... n/t (7+ / 0-)

    "Really nice, but also very serious about his job." Jackie Evancho on President Obama 6/7/12

    by BarackStarObama on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 01:48:01 PM PST

  •  I disagree, Mitch is an inspiration (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx, Patate

    to turtles everywhere. Why snappers, leatherbacks, tortoise, and Eastern painted turtles can look out from under their shells and know that one day they could grow up to be the minority leader of the Senate.

    Wait, what? You didn't say "profile in cartilage"? Oh, never mind...

    Food processed to be nothing more than simple starches with two dozen flavorings and stabilizers added to make it appear to be food isn't "food". It's "feed" -- what you give to livestock to fatten them up for slaughter.

    by ontheleftcoast on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 01:54:27 PM PST

    •  You are deluded. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ontheleftcoast, Patate

      Turtle Unions are up in arms about your slanderous comparion with a slimy critter like McConnell.

      Turtles are not causing america's problems.

      Turtles aren't killing your economy.

      Turtles aren't destroying didn't destroy your safety net.

      Why for you wanna dis turtles like this?

      Legal means "good".
      [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 01:59:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nixon was a Quaker (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Patate, xxdr zombiexx

        But that doesn't mean I'll never their eat oatmeal again.

        So McYertle is a turtle, I won't hold it against any of the fine turtle Americans I've come to know over the years.

        Food processed to be nothing more than simple starches with two dozen flavorings and stabilizers added to make it appear to be food isn't "food". It's "feed" -- what you give to livestock to fatten them up for slaughter.

        by ontheleftcoast on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 02:04:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is a dirty lie! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          xxdr zombiexx

          Nixon may have had Quaker parents, but he had a Jesuit priest. And he hung out with Billy Graham. And he prolonged and escalated VietNam and signed off on assassinating Allende. None of which comports with Quakerism.
          (Not that I'm a Quaker, but I went to Quaker schools).

          If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

          by CwV on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 02:12:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Well, McTurtle voted for it before he... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontheleftcoast, indie17

    Well, McTurtle voted for default,
    before he voted against default,
    before he voted for default...

    Nuclear Reactor = Dirty Bomb

    by olo on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 01:54:41 PM PST

    •  Heh, this time he did the right thing without (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CwV

      getting a "dam" thing for it.

      Food processed to be nothing more than simple starches with two dozen flavorings and stabilizers added to make it appear to be food isn't "food". It's "feed" -- what you give to livestock to fatten them up for slaughter.

      by ontheleftcoast on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 02:07:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well if you are comparing him to BONER (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx

    I'd say he's more courageous.

    But that's a pretty low bar.

  •  How can he be a profile in courage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indie17

    when he has no profile?

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 02:00:05 PM PST

  •  Unless we're talking Ninjas, turtles are not... (0+ / 0-)

    …renowned for their courage.

  •  Mitch's meow, not roar, was an exercise in... (0+ / 0-)

    self-serving politics. Whore wants to keep his job.

    Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

    by BoxerDave on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 02:03:39 PM PST

  •  In the real world doing the right thing at the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontheleftcoast

    last possible moment is no one's idea of leadership. In the debased 2014 world of Washington politics ("The Hill") this counts as a profile in courage.

  •  McConnell (0+ / 0-)

    is a depraved human who will either burn in hell or reincarnate as a mosquito (depending upon your religious beliefs).

  •  At least his priorities are in the "right" order.. (0+ / 0-)
    what he thought the best combination of policy and political outcomes would be for the Senate Republican Conference as a whole and for the country.
  •  Every time I see the pic of McConnell, I think he (0+ / 0-)

    has his pistol cocked, ready to aim at Congress.

  •  I think what was fariyl courageous... (0+ / 0-)

    was that all 55 Democrats saw the vote through. After cloture, as many as 4 (5 if Biden was nearby) Democrats could have been granted a pass and allowed to vote no....Prior, Hagan and Landrieu in particular, but none did.

    That's no exactly a profile in courage either, but much closer to one than Mitch's machinations.

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 03:03:39 PM PST

  •  Hatred of Women (0+ / 0-)

    If their is only one  thing he is clear on- it is Hatred of women.  I was borne from one so I'm kinda biased!  

    "Seek above all for a game worth playing- such is the advice of the oracle to modern man." - Robert S. de Ropp

    by FuddGate on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 03:05:19 PM PST

  •  He's a rebel oo he's a rebel (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DMentalist

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 03:34:37 PM PST

  •  McConnell's former chief of staff is WHO? (0+ / 0-)
    He’s always going to be motivated by what he thinks is best for Kentucky and the country,” said Billy Piper, McConnell’s former chief of staff.
        Oh, man.  I guess after she got separated from the Doctor and the TARDIS, she was absolutely DESPERATE for a job before securing that position with Torchwood.  I suppose listing: "Had multiple adventures through time and space with 700-year-old Gallifreyan Time Lord " under "Experience:" doesn't look nearly as good on a resumé as it sounds!

         On the other hand, I suppose she could have been on an assignment for Torchwood.  I could absolutely see Mitch McConnell unzipping his skin to reveal himself as a Slitheen....I can definitely see a resemblance...

         Or, could it be that McConnell is the new leader of the Daleks?

         

  •  Nothing like having your bogus extortion demand (0+ / 0-)

    Come back to bite you.

    So called conservatives used extending the debt ceiling as a means to get sequestration passed.  And it did work the first time.  After their first success, McConnell and his ilk did what any group of bullies and thugs does:  they came back with more demands the next time around.

    As a cover for their extortion demands, McConnell embraced, if not literally,  the bogus line that the debt ceiling is equal to more government spending.  In other words, McConnell would be giving Obama a "blank check" for unrestrained government spending if the debt ceiling was raised.

    Instead of trying to educate Kentucky voters that the debt ceiling is a necessary move to pay for past government spending, McConnell kept talking about out of control, job killing government spending.  McConnell is well aware that the majority of Kentucky voters, like voters in other states, are illiterate with regards to economics.  McConnell played to both the bigotry of Kentucky of voters and their economic illiteracy to rationalize his attempts at extortion.

    Now, the Tea Party is running another ad comparing McConnell to Democrats for his "betrayal" on the debt ceiling vote.  Appears his attempts at extortion have come back to bite McConnell in the ass.

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