The Interesting Rand Paul-Mitch McConnell Hot Mic Moment

This isn’t exactly “I should have called in the military” or “after the election I’ll have more flexibility.” It’s not that kind of Hot Mic moment.

This is a little more instructive than that, and it’s an indication of how a couple of Republican Senators who are kinda-sorta on opposite sides of the Wacko Birds/Surrender Caucus intraparty fight see the shutdown thing playing out.

McConnell is miked up to do a TV appearance, but he’s talking nonetheless to Paul – and what is said will make you go hmmm…

The thing you have to understand about this is that while Paul is unquestionably an ally of Ted Cruz and Mike Lee in his willingness to go to the mattresses for the conservative cause, he was only reluctantly on board with the idea of denying cloture to Harry Reid on the Obamacare defund bill and forcing a shutdown fight. His support of that was more akin to taking one for the team; he wasn’t very enthusiastic about it.

So for Paul to be optimistic about “winning this” is more based on how he objectively sees things moving so far than wishful thinking in support of the strategy. And while McConnell doesn’t say a whole lot it’s clear he doesn’t particularly disagree with Paul’s take.

From Hot Air, a little more…

If you’re wondering why Paul decided to invite the entirety of the Senate for coffee today, this is why: He thinks the Democrats are torching their shutdown PR advantage by constantly reiterating that they won’t negotiate. The lefty base might enjoy seeing them take a hard line but the White House’s media campaign depends upon the GOP being seen by the broader public as the ones who are obstinate and obstructionist. Paul’s trying to seize the opportunity by making Republicans, by contrast, look like they’re bending over backwards to encourage negotiations. A quote from his appearance on Fox News this morning: “We would get more done if we had a little more interaction between the two of us.” That also explains, I assume, his surprising support for a short-term CR to re-open the government for a week or two while negotiations continue. That’s going to be his message from now on — negotiations, negotiations, negotiations. The more reasonable he and the rest of the GOP appear to low-information voters, the greater the chance that the public will start to view Obama and Reid as the key stumbling blocks in all of this and thus the greater the pressure on them to make a deal will grow.

There is no doubt that, particularly if you’re a Republican involved in the shutdown fight, you look at the multiplying series of gaffes by hubristic Democrats like Reid and recognize a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. While nobody will come out of this thing unscathed, the fact is that it’s the Democrats who have the most to lose from the shutdown – it’s Democrat voters who will be inconvenienced more, and will be more likely to pressure their congressman or senator to end it, and as more people recognize how truly awful Obamacare is, the market’s rejection of it is going to make it more and more difficult to continue going to bat for it with so much at stake.

In another week when the public further realizes what a ripoff Obamacare is, and Paul and others continue offering up one way out after another which get shot down because of the Dems’ all-or-nothing demands, this could go very badly.

Understand that one thing about the shutdown is that it forces the media to ask something other than softball questions to Obama and Reid. You’ve already seen how that is going – there was Reid openly expressing that he couldn’t care about the sick kids with cancer the NIH researches treatments for, and Obama openly poo-poohing the economy in the event of a debt-ceiling mess in two weeks while blaming it on the Republicans, something pundits across the political spectrum have been saying they’ve never seen a president do. That’s only in the past 24 hours, and it doesn’t count Obama’s almost-too-stupid-to-describe repudiation of unions’ right to strike or his insistence that he’s bent over backward to negotiate with Republicans (when he himself has unilaterally and as it turns out lawlessly delayed parts of the same implementation he refuses to discuss delaying with the GOP).

In the end, though, what somebody on the GOP side – and McConnell or maybe Lindsey Graham or Peter King or somebody else from the Surrender Caucus could do a service to all of us and make an effort to be the spokesman for this – needs to give the country a civics lesson.

If it’s a damn dirty RINO who takes to the microphone and says “Listen, this is a mess and it’s not the way I would have gone about it, but you’ve got to understand that the Constitution is very explicit that all federal spending has to originate in the House – and if you don’t have a majority of members in the House who are willing to go forward with Obamacare, you are not going to get funding for it. Period. When the President says he won the election, he’s got to realize that doesn’t matter in this fight unless he has the House with him, and he doesn’t – no matter how many Republicans in Washington are horrified by this mess. No amount of stomping his feet will change that; he’s going to have to negotiate some sort of accomodation on this issue if he wants to resolve this,” you might well be able to push that message across the finish line and push Obama and Reid firmly off the track.

Another way to put that is a little more combative…

Or, there’s Charles Krauthammer’s framing of it

“From Social Security to civil rights to Medicaid to Medicare, never in the modern history of the country has major social legislation been enacted on a straight party-line vote. Never. In every case, there was significant reaching across the aisle, enhancing the law’s legitimacy and endurance. Yet Obama­care — which revolutionizes one-sixth of the economy, regulates every aspect of medical practice and intimately affects just about every citizen — passed without a single GOP vote.”

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