Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes excitedly discussed how new Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) may block the new congressional leadership from pursuing its objectives. “There was really an important thing that Mitch McConnell said,” Barnes explained, which was that “the minority can guarantee not much is done.”
Barnes claimed that he has “talked to [McConnell] many times, and he’s the great master of the filibuster, among other things.” Barnes also said that President Bush “has great tools” like “the veto, executive orders, recess appointments and so on” to block congressional efforts.
What a difference new leadership makes. During the last Congress, when Barnes’ conservative allies were in power, tools like the filibuster were described as legislative “rage,” a sign of “ruthless” politics. Here’s Barnes on 2/7/05:
Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle…was plainly obsessed with obstructing Bush at every turn. … The real lesson, of course, is that blatant obstructionism is a failed strategy. It’s what caused Daschle to lose his seat. […]
Stronger countermeasures will be needed, including an unequivocal White House response to obstructionism, curbs on filibusters, and a clear delineation of what’s permissible and what’s out of bounds in dissent on Iraq.
BARNES: There was really an important thing that Mitch McConnell said when he was here. He’s now the Republican leader. They have 49 votes, after all, and he said the minority can guarantee not much is done, which means that…
HUME: Which he said he’s — a proposal he said he’s indisposed to take at this point.
BARNES: I know, but he said, you know, I’ve talked to him many times, and he’s the great master of the filibuster, among other things. The president has great tools — the veto, executive orders, recess appointments and so on.
I think the key thing here, Democrats can get things that Bush agrees with them on, like the minimum wage, but if he’s against it like tax increases, they’re just not going to succeed.