The Great McConnell Sellout and the Fall of the Feckless Republicans

By John Fredericks

We’re all Democrats now.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) orchestrated in two days what his House colleagues couldn’t do in two months: completely sell out the soul of the GOP.

Like the pied piper, McConnell took it upon himself to personally negotiate the terms of a complete Republican unconditional surrender to President Obama, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on the fiscal cliff negotiations.

The total capitulation is uncanny. Essentially Republicans – in both the House and Senate – voted to raise taxes on 80 percent of Americans making between $50,000 to $200,000 per year, while getting absolutely nothing in return: not spending cuts, not entitlement reform, not offsetting cuts to stave off sequestration – nothing.

The Japanese made a better deal than McConnell 67 years ago on the aircraft carrier Missouri in Tokyo Bay when they unconditionally surrendered to the U.S.

The McConnell bill – laughably called “The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012,” passed the Senate by a whopping 89-8 margin. Only five GOP Senators voted against the measure, including Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rand Paul (R-KY), both presumed 2016 presidential candidates. The legislation – 150 pages – was given to Senators less than thirty minutes in advance of the roll call vote. Apparently the 89 Senators who voted in favor of passage in the wee hours of Tuesday morning must have been Evelyn Wood speed reading disciples.

The bill delays the budget sequestration by two months, and includes $600 billion over ten years in new tax revenue – which is about one-fifth of the revenue that would have been raised had no legislation been passed.

Here’s the kicker: the compromise actually raises the nation’s debt by at least another $4 trillion according to CBO score estimates.

Following the Senate’s lead, the House passed the bill without amendments by a margin of 257–167 around 11 p.m. on Tuesday night. 85 House Republicans – including Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and former candidate for Vice President Paul Ryan (R-WI) – supplied the margin of victory for Obama and the Democrats, making their whitewash of the GOP complete.

In so doing, McConnell and his Republican supporters became the new Daniel Webster of 2013: they sold their soul to the devil of debt. The one difference: at least Webster got a bag of gold for his efforts. That’s more than these McConnell Republicans got.

1968 independent candidate for President George C. Wallace won a handful of southern states with this memorable tag line: “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two major parties in America.”

Those words seem eerily prophetic today in the face of this seemingly feckless GOP sellout.

Is The Price Right?

Congressman John C. Fleming, M.D. (R-LA) said today on our radio show that he wouldn’t be surprised if House conservatives mount a challenge to Speaker Boehner. Fleming told us that about 20 or so House members have assembled to plan the potential coup attempt.

One potential candidate emerging as the alternative to Boehner is Georgia Rep. Tom Price, M.D., former chair of the powerful Republican Policy Committee. Sources on the Hill told us that even some members who do not like Price personally vowed to vote for him over Boehner anyway.

Price was defeated in his bid for GOP Conference Committee Chair last month by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, who Boehner openly supported in the closed door balloting.

Price, an unwavering fiscal conservative and a national Tea Party favorite is also rumored to be evaluating a primary challenge in the Peach State to GOP two-term incumbent Saxby Chambliss, a member of the once infamous “Gang of Six,” in 2014.

John Fredericks is syndicated radio talk show host in Virginia and can be heard M-F 6-9 a.m. on WTNT –AM 730 & 102.9FM in D.C., WLEE AM 990 in Richmond and WHKT AM 1650 in Tidewater, or streaming online at

  • So now, even McConnell does not pass the purity test? That raises the question; how small and extreme does the party need to become to be pure? Having failed to move its agenda forward, extremists now want to become more extreme in order to excise the impure from its ranks, but then, will it have the members left to move its program forward? By continuing to pursue its radical agenda, and thereby refusing to negotiate nor compromise, isn’t the answer that you become irrelevant?

    • Mike – just curious, what’s your plan to create economic growth? What is an acceptable tax burden? If you don’t want to cut spending, how, at the city, state, and federal level, do you intend to maintain competitiveness overseas, interstate, and intercity, given current corporate tax rates? What, in your view, is the acceptable level of debt? What are acceptable energy sources?

      In other words, for all the cherry-picking you do here, what’s your solution?

      • Good question J.R., but I am surprised you would ask me that. I have posted that opinion ad nausaum on this web site in the past, to the consternation of many of your no tax centric cohorts. But let me repeat my basic mantra.

        To promote growth and control the debt, we need to cut expenses, raise taxes, modify entitlements, and reform the tax code. All four are required; none by themselves could succeed. The goal ought to be a national debt of no more than 60% of GDP, and expenses and revenue of 20% in equal measure by 2020. It took about a decade to get into this mess and will take at least that to get out of it.

        • Okay, that’s a start. I don’t think I would disagree with any of that except raising taxes. I’d like to see what the other three building blocks get us before we ask a population that works until mid-May before it earns a dime for itself to give any more to governments that are billions and trillions in debt.

          So, that said, you mention three other very plausible strategies on which I’m pretty sure we have common ground. What are the details?

          • J.R., it is a fools errand to specific what must be negotiated by the parties. But for each area I indicated, here are a few examples. For expense reductions, cut the federal work force by 5% and restructure the military along strategic lines; for entitlement modifications, adopt the chain CPA and gradually raise the retirement age to 70 with an exemption for those who labored manually; for tax reform, limit itemized deductions for high income earners and reduce corporate tax breaks that are out of date; and for higher revenue, gradually restore tax rates for all back to Clinton era amounts and increase the fuels tax by at least $1.00 per gallon to pay for infrastructure development and growth.
            Again, the objective is to go to 20% of GDP for revenue and expenses, and to reduce the debt to no more than 60% of GDP. These four measures can get us there.

    • Mike your comments read like something from the imaginary HuffPo progresive reply generator.. Where do you recycle your talking points from?

    • McConnell fails the corruption test. He’s basically a pass-through for special interest money. The reason he folded so easily is because these special interests who are his real constituency are the ones who have been sucking the public Treasury dry – they don’t want to see a dime of cuts, ever.

  • 4USA

    Has it occurred to anybody here that McConnell decided that unity in troubled times is the best cure-all? He was the one who said that the most important goal for the Reps was to make sure that Obama would be a one term president. Well, that didn’t happen.
    Maybe, just maybe, he feels that the time has come to cooperate is in the best interest of the country.

    • MD Russ

      When pigs fly. The Republicans, with their defeat of Boehner’s Plan B, painted themselves into a corner. The polls were overwhelming in blaming the Republicans if we went off the cliff and McConnell and his caucus sold out to save their butts. They think that they have lived to fight another day. In reality, they have traded their souls to the Devil for a handful of nothing, as John points out.

    • Yes, unity. It did wonders for Soviet Russia, the National Socialists of Germany, and Castro’s Cuba. Can’t we all just get along? As long, of course, as it supports the left and its agenda. You don’t want “unity”, Ruth…you want appeasement and unilateral disarmament.

  • Darrell

    The GOP is done. We are a one party system now. The next party capitulation will be easier, the one after that will not even be noteworthy. How can Boner not raise the debt ceiling in March when he just voted for another 4 trillion dollars of debt in January? How can sequestration be accomplished in 60/90 days when the GOP helped ‘save’ the middle class? Heck, Geithner extended the debt ceiling 200 Billion in five minutes by simply modifying a spreadsheet while the Republicans were talking tough. Face it, you may as well let Pelosi take over the house because no one will risk reading or truthfully objecting to any bill from here on out. It’s time for you drop the rhetoric and re-evaluate your beliefs.

    • John Fredericks

      My point exactly , Darrell. Very succint and well stated.

    • I was not a fan of this deal. That being said, you’re characterizing this deal. There was no “4 trillion in debt” in January. Making that argument assumes that all of the Bush tax cuts expired and were not extended. Only then can this deal be categorized as a tax cut, and a loss of $4 trillion in projected revenue. The reality is that $4 trillion number doesn’t exist. It never existed. It was always a projection. And since Republicans have been calling for making the Bush tax cuts permanent for years now, it’s disingenuous for us to accuse anybody of adding another $4 trillion in debt – unless you’re actively advocating that we raise taxes on every taxpayer in America.

      The GOP is not done. There are still major competing economic beliefs and priorities between the Republican and Democratic Parties and anyone who refuses to recognize those differences is being willfully obtuse.

  • Fredericks pays to write on Bearing Drift, and has the gall to use the word “sellout?”

  • Fredericks pays to write on Bearing Drift, and has the gall to use the word “sellout” – (Posted a second time since it was deleted) Truth hurt?

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