Is Mitch McConnell a political wizard? Call me crazy, but I don’t think so. True, he was able lead the Hill GOP through eight years of making sure nothing good would happen while Barack Obama was President. There’s that. And he should be given credit for the theft of a Supreme Court seat. That, too.
But how should we score his strategy of letting Trump be Trump, saying next to nothing about the serial grotesqueries over at the White House in order to preserve Trump’s signing hand for the GOP wishlist of neoliberal “reforms,” including throwing people off of Medicaid to secure tax cuts for the Koch brothers and the Mercers and reforming the tax code to be easier on corporations and the well-to-do?
Hey, maybe everything’s going to work out for him. His pitch, presumably, after the break will continue to be that the only way forward is to focus on the legislative agenda and to keep the GOP’s promises to its donor class and its voters. Forget the little man with the orange hair behind the curtain.
But there’s a large risk, I think, that McConnell will end up neither with any big legislative wins nor with a healthy Republican Party heading into the 2018 elections. Reforming the tax code, for example, is enormously complicated work, both technically and politically.
It’s unclear to me that McConnell will be able to keep everybody harnessed and pulling toward a legislative win if there’s absolutely no competent leadership from the White House. And every day that goes by with Trump in culture-wars mode, joined at the ideological hip with the truly wretched Steve Bannon, deepens the stain on the GOP going into next year’s elections.