Saturday, May 10, 2008

WSJ Features McConnell

The Wall Street Journal ran a lengthy interview with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell today. Just the amount of ink of the feature -- it covered nearly half a full page -- underscores his power. Here are a few excerpts:

On the legislation to address the housing crisis:

There's no way to repeal the laws of economics. Just like we had to work our way through the high-tech bubble, we're going to have to work our way through this. There have been a lot of housing speculators, and I worry that we might craft something that benefits people who were basically engaged in housing speculating.

Regarding the use of the cloture rules (requiring 60 votes to force the Senate to consider a bill), McConnell uses the Republicans 41 votes:

to do one of two things: either to stop things that are totally awful . . . or more frequently, to use the power of 41 to shape.

On the Democratic vision for the country, McConnell charges that

Democrats, led by candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are promoting the Herbert Hoover plan: tax increases plus trade restrictions.

Specifically, the Democrats have passed a budget that would include a tax increase three times larger than the biggest previous tax increase in U.S. history.

And the Nancy Pelosi's refusal to allow a vote on the Colombian free trade agreement hurts the U.S. economically, "because Colombian goods come into the United States now virtually duty-free", . . . but the U.S. has "not had the same kind of access to Colombia." The agreement would also support an important ally in the country next to Hugo Chavez.

Regarding the lapse of FISA (which granted immunity to telephone companies for assisting the government with wiretapping and is opposed by trial lawyers and Democrats):

It would make you believe that they'd rather see companies in court than terrorists in jail. . . . this is a private-sector activity. We're not in the phone business. There will be no terrorist-intercept program without the cooperation of the private sector."

Summing up McConnell's power, the Journal observes that "Across a range of issues, McConnell has lately been particularly influential."

The Journal notes in passing that McConell "is among those on the ballot next year," but makes no mention of W. Bruce Lunsford or the other seven Democrats seeking to challenge McConnell; the obvious inference is that the Journal views McConnell's reelection as a foregone conclusion.

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