McConnell on Spending: “No Government Shutdown”

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Conservatives hoping to leverage a major government spending bill into an opportunity to defund Planned Parenthood got some discouraging news from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week. After Republicans failed to bring the issue of the organization’s federal funding to a vote last week, several conservatives said they hoped to attach it to a must-pass bill in September. But if McConnell has his way, such an attachment seems very unlikely.

“There’s no education in the second kick of the mule,” McConnell told reporters Thursday. “We’ve been down this path before.”

Yes, yes we have. And every time, Republicans like McConnell have ultimately given in to the Democrats. This leadership has no heart for a fight that might make them look bad in the press. What they don’t realize is that this “tough talk, immediate surrender” way of governing is even worse. Establishment Republicans would be better off capitulating from the beginning. At least that approach would have the resonance of honesty. It has become painfully obvious that the current strategy involves pumping up the base before caving to the opposition.

“We’ll fund the government,” McConnell said. “I can’t tell you what will finally end up in or out of any government funding resolution; I can tell you without fear of contradiction there will be no government shutdown.”

Isn’t this like Obama telegraphing military strategy in the public? If Democrats know that Republicans are unwilling to risk a shutdown to defund Planned Parenthood, they have no reason to fear the conservative wing. As long as they stand firm – and they have proven to be much more stubborn than the GOP – they will ensure that these abortionists continue to get millions in taxpayer dollars.

Symbolic Opposition

When Republicans took control of the Senate last November, conservatives hoped Congress would finally be able to block the worst of President Obama’s agenda. Instead, we got a Congress that seems to think symbolic opposition is all that’s important to the voters. They are certain, somehow, that what the American people hate more than anything is gridlock. As long as the wheels of Washington are turning, according to them, it doesn’t matter which direction things are moving.

These undercover videos have not only exposed the very real possibility that Planned Parenthood is engaged in illegal activity. They have also put the subject of abortion and federal funding back in the national spotlight. If Republicans are too foolish and incompetent to make a real effort to defund this organization, we are in a lot of trouble. If the Republican Party doesn’t stand against this, what will they stand against? Is there any red line?

A little backbone, that’s all we’re asking. But apparently that’s too much.