Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Master saboteurs

You've got to hand it to Mitch McConnell and the Republicans generally: Basically every aspect of their strategy and execution since Obama was first elected has been effective. Poison public perception of effective legislation like the stimulus and the ACA? Check.  Block all constructive legislation since winning the House, and blame Obama for inaction?  Check. Inhibit economic growth with savage austerity during a demand slump?  Check. Outmaneuver the president on budget issues by proving willing, or seeming willing, to shut down the government, default on the national debt, and pull the trigger on spending cuts beyond what anyone would have dreamed a few years ago? Check.  Depopulate the executive branch by slow-walking all appointments (until the filibuster rule change this year)? Check. Disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of black and Hispanic voters with voter suppression measures? Check. Flood the airwaves with dark money supplied by their corporate and ideological masters? Check.

It's all worked. Some say the victories are Pyrrhic and will be short-lived. But if they can keep Obama's approval numbers in the low 40s or worse, and keep economic growth at a steady sputter, they may win control of the only branch and level of government they don't dominate.

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