When is it actually worse for Republicans to control the Senate, from an operational standpoint, than to have Harry Reid control the Senate?
This is not a tough riddle. The answer is when Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is sabotaging conservatives in a way even Harry Reid couldn’t orchestrate were he in charge.
Here is the incipient plan of attack from McConnell’s strategy to fund Planned Parenthood.
After going through the motions to fight abortion in a standalone bill, McConnell has filed cloture on a Continuing Resolution that funds every other odious activity of this administration – from the Iran deal and Obama’s Syrian rebels and refugee program to Obama’s amnesty and EPA regulations – through December 11. How fitting that he is using H.J. Res 61 as the legislative vehicle for the CR, which was the shell for the first phony fight of the month – the resolution to disapprove the Iran deal. McConnell can’t sell out to Obama on enough issues fast enough. This vote will take place on Thursday.
What about funding for Planned Parenthood? This bill contains the half-measure the House passed last week, which would defer $235 million from Planned Parenthood to community health centers, but stop short of prohibiting all grants through Medicaid and other programs. Then, after Democrats filibuster it knowing that McConnell is just putting on Kabuki Theater for phony Republicans, McConnell will bring out the real bill. CNN explains the next step:
The second bill would also fund the government through early December, but leave the Planned Parenthood funding intact. It is expected to pass the Senate with the support of Democrats and many Republicans who are wary of shutting the government over the Planned Parenthood issue. Cornyn said Senate Republicans are “trying to figure out how to advance the pro-life agenda without attaching it to a failed strategy like a shutdown.” House Republican leaders are still struggling with their own path forward, and are hoping they can convince their rank-and-file members to back a short-term funding bill that doesn’t include the provision to defund Planned Parenthood. Instead, GOP leaders are urging members to back a strategy to address the controversy over Planned Parenthood through a budget process known as “reconciliation” that would allow them to pass a bill to defund the group by a simple majority in the Senate and avoid a Democratic filibuster.
What Republican leaders plan to do is jam their own party in the House by first passing the abortion-funding CR in the Senate, thereby placing pressure on the House to follow suit. This is the ultimate act of treachery that serves to disenfranchise the House GOP majority the voters elected back in 2011. Typically, a party committed to fighting for their priorities in this scenario would first pass a CR defunding Planned Parenthood out of the House and jam the Senate. Then accuse Senate Democrats of blocking government funding in order to fund harvesting of baby organs.
McConnell is doing just the opposite. He is jamming his own party and the majoritarian body they control with the other party’s bill! This is a worse outcome than what we would have had with Reid still in charge of the Senate. Now Democrats can isolate and marginalize House conservatives by having Senate Republicans do the dirty work for them.
Some inside-D.C. conservative pundits criticize the grassroots for focusing so much of their fire on the GOP establishment instead of the Democrats. But what they fail to understand is that we will never defeat the Democrats if we have “our own” party leaders scoring points for the other side.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.