McConnell's Long Game?

by Chris Bodenner

While most of the media are focused on the big wins of the White House and congressional Democrats in the lame duck session, Josh Green draws attention to GOP gains:

Last week, McConnell succeeded in blocking the omnibus spending bill to fund the government next year, forcing a compromise that will deny Democrats money budgeted to enact the new health care and financial reform laws. That spending bill will be revisited next spring, when Republicans will be more powerful and better able to shape it to their interests. The tax deal, too, even beyond the two-year extension of the Bush cuts, will yield future benefits. That extension will expire in the middle of the 2012 presidential campaign, which will allow Republicans to make the same threats about tax increases that have just proved so effective. Even the deficit-funded stimulus measures can be viewed as strengthening the Republicans' hand next year, when Congress has to raise the debt ceiling. Grassroots pressure to oppose this will be even greater in light of the larger revenue shortfall. In this sense, McConnell has operated in much the same way that Bill Belichick does during the NFL draft, forgoing immediate gratification for a bigger payoff down the road.