From THE HILL:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will put forth his party’s case for regaining its congressional majorities this fall during a speech Thursday in Washington.
McConnell will tell members of the Young Republican Leadership Conference that the GOP has “got its groove back” heading into November.
In his remarks, the Kentucky Republican will say his party was portrayed as broken and beaten down following the swearing-in of President Obama in 2009, but is ready to lead again in 2010.
Even though senior Senate Republicans have said their party has a slim chance of taking back the Senate, McConnell made the case for his party, saying it would reduce the size of government and rule competently.
Democrats have railed against Senate Republicans for stalling several key agenda items, such as a long-term unemployment benefits extension, and holding up several judicial nominations. Democrats also complained of GOP obstructionism during the healthcare debate, calling it the “Party of No.”
Republicans would need to win 10 Senate races in the fall, three times as many as Democrats.
With a 60-seat super-majority for almost a year and a 59-seat majority now, Democrats have been remarkably productive in passing legislation, including a sweeping reform of the nation’s healthcare system. On Thursday, the Senate is expected to pass an overhaul of the country’s financial regulatory reform apparatus.
But McConnell said Congress’s productiveness has not necessarily been a good thing.
“It’s not that the Democrats haven’t been busy. They’ve been busier than ever. But rather than being busy addressing the crises in front of them, they’ve all adopted Rahm Emanuel’s seven-word manifesto for governance: ‘Never let a crisis go to waste,’ ” he said. “For nearly three months, we’ve needed to fix a broken pipe at the bottom of the Gulf. And what we got instead was a proposal from the president for another plank in the far-left agenda — a radical, far-reaching scheme to impose a new national energy tax on every American.”
From Chris Cillizza at THE FIX at The Washington Post:
In a speech to a group of young Republicans today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) will cast the GOP as the party of change and checks and balances — a preview of the Republican message heading into the fall campaign.
With that rhetoric, McConnell is hoping to tap into the successful message employed by Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) in his stunning special election victory in January. Put simply: President Barack Obama promised change but it wasn’t the change you wanted. Republicans can bring about the right kind of change.
In that, McConnell is seeking to tap into the American public’s longstanding belief that divided government is the best solution; in the latest Washington Post/ABC poll, a majority (51 percent) said that it would be better to have Republicans in charge of Congress to “act as a check on the president and his agenda”.
McConnell is on far shakier rhetorical ground, however, when he argues that Republicans “got our groove back” by breaking out of the “Washington echo chamber” to listen to and empathize with voters.
Poll after poll suggests that voters are far from sold on the Republican brand and that the rise of GOP fortunes is directly tied to an erosion of confidence in Obama and the Democratic party not any Republican renaissance.
Again, the Post poll. Forty-three percent of those tested said that they had either a “great deal” or a “good amount” of confidence in Obama to make the right decisions for the country while 32 percent said the same of Democrats in Congress and just 26 percent said it of Republicans in Congress.
McConnell, of course, knows all of that but also knows he has to rally his party behind the idea that the American public now believes Republicans, not Democrats are the ones genuinely in touch with their hopes and concerns.
Expect to hear lots more of that sort of rhetoric coming from Republicans in the next 110 days.