2022 midterms

McConnell Signals GOP Will Run on Pure Obstruction in the Midterms

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Considering his history — and his lack of any discernible ideology other than the pursuit of power on behalf of privileged constituencies — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan for the coming year is entirely unsurprising. Axios reports: “Mitch McConnell has told colleagues and donors Senate Republicans won’t release a legislative agenda before next year’s midterms, according to people who’ve attended private meetings with the minority leader.”

This posture has always been the default position of the king of obstruction, who put his stamp on 21st-century politics by telling colleagues in 2009 that his party’s only real goal was making Barack Obama a one-term president. And it was perhaps the most important point of agreement between McConnell and Donald J. Trump, whose own interest in advancing policy was limited to the most crudely transactional of matters, such as rewarding supporters with tax cuts and giving conservative Christians a Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Nevertheless, McConnell’s openness remains a bit shocking. Normally, big political parties feel an obligation to at least pretend they have legislative goals other than mucking up the works. But McConnell thinks having an agenda is someone else’s job, per Axios:

During the mid-November dinner, McConnell told the donor it would be the job of the next Republican nominee for president in 2024 to lay out the party’s future agenda.

Until then, Republicans should be 100 percent focused on Democrats and all the “terrible” things they’re doing to the country, McConnell said, according to the source.

Since the likely Republican nominee for president in 2024 is, of course, Donald Trump, whose principal agenda is promoting the Big Lie of a stolen 2020 election and purging his party of anyone who won’t buy it, McConnell is basically saying Republicans don’t need to be for anything at all for the foreseeable future. The GOP is free to become a vehicle for those who vote out of rage, resentment, disappointment, or subscription to conspiracy theories. Standing for something positive would just get in the way.

McConnell: Republicans Don’t Need an Agenda for the Midterms