Proud Hostage Taker Sen. McConnell Says "Job Creation Should Be A No-Politics Zone"

September 06, 2011 3:30 pm ET — Alan Pyke

When President Obama wanted to let the failed Republican experiment of cutting rich people's taxes to historic lows come to its scheduled end last fall, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took legislative hostages to get what he wanted.

When President Obama asked Congress to raise the debt ceiling so that America could pay off President Bush's credit card bills, McConnell held the entire economy hostage in order to attach a shortsighted and unprecedented package of spending cuts to the routine housekeeping legislation, saying, "It's a hostage worth ransoming" even though his tactics cost us our AAA credit rating from S&P.

And when Republicans were poised to take back the House thanks to a weak economic recovery, and National Journal asked him what the new majority should take on as its primary job, McConnell said, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

Yet the centerpiece of McConnell's Washington Post free-trade op-ed yesterday was the accusation that President Obama is the one politicizing job creation:

According to the White House, President Obama has been huddling with advisers on a jobs plan he'll present to Congress this week. One thing he could do immediately is finalize the free-trade deals with Colombia, South Korea and Panama that have been languishing on his desk. [...]

Americans have good reason to be frustrated with the political maneuvering behind these delays. At a time when 14 million Americans are looking for work, job creation should be a no-politics zone. 

The column is a textbook piece of psychological projection, but it's also substantively dishonest. McConnell misidentifies the stumbling blocks that have held up the agreements, and throws the petty political behavior of his party down the memory hole.

In reality, Republican senators threatened to attach an abortion rider to one free trade agreement, and then boycotted the committee markup of all three, way back in June, all because Democrats think FTAs should be accompanied with spending to help American workers displaced by such agreements. Republicans now disagree, even though the connection of FTAs to TAA "enjoys a long bipartisan tradition in Congress," according to the president of the Business Roundtable.

Rather than compromise and support the retraining funds in the name of getting the FTAs done, McConnell's members threw a tantrum. McConnell's caucus room sure is a no-politics zone, alright.

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