March 27th, 2009
03:50 PM ET

Senate Republicans plot comeback, slam Bush

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/27/art.getty.mitch.mcconnell.jpg caption="Sen. Mitch McConnell also said he doesn't mind the 'party of no' label congressional Democrats and the White House try to pin on Republicans."]
Ted Barrett
CNN Congressional Producer

Despite crushing defeats in the last two elections, Senate Republicans have new “energy and enthusiasm” aimed at winning back the majority, says their leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Why the turnaround?

“President Bush had become extremely unpopular, and politically he was sort of a millstone around our necks in both ’06 and ’08,” McConnell said in a roundtable with reporters Friday. “We now have the opportunity to be on offense, offer our own ideas and we will win some.”

Many of those ideas get presented as amendments to Democratic bills which, though usually defeated, can still draw attention to GOP policy alternatives and often force Democrats to take difficult votes.

“They become the way you chart the course for a comeback,” McConnell said. “Which in this country, always happens at some point.”

“The pendulum swings,” he said.

Interestingly, McConnell said many of the clever ideas for amendments come from conservative think tanks and other Republican thinkers off Capitol Hill.

“Newt Gingrich, for example, has an idea a minute. Many of those are quite good. Many of those become amendments,” he said.

McConnell also said he doesn’t mind the “party of no” label Congressional Democrats and the White House try to pin on Republicans.

“I don’t feel anyone should be apologetic for opposing a bad idea,” McConnell said. “I’m not fearful of an effort to demonize dissent,” he said.

Filed under: Raw Politics • Republicans • Ted Barrett
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    So the GOP is going to make a comeback....will they still just like rich people and big business when they come back or will they finally recognize the many "poor" and "middle class" people whose vote help put them in power and do something for them? I doubt it so I'll continue to vote Democrat.

    March 27, 2009 at 7:50 pm |
  2. David Berglund

    Mitch McConnell needs to help his own state since Kentucky is the poorest state in the USA. Minimum wage $2.35/hr. Reagan inherited a surplus from Jimmy Carter,. President Carter was constantly stabbed in the back by the Republicans, like when the hostages were released from Iran after Reagan was swore into office, the good old boys arms for hostages deal. ( We forgot history again) Our CIA put the Shah of Iran in power and with the help of Isreal trained 60,000 Iranian to keep the Shah in power so we could have their OIL. Reagan put us in the black, then George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton balanced the budget and gave George W. a surplus and all the Repulicans could do was keep a constant investigation going on old Bill.I realize that it cost us a lot of money to make the color coded terror chart so we could all stay scared out of our minds during the Bush administration. What we needed was a chart to show us how fast our ice caps are melting. It doesn't matter if you are a Republican or Democrat were will soon be underwater. Linda during the last two years of George W.'s administration he was most likely was drinking since during his speeches he couldn't put together a sentence. One last comment, Marvin Bush was in charge of WTC security and Dick Cheney was in charge of NORAD on 9/11. You do the math! Since over 4000 put options were bought on United Airlines and American Airlines the week before 9/11.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  3. David Berglund

    When I see the Drug war I think back to my days as an Economics Major. The War on Drugs has been going on forever and it is a waste of Law Enforcemrnts Time and Tax payer money. Our Country could save a ton of money and all the people that have died in the war on drugs would no longer need to happen. We need to start to learn from history. Does anyone remember the 1920's and prohibition. The Elite went to fancy under ground clubs to drink and in the south Nascar was beginning with moonshiners running whitelighting. The Gangsters carried machine guns, today AK-47s. Alcohol and tobacco kill far more people then the drugs that we are warring. Perscription drugs harm and kill far more people than illegal drugs. Please check this CNN contributors, you will find out that I am wright. 40% of elementary children are on Meth like drugs perscribed by Medical Doctors and asked for by teachers. I think schools get extra money if kids are on Ritalin & Adderall. It's time to face the fact that "The War on Drugs" doesn't work and the real "War On Drugs" should be on the dangerous ones drug companies make, the FDA approves and they advertise on TV. We need to make victumless crime legal. This would save lives and save State and Federal governments tons of money. The drug dealers would have nothing to sell. Our prisons could be emptied of nonviolet prisoners that become violent after being in prison. Cigaretttes and alcohol kill far more people that the drugs we are fighting. Surely there must be a way that we could regulate their use. Who is afraid the making drugs legal? I have a B.S. in Economics, a B.S. in Anatomy, Doctor of Chiro[ractic, Doctor of Naturopathy and Physician Acupuncturist. I would like to be a CNN contributor. Now for the Economy, why hasn't anyone mentioned the fact that after the first George Bush helped to deregulate the Saving& Loans during the Reagan Whitehouse 3000 banks went down and we had the largest bailout to date. Then in !999 the 106 Congress passed the Gramm-Leach-Biley Act which repealed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. This law made our current economy what it is today. When we have a Company that is to big to fail, then it is to big to exist. The free market economy of Adam Smith does not exist and I think we should thank the lovely Fat Kats of Wall Street, Our Mrdical Monopoly, and the mentally challenged Lawmakers that repealed the 1933 law that kept the financial markets from crashing. We seem to have forgotten about Merrill Lynch, they paid out nearly $4 billion in bonuses. And we forgot about Enron the company that George W. didn't know Key Ley even though his baseball team played at Enron Field. Before Enron crashed they mede a deal with Merrill Lynch for $60 million to falsely inflate Enron earnings and thus their stock price, I'll close by thanking Enron for causing the people of CA to pay up the ?ss for electricity and for teaching Bear-Sterns how to manipulate gas prices.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  4. Mark

    Problem with politics as is the case here any liberal idea is a bad idea.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  5. revolution

    To little to late.
    At least now they say they are going to something.
    Talk is cheap.
    Just look at all the bull on TV now.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  6. Linda I.

    How conveniently the Dems forget that the both the House and Senate were controlled by them during George W. Bush's last two years in office. That is when George W. went off track and became disconnected from his conservative roots. That's when all of the spending went out of control. That's when Barney "Blather" Frank and Chris (the Dudd) Dodd, and Barack Obama took money from Fannie and Freddie for political gain and lost all sight of their unregulated programs which forced banks to lend money to those who could never afford to repay. Obama can keep blaming Bush, but he has more than tripled Bush's spending and he has only been in office 67 days!

    March 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  7. Greg Pyatt

    This is one of the unfortunate side-effects of a news media with high-bandwidth – no editing for content. This is essentially, a non-issue. Everyone knows GOP ideology is DOA, but keeps tiptoeing around it for fear of telling the kids there is no Santa Claus. So what if Bush is gone? What do Republicans have to offer? Nothing. Absolutely, perfectly, nothing – unless you're wanting to solve the entitlement problems by simply handing over all the public's money to the rich as their personal piggy bank, thereby hastening the moment at which they can flee the country and leave the rest of us helplessly crushed in debt. Seriously now, what can these mental midgets possibly hope to offer except more platitudes about God and how wonderful it is to be an American? What an unbelievable waste of electrons.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:47 pm |

    The Republicans can slam Bush as much as they want. They should be reminded that George W. Bush comes out looking like George Washington when compared to Jimmy Carter or Barack Hussein Obama. They should refresh the memories of the American people that the reason we had a $400 billion budget deficit when Bush left office goes back to Jimmy Carter who refused to back the Shah of Iran then allowed terrorists to take over the country. If Carter supported the shah, there would be no 9/11 /Iraq or Afghanistan. If the republicans get this message out, they would easily take control of the House and Senate For young voters who didn't know about Carter. They should study their history.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  9. mandennis

    Senate GOPs Slam Bush? My God! These guys were behind Bush's every move.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  10. Mary Nelson

    How can the R's think their policy works? They have had the overwhelming majority for the last 8 years, which gave them unhindered access to exercise their policy, and look what happened?

    There should be a law against misrepresenting facts when politicians speak. How is the average person supposed to reconcile the inaccuracies with the current facts? Sometimes they flat out lie. It's just hurting this country.

    Mary N. Minnesota

    March 27, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  11. Gary Kenny

    "Newt Gingrich, for example, has an idea a minute. Many of those are quite good"
    My God, did he actually say this? Newt Gingrich! Talk about a millstone around the Republicans neck! Keep plotting that comeback Mitch, and you keep those ideas flowing Newt! You boys are bound to rebound real fast!

    March 27, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  12. penny

    "The GOP comeback will be when the cows come home. Just like Eric Canter will provide a fiscally and intelligent budget. YEAH< YEAH, Just continue to eat crow.""'

    March 27, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  13. Lesley Anne

    Yes, but their new alternatives are the same as their old policies. They are still pushing Reaganomics or trickle down from the top with no government interference. If they want to make a comeback, they need to come up with new plans of their own and not continue to work with the old playbook expecting different results. Also, I agree with the poster who calls out the media. What has been happening over these many Republican-dominated years is a systematic shift of wealth from the middle class to the top. No one was crying socialism when the wealthy were taking from the middle class but they are howling now that we want our money back in the form of fair taxes. They are crying about the expiring Bush tax cuts, saying they won't be able to give to charities, but no one is batting an eye at the potential expiration of the new middle class tax cuts in two years. Among the deteriorating factions in this country appears to be investigative journalists. We now have pundits or whatever repeating favorite talking points from whichever party they invite on their programs. I'm completely disheartened.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  14. earle,florida

    Funny this clown is out of character! McConnell backed ,and pushed Bush's agenda's from cradle to grave ,...pathetic ! PS. I wonder if the grass is now permanently blue in Kentucky?

    March 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  15. John Rosing

    The bogus GOP claim that “OBAMA spending is unprecedented” belies the facts.

    It is out of historical context and a disingenuous political statement. Since 1981 there have been one Democratic and three Republican administrations while our nation has both prospered and later fallen apart.

    During that time our National Debt increased from $0.96 to $10.70 Trillion, while the ratio of DEBT to GDP increased from 31% to 75%; our grand children’s legacy. $8.19 Trillion of that was the result of Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, G.H.W. Bush and G.W. Bush, while only $1.54 Trillion was attributed to Bill Clinton’s Democratic administrations.

    Ronald Reagan TRIPLED the debt from $0.96 to $2.74 Trillion, and George W. Bush DOUBLED IT AGAIN from $5.77 to $10.70 Trillion. These historical facts show that the Republican policies of “DON’T TAX AND SPEND” are consistently fiscally IRRESPONSIBLE. By contrast the Democratic “TAX AND SPEND” policies promote our nation’s welfare.

    Furthermore the Media is editorially delinquent in their duties to repeat the GOP claims of Democratic “unprecedented spending” while ignoring the historical facts. (My information was taken from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, updated as of 3/23/2009.)

    March 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm |