Old Mitch has been said to be a master legislative tactician, yet the only thing I've seen is him caving to the other party repeatedly, more concerned about comity in the Senate (to coin John McCain's laughable term) than the agenda that he has been repeatedly elected to accomplish while instead huddling in the back room with his cronies and lobbyist masters. The only thing he has accomplished is finally agreeing to the nuclear option on the Supreme Court and that was questionable to the end. He is a creature of Washington, he's been there too long and he has been too corrupted by its perks and privileges while the down home people back in Kentucky, the state he represents, suffer under a healthcare system that is sucking the lifeblood out of those who work hard for a living to pay for those who don't.
Now in all fairness, Mitch can't do it by himself, but as Majority Leader he has lots of tools to help him get it done and he uses none of them. And after promising repeatedly that he will get it done, his credibility is deservedly on the line, for real leaders who know how to lead accomplish their objectives. If they don't, they are replaced, and that's what should happen to Mitch if he can't deliver the goods. Or is the problem really that he doesn't want to deliver the goods, that he actually wants the major components of Obamacare retained? Frankly, it looks more and more like it every day.
But if he wants to do what he promised, he needs to play hardball instead of stammering and stuttering in his speeches which certainly don't build any confidence in the man. A well known talk show host had a suggestion that I liked and I think Mitch should employ it right now, so here it is with a few slight modifications.
The Majority Leader should schedule a Senate Republican caucus meeting with required attendance. In that meeting he should announce that the caucus will find a solution to the problem and all hands will agree to that solution or there will be no recess for vacations until Christmas. Input will be allowed for everyone and it will all be discussed, but at the end of the day they would settle on a plan that all can buy into. The sooner it gets done, the sooner they get to go home and then make it clear that anyone who doesn't pitch in and make it work will be identified publicly for the press.
There will be no big money sweeteners to get compliance, just give and take on the issues with the object being a free market, doctor-patient centered plan. During the meetings cell phones will not be allowed nor will any lobbyist representative or other outside personnel be allowed in the room. Water and sandwiches, not the fancy Senate dining room fare, will be brought in and they'll work each day from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily until the job is done.
Leaders like Lyndon Johnson used such strategies but, of course, he also employed blackmail on occasion, which is not recommended. But the point is that the Senators made a pledge to their constituents, they are paid to fulfill that pledge and it must be done. No is not an acceptable answer.
Would such an approach work? Well, there is only one way to find out and that is to try it. And I'm sure that President Trump would be more than supportive of such a tasking and it's time for the Senators to work for a living. I think the self-important Senators, when faced with missing vacation time, including possibly even Thanksgiving and Christmas, would get off their keisters and get to work. Is that too much to ask?