On Fox Business, WSJ columnist praises Mitch McConnell for doing "nothing" during government shutdown
Bill McGurn: Republican senators "don't feel the pressure to reopen the government. He's saving them, he's protecting them from this pressure."
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From the January 17 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co.:
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STUART VARNEY (HOST): So, you say Bill -- I'm sorry, Mitch McConnell keeps a low profile, AOC [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)] couldn't find him, and that's a successful strategy. Make your case.
BILL MCGURN (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL): Well, first of all, I always admire a man who knows how to do nothing in strategic way. He did that with Merrick Garland, the president had the authority to nominate a Supreme Court justice, and the Senate has no obligation to provide its consent. And we have Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court because of it, possibly we have Trump elected because of it because it made the Supreme Court an issue.
Now, what he's doing is just -- he said he's not going to send any bill up to President Trump that Trump won't sign, meaning, it won't have the wall funding that he wants. The beauty of that is, first of all, you don't have these sham votes, which the Democrats just need to say, you know, the Senate has eight times passed a bill calling for the government to open. So, in one swoop, Mitch McConnell is supporting his president; he's driving Chuck Schumer mad because Chuck Schumer would love these votes, that's what he wants to have; and he's protecting his own members from having to go on the record in a sham vote in this. So, they don't feel the pressure to reopen the government. He's saving them, he's protecting them from this pressure.
MCGURN: If you look at the polls, some of the polls say, "Who do you blame? Trump and Republicans or Pelosi and the Democrats?" That's kind of misleading. If you break it down, who do you blame, and President Trump gets most of the blame for the shutdown, probably near half, then a third to a quarter blame Nancy Pelosi. But when it says Republicans, it's only 4 to 5 percent. That means there's no pressure on these guys. They can go for a long -- and I think that, contrary to all the Beltway wisdom, which just thinks Trump has to cave on this because he called for the shutdown, I'm not sure Mrs. Pelosi's strategy of, "I'm not willing to give you another nickel no matter what you give me," I'm not sure that's a long-term solution for her. You know, and a lot of these federal workers live in Democratic states.
MCGURN: Mitch McConnell is just insulating his guys from these pressures. So, I just -- I think he wields power by doing nothing so effectively. My hat's off. And he doesn't call attention to himself. I mean, this one area where I actually agree with the new congresswoman from New York, she's right that he is the key to this shutdown.