Senator McConnell’s ‘No Shutdown’ Promise Looks Short-Lived

mitch mcconnell

Dear America, On second thought… 

There are only a few guarantees in life: death, taxes, gravity, and the fact that politicians will say and do anything for a vote. Many would sell their own mother, but given the fact most of those folks have been on Capitol Hill for more than two decades, mom probably bought the farm a few years back.

Anywho, several politicians have been raising the same old flags of truce and speaking longingly of bipartisanship since the Republican takeover of The Senate a couple of weeks back. Among those spreading the Sister Sledge harmony is the new Lord of the Flies, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), majority leader. Here’s his quote:

“Let me make it clear: There will be no government shutdowns and no default on the national debt.”

Nice for a Kumbaya moment as McConnell stated at the weekly Republican policy luncheon late last week (source). Only one small problem, he has used that line before. Like, last year.

We all hope for world peace and get bupkus. We pray for an end to climate change and get even less. Someone, somewhere has not given up hope praying that a politician will become honest while in office. If that is you, read this:

McConnell (Ky.) told The Hill in an interview Thursday afternoon that his party learned a painful political lesson over the past 16 days, as its approval rating dropped while the government was shuttered.

“One of my favorite old Kentucky sayings is there’s no education in the second kick of a mule. The first kick of a mule was when we shut the government down in the mid-1990s and the second kick was over the last 16 days,” he said. “There is no education in the second kick of a mule. There will not be a government shutdown.

“I think we have fully now acquainted our new members with what a losing strategy that is,” he added.

Senate Republicans Speak To The Media After Their Weekly Policy MeetingThat’s what the septuagenarian Senator said … in October 2013.

And that, my dear friends of flackdom, is the difference between a public relations practitioner and a public affairs strategist. In PR, we know when to refresh the talking points — specifically the stale ones.

Everyone knows that a government shutdown is the stake in the heart of the opposing party’s leader. That’s why, when McConnell said this the first time (regardless of when you heard it), the reaction was the same: “Girl, please.”

As the Washington Post puts it, the “new” timeline hasn’t even been running for two weeks, but the old man may need to reach for a bottle of his home state’s bourbon to get the edge off:

[McConnell’s] pledge is facing its first big test. A series of deadlines will force the incoming Senate majority leader to either find a way to keep his word or else get dragged into the same cycle of showdowns that has yielded few conservative victories and a lot of public anger.

That anger is from hearing this same old, same old year-after-year-after-year. The midterms proved two things: 1) People are really tired of the way things have been, and 2) People are even more tired of the way said things are (not) going to change.

If Kraft needs a dozen PR agencies on its roster, then Capitol Hill needs at least twice as many. We know a few people who may be interested.

(Photo credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)