McConnell: Voters Cast Aside Left-Wing Wish List

Posted November 4, 2010 at 12:55pm

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, newly emboldened after this week’s midterm elections, warned a crowd of conservatives Thursday that Republicans may not be able to leverage their success into a total overhaul of the Obama administration.

Instead, the Kentucky Republican said in a speech at the Heritage Foundation that the GOP will make inroads at cutting away the health care law and deficit spending, with an eye on electoral domination in 2012.

“Today, Democrats not only have the White House, they have the Senate, too,” McConnell told the crowd that gathered on a rainy Thursday. “So we have to be realistic about what we can and cannot achieve, while at the same time recognizing that realism should never be confused with capitulation.”

Still, McConnell said Tuesday’s Republican pickups, which put the party in control of the House and gave it six new seats in the Senate, occurred because the GOP “renewed our commitment to our core principles” over the past two years.

The Minority Leader also gave a preview of the Republican agenda for next year that includes defunding portions of the health care law, freezing deficit spending, preventing any tax increases and beefing up oversight of the administration. He said sticking to those core areas will lead to more political success.

“If we do these things well over the next two years, I believe the voters will be pleased with what they did on Tuesday, and Republicans will be in a much better position to reverse the worst excesses of the past two years and lay the groundwork for the kind of change we want and need,” McConnell said.

McConnell has said before that his top priority is to make Obama a one-term president, and he defended those remarks Thursday. But he added that a key takeaway from Tuesday’s election is that voters want both parties to work together.

He listed energy reform, trade matters, spending issues and the war in Afghanistan as points for agreement, although he clearly made the point that it would be the Democrats who would have to give up ground when negotiating on such matters.

McConnell is scheduled to meet with Obama, along with a handful of other Congressional leaders, on Nov. 18 to discuss plans for Congress’ lame-duck session.

“The American people want us to put aside the left-wing wish list and work together on helping to create jobs and restore the economy to health and prosperity,” McConnell said. “There is no reason the two parties can’t work together on achieving those goals.”