Mitch McConnell declines ransoming hostage in 2012

Last summer, after threatening to throw America into default in order to protect millionaires’ tax rates during the manufactured debt ceiling crisis, Mitch McConnell eventually got what he wanted and gave us this amazing quote:

“I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting. Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this — it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming. And it focuses the Congress on something that must be done.”

How clever of you, Mitch.

But with the 2012 elections coming up — and Mitch’s chance at Senate majority leader hinging on Republicans not looking like radical hostage takers again — it looks like he’s not going to go down that road again:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sided with the White House on Thursday when he voted to advance next year’s budget bills based on last August’s debt-ceiling deal.

His vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee puts the GOP leader on the opposite side of the issue from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his conference. [...]

McConnell was the key deal-maker in avoiding a debt-ceiling crisis last summer. He will likely be just a central as the House and Senate try to reconcile differing spending bills this fall.

This pretty much sums up this year of living dangerously for Mitch McConnell: either please the Tea Party to avoid a backlash from the conservative base and House Republicans, or compromise in order to improve the sinking image of the GOP with general election voters — hence allowing himself a chance to be Senate majority leader.

We can be sure of only one thing at this point. Perhaps the biggest critic of the debt-ceiling deal — Sen. Rand Paul — will once again not say a single critical word about Mitch McConnell. Paul must never speak ill of his new Sith Master.