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July 19, 2011

Senator DeMint Not Impressed With GOP Salesmanship Either

Robert Costa at NRO:

Republican senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, is part of the problem, DeMint says. Instead of enabling conservatives to propose their solutions early on, McConnell made them wait until the Biden debt-reduction talks collapsed, leaving little time to rally behind counterproposals.

. . .

“Early on, Republican leaders in the House and Senate also said that we have to raise the debt limit,” DeMint says. “Unfortunately, we showed our hand.” Now, he says, “Republicans have our backs against the walls.”

“When I spoke to the conference months ago, I told my colleagues that the most important part of negotiations is when you put your proposal on the table,” DeMint says. But that never happened. The “difference in the sense of urgency among Senate Republicans,” he says, is troublesome.

It looks like Senator DeMint has an understanding of basic horse trading. To mix metaphors, you wouldn't tell the car salesman, "And that is all that I will pay... unless I have to pay some more," or "Rest easy; there is no way I will walk out that door." You couldn't get a deal after that. You'd look longingly at the showroom door, maybe get up to leave.

Likewise, you wouldn't tell the other side, "Relax, there's no way we'd shut down the government," or "Maybe we could just let you change the debt ceiling all you want and hope you choke on it." Your object is not to reassure your opponent or tell them what you might be willing to do in the end. Tension is your friend. Use it.

A salesman wouldn't last a week at Allen Merrill's New & Used on Route 66 in Yukon doing that kind of thing--starting a deal by announcing what he or she could or couldn't do.

These are basic errors, like starting a hand of poker by saying "Darn, I didn't get an ace."


Andy sent me this litany of McConnell negotiating errors from RedState yesterday:

Senator Mitch McConnell has lost almost every major legislative battle he has managed.

In the early ’90?s, he managed opposition to the Motor Voter Bill, which encouraged groups like ACORN to register fraudulent voters. McConnell refused to filibuster the motion to take up the bill — something that would have served as a key delaying tactic.

Moreover, Sen. McConnell sat by idly as sponsors of the bill played “let’s make a deal” — offering amendment after amendment to buy off opponents of the bill. A bill, which initially had more than enough votes to kill it, ended up passing because of McConnell’s ill-advised strategy.

Much more at the link.

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posted by rdbrewer at 04:23 PM

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