Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) told me on Monday night’s Kudlow Report that President Obama shouldn’t expect a lot of cooperation from Republicans after he outlines his goals for 2012 during the State of the Union address tonight.
“With the Obama economy established now . . . unemployment is still at 8.5 percent,” McConnell said. “It didn’t work, and we’re not interested in doing more of the things that don’t work.”
Obama is expected to use his State of the Union address to call for higher taxes on the rich, among other things. And while it sounds like more gridlock ahead in Washington, McConnell puts the blame squarely on the president. He said when Republicans wanted to tackle tax reform and entitlements last year, Obama went AWOL on his bus tour. McConnell expects more of the same this year.
“He was not involved whatsoever,” McConnell said. “So I’m not optimistic, frankly, that in an election year that he’s likely to be any more engaged than he was last year.”
What’s more, McConnell thinks the logjam in the nation’s capital is part of Obama’s agenda.
“That’s his strategy . . . to demonize Congress, to complain because he can’t continue to get everything he wants, like he did the first two years,” he said. “It’s all about his reelection and not about the country.”
One thing McConnell thinks will get done is an extension of the payroll tax cut, which was extended for only two months in December when Congress couldn’t come to an agreement.
“We’ll be back at [it] trying to figure out how to do that for the balance of the year and how to pay for it,” he said. “We don’t want to add to the deficit.”