McConnell said that the GOP wants to look to the future. It's a convenient way of looking at things for the Republican Party, which allows them to sidestep their involvement in the misdeeds of the Donald Trump administration and make an argument against the current government.
A political party that is smart and competent wouldn't let the GOP forget their role in the past. The Democrats are not that party.
McConnell has outfoxed Democrats in domestic political fights, forcing the ruling party to negotiate with itself by stonewalling them on their popular agenda. Why shouldn't the Senate Minority leader be worried about the charges of hypocrisy? The path of the country has been affected by the Democratic Party's refusal to hold their opponents accountable.
After running on promises to rescue the US from Trump and Trumpism but also to revive the social safety net, Democrats have been reluctant to use their power to the fullest extent. McConnell and the GOP can block any legislation via their manipulation of the filibuster because of the narrow margin of control in the Senate.
The blue party should make sure that Republicans are tied to the unpopular policies of Trump as the GOP tries to undermine the Democratic agenda. Biden is trying to get his agenda through Congress and doing anything less is political malpractice.
Rewriting the past.
Republicans have been allowed to rewrite history to underplay the right's role in the country's worst moments. In recent years, that message has come from President Barack Obama, who said we should look forward, not back, when the nation was ready to hold his predecessor, George W. Bush. The GOP was able to rid themselves of the former president because of President Joe Biden's belief in the mythical "good Republican".
The unpopular figure who has come to define their ideology in the public eye is an essential first step in rehabilitation for McConnell and his party. It's a strategy they used to take Congress in 2010 during the Tea Party wave; allowing Democrats to wash the nation's hands of Bush after eight years opened the door to branding as the nation's libertarian-adjacent right-wing.
The modern GOP has been there all the while. The Tea Party wave was driven by core tenets of the Republican Party's driving ideology, which included racism, sexism, and homophobia.
Today's GOP is dominated by Trump and his cronies in the media, and the hate is more open and pronounced. There's no hope of tying the party to what it believes without accountability. McConnell's gamble is exactly what it is.
It was tried and true.
The Republican Party is proud of its conservatism and rejection of progress. Republicans have used their political power to institute a political project that has become more unpopular over time. GOP party leaders gain power and wield it with knowledge that it won't last forever because of the culture war tactics they use.
The Democrats do it differently. Democratic ideology holds that with enough time and patience, conservatives will come to their senses, because there's a sector of the Republican Party devoted to bipartisanship and finding common ground.
Biden made a promise to voters that the GOP would become pliant and friendly to working with Democrats if Trump were to leave the White House. The president overstated his ability to pull Republicans back from the brink.
It's not clear if that means Biden and the Democrats will change their approach to the minority party. They have a lot of goods to sell. They have to make a case for it.
Biden and his agenda were popular immediately after Trump's election. The new president had the wind at his back as he worked to deliver relief to American families from the economic destitution left by his predecessor.
Voters have turned against the president as they watch him and his party try to pass the basics of the program they ran on nationally. The Democratic Party has a lack of internal discipline and a refusal to make members pay for bucking leadership.
Democrats refuse to expose the role of GOP lawmakers in blocking legislation, which is just as much of the problem. The primary reason that Democrats can make demands of their party is that Republicans are not willing to negotiate. The GOP won't stop the one party rule in DC while they're not in power.
The reason why this is is that the modern GOP is in thrall to the former president and their radicalized base see any sort of cooperation with the democrats as treason. Allowing voters to forgive and forget is a disastrous political move that will ensure a GOP resurgence and kill the Democratic Party's ability to govern for at least another three years.
Democrats could easily fix this problem. The GOP's unpopular policies and personality of the past would be tied to their beliefs and leaders in a concerted effort to shift the narrative. Democrats control the federal government. If they want, they can set the stakes of the public conversation in their favor. It's an open question whether or not they want that.