Shortly after America’s Republican Party trounced the Democrats and gained control of the Senate in last November’s midterm congressional elections, Mitch McConnell, the new Senate majority leader, appealed to his colleagues not to be “scary,” but to be “positive” and effective. This has proved very difficult.
McConnell’s strategy is typically farsighted. He knows that, if the Republicans are to win back the presidency in 2016, they must prove their ability to govern responsibly. He also recognizes that the Republicans would otherwise find it much more difficult to hold onto the Senate in the next election, when more swing-state seats are in play. And he is aware that public approval of Congress has fallen to the mid-teens — nearly an all-time low.
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