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Mitch McConnell, John Boehner
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, turning his back on Speaker John Boehner, again. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
House Speaker John Boehner isn't backing down from his increasingly lonely campaign to pick a debt ceiling fight before the election. He's a one-man band on the issue, saying yesterday on This Week:
[H]e was “not going to apologize for leading” by restarting the debate on the debt limit.

“Why do we want to wait and rush this through at the end of the year after the election?” he said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”

Boehner, his spokesperson says, just cares about the debt and deficit so damned much, and "feels a very personal sense of responsibility to press Washington to deal with the problem while he has the chance.” He has such a sense of responsibility that he put a bloated defense bill on the floor, authorizing more money for the Pentagon than the generals even asked for. He feels so responsible for the nation's fiscal future that he refuses to entertain even the idea of revenue increases. Because that's what it takes to lead his caucus of crazies, and to keep being their leader, which seems to be the motivating factor for Boehner.

What matters, on the other hand, to Mitch McConnell in the Senate is becoming leader by Republicans winning the Senate. He realizes Republicans picking another highly unpopular and potentially economically damaging fight could keep that from happening and wants no part of Boehner's posturing.

Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," the Kentucky Republican refused to echo House Speaker John Boehner's call from last week to get moving before November on the explosive fiscal debate.

"The timing will be determined by the president," McConnell said. "They determine when to request of us that we raise the debt ceiling. We assume that will happen at the end of the year, early next year."

Boehner's having a hard time getting McConnell on his side for anything lately. He was on his own in the disastrous payroll tax cut fight last year, and on continuing vote after futile vote on Obamacare repeal.

McConnell's a smart enough politician to know how much the crazy in the House, particularly repeated manufactured government shutdown and hostage-taking crises, is damaging the Republican brand, and he's not going to give Boehner any cover on this one.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon May 21, 2012 at 08:07 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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