Check out Mitch McConnell at the Conservative Political Action Conference, furiously poking and prodding at as many conservative pressure points as possible in the few minutes of time he spent on the stage today.

He claimed Obama has been “treating our Constitution worse than a placemat at Denny’s.” He reminded everyone of his lead role in warning that the IRS was coming to squelch conservative dissent. He claimed Harry Reid is a socialist. In perhaps the saddest moment of all, he bashed the media for trying to “fix Benghazi for Hillary.”

But as the Hill notes, McConnell was only able to garner a “lukewarm” reception from the CPAC audience:

 

McConnell is taking heat from the right in the Kentucky Senate primary. He’s expected to win that, but it’s possible it could end up depressing conservative enthusiasm for him, which he’ll need in a general election.

The line that was supposed to garner the most applause for McConnell was the one about Obamacare:

“Harry Reid has spent two weeks calling American men and women whose lives have been upended by Obamacare a bunch of ‘liars.’ If ever there was an advertisement for a Republican Senate, this is it.”

If life were fair, McConnell would have been greeted with bellows and cheers and repeated standing ovations. From the liberal perspective, McConnell is one of the few people on the planet who has done more than anyone else to frustrate the Obama agenda — the Affordable Care Act included — than anyone else. If the single most important measure of a public official’s worth in the Obama era is the effort he or she has put into stopping the president’s effort to transform the country into something no longer recognizably American, McConnell has attained true greatness.

And yet Obamacare — that “gaping wound in the Republican psyche” — continues to move forward. The failure to block it has become the leading symbol of the GOP establishment’s impotence and insufficient zeal. Maybe McConnell should have done what Joe Manchin did with the cap and trade bill, and used the gun to blow apart the text of the Affordable Care Act.

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.