I try not to let Republicans get too far under my skin (Trump being a notable exception) but it's becoming really hard not to hate Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with every fiber of my being.
It's not because he's a Republican. Or that he's owned by Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry. Or that he's an opportunistic weasel. None of that I find personally offensive; if I did, I wouldn't be able to write about politics at all without having a stroke.
What I find most offensive about McConnell is the astonishing heights of hypocrisy he wields like a sledgehammer. The shamelessness of McConnell's hypocrisy is only matched by the shamelessness of Donald Trump's lying and that's really saying something. I wouldn't be surprised if the DSM-6 added a new category for amoral politicking while being a sociopath.
On Thursday, McConnell finally took the penultimate step of stealing a Supreme Court seat from a Democratic president by doing away with the filibuster so the Democrats could no longer block the pro-corporate ideologue Neil Gorsuch. This move comes after McConnell refused for over 10 months to even hold hearings for Obama's nominee, the eminently qualified and very centrist Merrick Garland. Republicans also threatened to block any Justice then-presumed winner Hillary Clinton would nominate (because the Court belongs to them, you see).
That was bad enough, but McConnell went on to feign constant outrage when the Democrats balked at going along with his scheme to steal the seat.
He's been tweeting that kind of twaddle for weeks, pretending that Republicans are the victim of Democratic aggression (where have I heard something like this before?). His Twitter feed is littered with a kind of hypocrisy that is nigh impossible to satirize since it's already well past the realm of believability. In fact, McConnell has been justifying his move to eliminate the judicial filibuster entirely because he previously forced the Democrats to eliminate it for federal judges:
He is, of course, forgetting to mention that Republicans had made unprecedented, in over two hundred years of American history, use of the filibuster to block Obama's judicial nominees. And they did it under McConnell's direction:
Kevin Drum explains why this forced the Democratic Party to modify the filibuster:
The last straw came when Republicans announced their intention to filibuster all of Obama's nominees to the DC circuit court simply because they didn't want a Democratic president to be able to fill any more vacancies. At that point, even moderate Democrats had finally had enough. For all practical purposes, Republicans had declared war on Obama's very legitimacy as president, forbidding him from carrying out a core constitutional duty. Begging and pleading and cutting deals was no longer on the table. Eliminating the filibuster for judicial and executive branch nominees was the only option left, and on Thursday that's what Democrats finally did.
But that's not even remotely the same as what is happening now and McConnell fucking knows it. It's why he's repeating the lie so often; he wants to muddy the waters so people will not recall how he directed his party to commit a naked power grab of obscene proportions. And he does with either a smirk on his face that is begging to be slapped off or with a faux outrage that's as convincing as a serial killer telling you, "Everything is going to be alright."
The Hippocratic Oath says, "Do no harm," but McConnell clearly practices the Hypocratic Oath, "Do as much harm as possible because you'll be rewarded with unearned power." For an elected official to have such disregard for the institutions he serves is infuriating but not unexpected from the anti-government Republicans; it's another thing entirely for McConnell to so shamelessly attack others for resisting his reckless assault on the underpinnings of our democracy. It's a sick mockery of what the Founders intended and he couldn't care less.
But, if fate smiles on us all, the last laugh may be on McConnell. Yes, Republicans get their 5th seat back, tilting the Court to the right again, but next year is the midterms and Trump's escalating scandals and self-inflicted debacles may turn the Senate over to the Democrats when they should have struggled just to pick up a single seat. That will mean the end of Trump appointing anyone to the Court, leaving it for whoever replaces Trump in 2020 to fill up to three seats, including that of one conservative Justice Kennedy (age 80).
Adding to this potential disaster is the 2020 map which has Republicans defending 22 seats to the Democrats' 11, making it unlikely the GOP will retake control. Their best hope will be for Kennedy, Ginsburg or Breyer to fall over dead (possible) or retire (not with Trump as president) before the new Congress is sworn in.
McConnell is a smiling monster that has been gambling with the nation's stability and welfare for the past 8 years, doubling down on obstruction and corruption at every turn; it would karmic justice of the highest order for him to be there when he finally craps out and loses it all. I can't think of a more fitting end to a historically shameful career.
There are 578 days left to the 2018 elections.
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