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Mitch McConnell's Shameless Op-Ed Totally Backfires

The Senate Majority Leader wrote an impassioned paean to bipartisanship. It did not go well.
Photograph courtesy of the Associated Press

Photograph courtesy of the Associated Press

No other Republican has done more damage to the United States than Mitch McConnell. In 2010, before he became Senate Majority Leader, he famously said his party's "top political priority should be to deny President Obama a second term." Once he became Majority Leader, he rammed through the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh despite his history of alleged sexual assaults, denied Barack Obama the chance to go public with information about Trump and Russia during the 2016 election, and removed transparency from Senate debates by holding rushed hearings and keeping bills secret. If his goal has been to bring the American political apparatus to a permanent stalemate, then he has succeeded. 

However, over the last two years, he has seen the American public turn against him, confronting and even chasing him out of restaurants for aiding and abetting the administration's immigration policies. Although his party held the majority thanks to a favorable Senate map, his party will only pick up four seats at best - three if Bill Nelson wins his recount in Florida against governor Rick Scott - and possibly lose one more if Democrat Mike Espy defeats Cindy Hyde-Smith next month in Mississippi. Come 2020, several vulnerable Republicans in blue-to-purple states will face tough re-election battles. Even if he runs and wins again, it's safe to assume that energized Democrats will do everything in their power to make sure he does not lead the Senate any longer.

McConnell represents everything the Republican Party has become since the election of President Obama: an obstructionist bloc of mostly white men who not only refuse to govern but hate the very idea of government itself. This further confuses the reasoning behind his decision to release an ill-timed op-ed in Fox News with the ubiquitous title, "Will Dems work with us, or simply put partisan politics ahead of the country?" 

"The past two years of unified Republican government will be remembered as a period of historic productivity," he writes, citing the passage of the tax bill and the confirmation of Trump's Supreme Court nominees. He then goes on to ask:

"Will [Democrats] choose to go it alone and simply make political points? Or will they choose to work together and actually make a difference? Last week, the American people made it abundantly clear that they prefer that Congress focus on making a difference. That message may have been lost on a few House Democrats, who have made clear their preference for investigations over policy results. After years of rhetoric, it’s hardly news that some are more interested in fanning the flames of division than reaching across the aisle."

Yes, the man who refused to let President Obama even hold Senate hearings for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland is calling for the Democratic Party to cooperate with the Republicans. What's more, although McConnell has no jurisdiction over the House of Representatives, his strike at "investigations over policy results" is particularly insulting given how House Republicans humiliated themselves with partisan investigations into non-stories like Benghazi and the text messages of FBI agent Peter Strzok. Either he does not know the definition of the word "irony," or he really is the most cynical politician in Washington.

McConnell's words bring to mind Scott Walker's Twitter freakout last spring after Wisconsinites elected a liberal state supreme court judge for the first time in two decades. The governor got online and pleaded with his followers not to let the left's "anger & hatred" overwhelm their "optimism & organization." He may have believed this plea would be enough to save him, but they weren't: he lost his bid for a third term and his party was wiped out on the state level, giving Democrats the most power they've had there in decades.  

The "ratio" is an unofficial rule of social media meaning the more replies and retweets a tweet gets than likes, the worse that tweet has been received. Since McConnell's office tweeted out the op-ed, as of this morning that tweet has had a combined 45,000 replies and retweets, as opposed to only 8600 likes, a ratio giving CNN reporter Chris Cillizza a run for his money. Some of the responses have been particularly savage:

McConnell may have been re-elected as Majority Leader this morning, but he can't be so blind to his own hypocrisy that he doesn't see the writing on the wall. Although he said the American people "prefer that Congress focus on making a difference," voters made it clear last week that that difference is a future without Republicans like him in leadership positions. And while he may be so cynical that he does not care how he will go down in history, outraged citizens seem to have rendered that judgment for him. Hopefully, they remember it when they go to the polls in 2020. 

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