Good Riddance, Leader McConnell

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maestrob
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Good Riddance, Leader McConnell

Post by maestrob » Tue Jan 19, 2021 2:04 pm

The judgment of history will be damning.


By Jennifer Senior
Opinion Columnist

Jan. 19, 2021, 5:00 a.m. ET

So tell me, Mitch, in these, your final hours as Senate majority leader: Were the judges and the tax cuts worth it?

Were they worth the sacking of the Capitol? The annexation of the Republican Party by the paranoiacs and the delusional? The degradation, possibly irremediable, of democracy itself?

Those close to him say that Mitch McConnell has his eye on his legacy, now more than ever. But I wonder whether he already understands, in some back bay of his brain where the gears haven’t been ground to nubs, that history will not treat him well.

McConnell may think that the speech he gave on the Senate floor on Jan. 6, objecting to the election deniers, will spare him history’s judgment. It will not. It did not make him a hero. It simply made him a responsible citizen.

If McConnell ultimately votes to convict Donald Trump in his second Senate impeachment trial — he has suggested he’s open to the idea — that won’t make him a hero, either. He will simply have done the right thing and likely not for the right reasons: As Alec MacGillis makes plain in his excellent book “The Cynic,” Mitch McConnell never does anything unless it serves the interests of Mitch McConnell.

Which is why McConnell made his unholy alliance with Donald Trump in the first place. By his own admission, McConnell plays “the long game” (it’s the name of his memoir, in fact). He’s methodical in his scheming, awaiting his spoils with the patience of a cat. So if hitching his wagon to a sub-literate mob boss with a fondness for white supremacists and a penchant for conspiracy theories and a sociopath’s smirking disregard for the truth meant getting those tax cuts and those conservative judges … hey, that’s the cost of doing business, right?

Isn’t it?

Well. Live by the mob, die by the mob. That’s what happened on Jan. 6.

What “long game” McConnell had failed to foresee: The problem was coming from inside the House. And the Senate. A quarter of his caucus helped fuel that siege by cynically disputing the results of a fair election. All that staring into the distance came at the expense of McConnell’s peripheral vision. He was now outflanked on his right.

Yet it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Anyone who’s spent any time watching Republican congressional politics over the last quarter century has witnessed this phenomenon time and time again: A Republican leader, once hailed as a fire-spewing Komodo dragon, suddenly finds himself under attack from even more blistering fire-breathers within his ranks.

It happened to John Boehner, who came of age as an anti-establishment radical but lived out his days as speaker of the House under the implicit and sometimes explicit threat of a party coup. (He resigned his post in 2015 and eventually went into the weed business.) Years earlier, it happened to Bob Dole, who was known early in his Senate career as “Darth Vader” and “Aya-Dole-ah” and ended it as a befuddled majority leader, exasperated by all the proto-Gingriches who’d suddenly appeared in his midst.

For years now, the Republican Party has been radicalizing at a furious rate, moving rightward at a far faster clip than the Democrats have moved to the left. Political scientists even have a term for it: “asymmetrical polarization.” How we got to this frightening pass is complicated, but chief among the reasons is that the G.O.P. has been on a decades-long campaign to delegitimize government. Run against it long enough, and eventually you have a party that wants to burn the system to the ground.

McConnell, now on his seventh term, has been cynical and power-hungry enough to keep up with his party’s rightward lurch at every step.

When Republicans embraced the Southern Strategy, deciding that racial resentment — if not hatred — would power their rocket to the majority? No problem. His dalliance with the civil rights movement was only a youthful fling.

When the Republicans made their pact with social conservatives and evangelicals, realizing that pro-business policies couldn’t capture a majority’s imagination? No problem. He abandoned his support for abortion. (Yes, McConnell was once pro-choice.)

When anti-tax sentiment overtook the party’s desire to contain the deficit? No problem. He loved tax cuts, loved business, loved the rich (read Jane Mayer’s knockout McConnell profile from April for details about all the thumbs he has in moneyed pies).

When preserving power prerogatives overtook his party’s concerns about the former Soviet Union? No problem. McConnell refused to hear out warnings about Russian interference until weeks before the 2016 election (at which point he buried them), and he refused to consider bipartisan legislation that would attempt to curb foreign meddling until he earned himself the moniker “Moscow Mitch.”

When his party went from free trade to nativist populism, powered by xenophobia and racist resentment? Not a problem. He’d side with the populists, including their dangerous Dear Leader, until his workplace was overrun, five people were dead and the Constitution itself was among the critically injured.

It was only a matter of time before members of McConnell’s own caucus began to align themselves with — and inflame — the insurrectionist hordes. They were just doing what McConnell has done his whole political career: lunging at opportunities to serve their own political ends.

“They saw all of this behavior in McConnell,” the political scientist Norman J. Ornstein told me. “The ends-justify-the-means philosophy, the focus on winning over governing, the willingness to blow up every norm in the Senate and the political process.”

The mercenary focus on winning makes McConnell similar to someone else in his party, too: Donald J. Trump.

And power is really all the old-school G.O.P. has to cling to. Its philosophy of sharply limited government and free enterprise has never had enough appeal to win over a true majority. Staying in power required voter suppression, gerrymandering, the Electoral College, oceans of money.

McConnell has worked indefatigably to defend them all — and to make sure the Democratic agenda never succeeds. His dirtiest maneuver was to let a Supreme Court seat sit empty for a year, rather than allow Barack Obama to fill it. But his obstructionist warfare stretches back much further than that. While minority leader, he either threatened or made use of the filibuster at every turn; once he got control of the chamber, he still brought very little legislation to the floor.

And we wonder why voters in 2016 turned to a know-nothing vulgarian who promised to blow the place up.

McConnell is not an enabler. He’s a ringleader, as responsible for the politics of destruction — which has morphed from a metaphorical to a literal description in the last two weeks — as Trump himself.

If McConnell is truly concerned with how history views him, he should spend his waning Senate years actually doing things. Drumming up support to convict a dangerous former president. Allowing popular legislation to come to the floor regardless of which party initiated it or holds the reins. Imagining a world whose borders stretch beyond his brutish, small-minded self.

Being a leader, just once.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/19/opin ... e=Homepage

Rach3
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Re: Good Riddance, Leader McConnell

Post by Rach3 » Tue Jan 19, 2021 3:10 pm

Brilliant article. “ Limited government and free enterprise “ have not been viewed by the GOP or Right as a solution to problems , but rather as a means of “ preservation of economic and cultural privilege “ disguised by a less offensive credo.The Trump years are the ultimate proof.

maestrob
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Re: Good Riddance, Leader McConnell

Post by maestrob » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:44 am

Rach3 wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 3:10 pm
Brilliant article. “ Limited government and free enterprise “ have not been viewed by the GOP or Right as a solution to problems , but rather as a means of “ preservation of economic and cultural privilege “ disguised by a less offensive credo.The Trump years are the ultimate proof.
Precisely. Their goal has been to rule, and damn the consequences as long as they could stay in power. Some members of the Republican party now in Congress are even willing to scrap the Constitution (although they say that only in whispers to each other: wink-wink, nod-nod!), and many Republican voters now support even that extreme option rather than give up their "philosophy" of how life should be lived.

That chill in my spine took root there one evening when Bill Maher played a video excerpt of a room-sized Trump gathering when a woman took the microphone and stated openly, "If we have to have a Dictator, it should be a man like Donald Trump!" The applause at the rally that followed was quite deafening.

Maher's audience sat silently after seeing this, shocked out of their wits, as was I.

jserraglio
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Re: Good Riddance, Leader McConnell

Post by jserraglio » Wed Jan 20, 2021 10:43 am

Come on, the path to a semi-permanent Dem majority, such as the one that ran from 1932-1952, runs straight thru Mitch McConnell. He should be given all the tools he needs to neutralize the fascist fringe of his own party.

His statement calling out Trump by name was huge.

maestrob
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Re: Good Riddance, Leader McConnell

Post by maestrob » Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:00 am

jserraglio wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 10:43 am
Come on, the path to a semi-permanent Dem majority, such as the one that ran from 1932-1952, runs straight thru Mitch McConnell. He should be given all the tools he needs to neutralize the fascist fringe of his own party.

His statement calling out Trump by name was huge.
Sure.

McConnell was Trump's primary enabler for too long, and now it's finally dawned on him that he will be remembered as such unless he acts quickly before he must retire. He's already 80. Not much time left.

Even if the Republican party breaks up, McConnell is now trying to save his own image, after selling his self-deluded soul for so long.

jserraglio
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Re: Good Riddance, Leader McConnell

Post by jserraglio » Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:42 am

maestrob wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:00 am
McConnell is now trying to save his own image, after selling his self-deluded soul for so long.
At the Crucifixion, one of the two robbers repented.

maestrob
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Re: Good Riddance, Leader McConnell

Post by maestrob » Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:16 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:42 am
maestrob wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:00 am
McConnell is now trying to save his own image, after selling his self-deluded soul for so long.
At the Crucifixion, one of the two robbers repented.
Any idea if it helped his case at the Pearly Gates? :mrgreen:

jserraglio
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Re: Good Riddance, Leader McConnell

Post by jserraglio » Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:21 pm

maestrob wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:16 pm
jserraglio wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:42 am
maestrob wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:00 am
McConnell is now trying to save his own image, after selling his self-deluded soul for so long.
At the Crucifixion, one of the two robbers repented.
Any idea if it helped his case at the Pearly Gates?
I do. Jesus said unto him, ‘Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise’.

maestrob
Posts: 9486
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Good Riddance, Leader McConnell

Post by maestrob » Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:27 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:21 pm
maestrob wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:16 pm
jserraglio wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:42 am
maestrob wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:00 am
McConnell is now trying to save his own image, after selling his self-deluded soul for so long.
At the Crucifixion, one of the two robbers repented.
Any idea if it helped his case at the Pearly Gates?
I do. Jesus said unto him, ‘Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise’.
Ah, so!

Maybe that's why Mike Pence & "Mom" went to Mass with Joe Biden this morning? :wink:

jserraglio
Posts: 7301
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Good Riddance, Leader McConnell

Post by jserraglio » Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:40 pm

maestrob wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:27 pm
jserraglio wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:21 pm
maestrob wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:16 pm
jserraglio wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:42 am
maestrob wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:00 am
McConnell is now trying to save his own image, after selling his self-deluded soul for so long.
At the Crucifixion, one of the two robbers repented.
Any idea if it helped his case at the Pearly Gates?
I do. Jesus said unto him, ‘Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise’.
Ah, so!

Maybe that's why Mike Pence & "Mom" went to Mass with Joe Biden this morning? 😉
The Jesus Movement has trumped a bunch of others, not excepting the Donald Movement.

Today what’s not to like about Mike?

barney
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Good Riddance, Leader McConnell

Post by barney » Wed Jan 20, 2021 8:43 pm

Yes, since Trump washed his hands of him, Pence has acted with integrity and dignity. Just four years too late.

maestrob
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Good Riddance, Leader McConnell

Post by maestrob » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:56 am

barney wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 8:43 pm
Yes, since Trump washed his hands of him, Pence has acted with integrity and dignity. Just four years too late.
That was yesterday.

I still think gutless Pence, if he would have had the courage to invoke the 25th Amendment on January 7, would have had a better place in history.

Rach3
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Re: Good Riddance, Leader McConnell

Post by Rach3 » Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:42 pm

McConnell is already attempting to deny Dems , and America, the results of the 2020 election by insisting on preservation of the 60 vote override filibuster as a condition to Dems ability to seat new members on several Congressional committees ,thereby preserving GOP majorities on those committees until Dems cave on the filibuster. After Trump lost by 7m votes, and Dems represent districts with 41m more Americans than GOP does, McConnell wants Dems to have to get 60 votes to pass legislation, not 51, and already Confederate Dem.Senator Joe Manchin agrees with McConnell.

We’re going to need a bigger jail.

maestrob
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Good Riddance, Leader McConnell

Post by maestrob » Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:43 am

Rach3 wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:42 pm
McConnell is already attempting to deny Dems , and America, the results of the 2020 election by insisting on preservation of the 60 vote override filibuster as a condition to Dems ability to seat new members on several Congressional committees ,thereby preserving GOP majorities on those committees until Dems cave on the filibuster. After Trump lost by 7m votes, and Dems represent districts with 41m more Americans than GOP does, McConnell wants Dems to have to get 60 votes to pass legislation, not 51, and already Confederate Dem.Senator Joe Manchin agrees with McConnell.

We’re going to need a bigger jail.
8) :lol:

McConnell has been quoted as saying recently, "The American people have spoken."

So why isn't he listening?

If Republicans in the Senate can successfully block legislation they will then blame Democrats for not accomplishing anything, just like they did with Obama.

This is how democracy dies, not, as DJT envisioned, with a bang, but with a whimper.

No such thing as the filibuster existed until after the Civil War, when segregationist Southern states invented it to protect the illegal policies that suppressed their Black populations during Jim Crow.

Some things never change, do they?

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