Crushing His Opposition

A very quick post on GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in light of today’s unconditional surrender by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the emergency border appropriations bill on the precipice of passage by Congress. By no means was this bill some boondoggle for the Republican Party or conservatives, it was a bipartisan effort by both parties in the Senate, where it passed 84-8. Pelosi – who appears to have lost control of both the left wing of her caucus (which opposed a more liberal border relief bill passed by the House) and the moderate wing (which was content with the Senate bill being approved) – was put in a major bind by McConnell’s (and the Senate’s) ability to find common ground on a pressing issue (when she struggled to find the same within just her own party). And so the Senate bill will become law without any input from the House.

This is yet another example of how Mitch McConnell has become the most important man in Washington. Somehow, the first Democratic debate focused as much on “Cocaine Mitch” (a bemusing moniker based on an accusation by a McConnell political opponent suggesting he was responsible for cocaine trafficking) as it did on Donald Trump. While such prominence of a politician elected only by Kentuckians may be a bit confusing for non-politicos, Leader McConnell has become a top tier bugaboo of the American left. Since his elevation to the head of the Senate in 2014, McConnell has: (a) tanked the Merrick Garland nomination to the Supreme Court; (b) galvanized the right about the prospect of “saving” the Supreme Court from an Obama/HRC appointment, probably the single factor most responsible for President Donald Trump’s election; (c) engineered a successful passage of the Trump tax cuts/reforms in a closely-divided Senate during late 2017; (d) successfully shepherded two Trump Supreme Court nominees (including the divisive Brett Kavanaugh); (e) engineered dramatic changes to federal appellate courts by securing the confirmation of nearly as many Trump-nominated appellate judges in 2.5 years as were appointed by Barack Obama in 8 years; (f) changed Senate rules to facilitate Trump’s filling of a substantial number of open district court judgeships and other executive branch positions; (g) destroyed the efforts of Steve Bannon to radicalize the GOP through a “new breed” of right-wing populist Senate nominees (a breed that would have done clownishly poorly at the ballot box, as evidenced by the catastrophic Roy Moore campaign); and (h) overseen a GOP gain of two Senate seats in 2018 despite a horrendous political environment (the map was admittedly favorable to the right, but McConnell’s apparatus won a number of highly-contested races despite a blue wave). Literally the only black mark against McConnell which can be identified since 2014 was his failure to procure the 50 votes needed to repeal much of Obamacare (McConnell’s position lost by a single vote).

Roughly five years into his term as Senate Majority Leader, Democrats are finally figuring out that, to enact any semblance of their preferred agenda, they will need to sideline Mitch McConnell. Based on McConnell’s record, the party of the left is going to need all the luck it can find.