It’s difficult to see the levers of power, once tightly gripped by your gnarled fists, dissolve into sand and slip between the leathery skin of your panicked, grasping fingers.
Just ask Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
The scourge of the Democratic agenda — who has been fiercely committed to obstructing the passage of any legislation favored by the opposition party since the moment President Barack Obama took office — is throwing a major hissy fit now that Democrats have found the cojones to consider altering Senate rules for the filibuster to make it more difficult for the former Senate Majority Leader to block progressive legislation.
McConnell threatened today that the Republican Party would take a “scorched earth” policy if Democrats dared to use filibuster reform to pass a voting rights bill that would prevent state GOP officials from using voter suppression techniques to make it more difficult for progressive-leaning voters to cast their ballots.
One has to wonder how what McConnell is suggesting his party will do is any different than his reactionary behavior for the past 10 years when he used his majority powers to prevent the passage of any major legislative initiatives outside of a $1.9 trillion tax break giveaway to billionaires and the confirmation of right-wing, Federalist Society-approved judges.
Still, after Georgia voting rights activist Stacey Abrams — whose efforts to increase voter turnout in her state were largely responsible for McConnell’s demotion to Minority Leader — announced her support for exempting the voting rights bill from the dangers of a filibuster, the Kentucky Republican was out there making threats that exceed his ability to follow through effectively once the preemptive powers of the filibuster are ended or diluted.
“Some Democrats believe this would be a tidy tradeoff if they could just break the rules on a razor-thin majority,” McConnell moaned. “That’s not what would happen. So let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues. Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like.”
“Everything Senate Democrats did to Bush and Trump, everything the Republican Senate did to President Obama would be child’s play compared to the disaster the Democrats would create for their own priorities if they break the Senate,” McConnell continued, painting a scenario that makes the apocalypse seem tame by comparison. “Even the most basic aspects of our colleagues’ agenda, the most mundane tasks of the Biden presidency would actually be harder — not easier — for Democrats in a post-nuclear Senate.”
It’s still difficult to discern how these threats differ significantly than business as usual for the man known as “the Grim Reaper of the Senate” because of his penchant for allowing most of the significant bills passed by the Democratic House of Representatives to die a swift death of strangulation by refusing to even bring them up for consideration in the Senate.
McConnell’s distaste for being in the minority was apparent from the deluded fantasies of a future GOP majority that he dreamed of as he warned of the consequences for Democrats if they changed the rules.
“As soon as Republicans wound up back in the saddle, we wouldn’t just erase every liberal change that hurt the country, we’d strengthen America with all kinds of conservative policies with zero input from the other side,” he insisted. “How about this? Nationwide right to work for working Americans. Defunding Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities on day one. A whole new era of domestic energy production. Sweeping new protections for conscience and the right to life of the unborn. Concealed carry reciprocity in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Massive hardening of security on the southern border.”
Having laid out his evil supervillain agenda, McConnell must be hoping that Democrats don’t call his bluff.
If the voting rights bill is enacted — via the end or modification of the Senate filibuster or not —the chances of Republicans regaining a majority on the national stage after the harm that President Pestilence inflicted on the nation are slim in a truly free and fair election.
Let Senator McConnell bleat away all he wants. Senate Democrats can and should simply ignore his pathetic and impotent warnings as the cries of a wounded elephant with terminal sclerosis and proceed with restoring American democracy to its full potential.
Original reporting by David Edwards at RawStory.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.