Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) simply doesn’t care what you think about him.
With raw power being the only currency that he recognizes, the Senate GOP leader revels in his ability — even in a minority position — to control the Senate agenda, if only by the fact that any significant, non-budget-related legislation needs at least 10 votes from his caucus to become law and that’s only if the fractious Democrats remain unanimous.
So it was no surprise when Senator McConnell not only reveled in his past obstructionism but vowed to continue his constitutionally suspect practice of refusing to even consider confirming a Supreme Court nominee nominated by a Democratic president during their last months in office, despite ramming through Trump’s Federalist Society-approved nominee Amy Coney Barrett in the final weeks before the 2020 elections.
McConnell revealed his unrepentant stance during an interview with right-wing radio provocateur Hugh Hewitt who praised the Republican leader for his advancement of conservative values at the expense of representative democracy in his judicial strategy.
“The court and the Constitution would be in quicksand up to its neck if you had not taken the position you took five years ago and we do not have the court that we do today, where we’re looking forward and not in fear at decisions this year and next,” Hewitt told McConnell.
The Senate Minority Leader basked in Hewitt’s obsequious flattery.
“I do think the issue you raised is the single most consequential thing that I’ve done in my time as majority leader in the Senate,” McConnell responded.
Optimistically envisioning a return to GOP control of the Senate after the 2022 elections, Hewitt wondered whether McConnell would be willing to repeat his audacious nominee blocking a second time.
“Would the rule that you applied in 2016 to the Scalia vacancy apply in 2024 to any vacancy that occurred?” Hewitt asked the Senate leader.
“Well, I think if in the middle of a presidential election, you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to the last time a vacancy was filled,” McConnell replied. “I think it’s highly unlikely — in fact, no, I don’t think either party if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election.”
McConnell then attributed his hypocritical decision to ram Barrett’s nomination through to confirmation in the final days before the 2020 election to simply politics as usual.
“We were of the same party as the president,” he noted. “That’s why we went ahead with it.”
— The Recount (@therecount) June 14, 2021
The chattering class on Twitter responded to McConnell’s brazen partisanship not so much by condemning his reprehensible rejection of the principle of majority rule but by using his comments as a warning to Democrats still enamored of the filibuster as a venerable Senate tradition.
Because Manchin and Sinema https://t.co/UcTuzyz04H. filled their pockets with the same money that bought Mitch McConnell; Kevin McCarthy and the rest of the GQP.
Money talks and the politicians toe-the-line just like they were paid to.
— Toiréasa Wren (@ToireasaB) June 14, 2021
— Okkie Tenggala (@okkie48) June 14, 2021
McConnell is so confident of Dem incompetence/cowardice that he's openly boasting about his plans to steal Breyer's seat https://t.co/ws6xPropRX
— ryan cooper (@ryanlcooper) June 14, 2021
Few have done more to betray their country and embolden a hostile foreign enemy of the United States than Mitch McConnell. Until this criminal is held accountable, he will continue to do what he does best – wage war on America’s democracy. https://t.co/Pk6vFentUc
— Alexandra Chalupa (@AlexandraChalup) June 14, 2021
almost as if McConnell is signaling to Breyer and Democrats that they'd better hurry if they want to fill the seat themselves https://t.co/cQm5lhEOav
— Christian Vanderbrouk (@UrbanAchievr) June 14, 2021
I’m sure McConnell has some complex explanation of how this is consistent with US democratic norms, but the simple one: that elections only confer the right to pick Supreme Court justices on Republican Presidents. is the simplest and most accurate one https://t.co/jXPMVKeZd4
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) June 14, 2021
With the GOP Senate leader explaining that he has no interest in doing anything besides obstructing any agenda to the left of ultra-right-wing ideology, Democrats must stop their useless attempts at bipartisanship and play under the same winner-takes-all rules that the Republicans use when they hold the levers of power.
It’s time to eliminate the filibuster and enact the agenda that the majority of Americans want to see enacted.
The best revenge against McConnell’s usurpation of power is to simply render him powerless.
Original reporting by David Edwards at RawStory.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's 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.