Most politicians are hypocrites—finger-wagging, head-shaking, arm-waiving, hyperbolic hypocrites of one ilk or another. But, for the most part, there's always been a certain level of decorum associated with the two-facedness so often displayed in Washington. It was always there, this pervasive, self-rationalizing brand of rule-bending. Both sides have spent decades exhibiting duplicitous behavior under the eye of party/donor allegiance.
Even so, the election of Donald Trump has unleashed a new and exquisitely sinister version of Mitch McConnell. This version, fresh from the black lodge of minority-party politics, has no regard for the public, the rest of the federal government, or the past.
Here's a few McConnell classics:
In 2013, the Senate, under the leadership of Harry Reid, passed the "nuclear option," which made it possible to approve presidential nominees (sans Supreme Court nominees) with only a simple majority (51 votes) rather than the previous super-majority (60 votes).
Mitch McConnell was not a fan of the maneuver saying,“I think it’s a time to be sad about what has been done to the United States Senate.”
And yet, this April, McConnell used Reid's move as a springboard and went nuclear in order to approve Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch with a simple majority. He doubled-down on what he said was previously destroying the Senate.
McConnell was deeply troubled by the Democrats blocking Neil Gorsuch, the GOP Supreme Court nominee back in January, saying that the move was "something the American people simply will not tolerate."
But a year prior it was McConnell who led the obstruction campaign against President Obama's Supreme Court nominee saying in plain, direct language, "this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."
When Obama asked for an up or down vote on said Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, McConnell opposed it.
A few years prior, however, he said this:
While these actions are undoubtedly soaked in hypocrisy, his maneuvering around the new GOP healthcare bill have taken things to another level entirely.
Here's what McConnell said about Obamacare in 2010. Before you watch, it's important to mention that there were hundreds of meetings, discussions, and hearings on Obamacare, and over 160 Republican amendments. There has been a grand total of zero meetings, discussions, hearings and Democratic amendments on the GOP bill, which they are hoping to pass next week.
Here are two diametrically-opposed McConnell statements uncovered by the Washington Post:
March 27, 2010:
“In one of the most divisive legislative debates in modern history, Democrats decided to go the partisan route and blatantly ignore the will of the people.”
June 13, 2017:
“Unfortunately, it will have to be a Republicans-only exercise. But we’re working hard to get there.”
Aside from 13 GOP senators, there is no one on this sphere who knows what the newest version of this bill looks like. The prior version was polling at 21% last month and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would leave and estimated 23 million more Americans without health insurance by 2026. What sort of distorted logic would lead one to believe that ramming this bill (a bill which would impact 1/6th of our economy) through in secrecy is honoring the will of the people?
Mitch McConnell claimed that the number one priority of the Republican party after the 2008 election was “making sure Obama was a one-term president.” It wasn’t about helping the people of the United States or finding common ground, it was about obstructing and defaming. Now, six months after Obama finished his second term, McConnell is still all about dismantling his legacy by any means necessary. If that means crafting a bill entirely behind closed doors and forcing it through the Senate before his own party, the Democrats, or the public get to see the it, he’s fine with that.
McConnell thought the Democrats set unconstitutional precedents, and he’s now making their maneuvering look like uncommitted child’s play.
Previously published on The Overgrown.