Mitch McConnell has been telling his fellow Republican senators that if Donald Trump gets the GOP presidential nomination they will be able to successfully distance themselves from him. As McConnell put it: "We'll drop him like a hot rock." Our own Kerry Eleveld has more on this effort here.
Here's the thing: McConnell is Trump. His actions as the Republican leader in the Senate are nothing other than the application of Trumpism in the halls of Congress. The essence of Trump is that he wants to blow up the system, that he'll let nothing stand in the way of achieving the goals he defines. For Trump, the ends justify the means. So he'll simply ban the entry of all Muslims into the United States, or he'll talk about wanting to punch a protester in the face at one of his rallies, to list just two of the many extreme things he's done and proposed doing.
Sen. McConnell's outright dismissal of President Obama's putative Supreme Court nominee is no less extreme. He says the American people should decide in November who should make that nomination. Of course, the people did decide in 2012 to give the president a four-year term. Furthermore, after the American people in 2008 swept Barack Obama into office in a landslide, and gave the Democratic Party the biggest congressional majorities in decades, did McConnell say, "well, the American people have spoken"? Do I really need to answer that? As we know, he immediately began obstructing:
Before the health care fight, before the economic stimulus package, before President Obama even took office, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader, had a strategy for his party: use his extensive knowledge of Senate procedure to slow things down, take advantage of the difficulties Democrats would have in governing and deny Democrats any Republican support on big legislation.
McConnell has been obstructing President Obama from the start. It certainly didn't begin with the passing of Antonin Scalia. This obstruction reflects a fundamental rejection of the legitimacy of the Obama presidency, of his governing authority. It is a rejection of democracy itself. Talk about extreme.
Sen. McConnell only wants to distance himself from Trump because he's afraid of losses at the ballot box. But distancing himself and his Republican Senate colleagues from Trumpism is impossible, because even the Donald would have a hard time out-Trumping the unprecedented, extreme tactics Mitch McConnell and his party have employed over the past seven-plus years.