Mitch McConnell: a Republican First an American Second
This is what the entire party has come to. And it’s not just Democrats like me who are saying this but John McCain’s 2008 campaign manager:
“Joining MSNBC’s Brian Williams Wednesday night, former John McCain 2008 campaign staffer & MSNBC “GOP strategist” Steve Schmidt said that Republicans who support President Trump have become “faithless to their oaths” and suggested some members of the GOP like Senators Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse, Richard Burr, and John McCain might be forced to support the Democrats in 2018 on grounds of “national security.”
“Any Republican member of Congress who takes the president, his spokespeople’s assertions that [Comey was fired] because he was unfair to Hillary Clinton is either a fool, or they have so lost sight in this era of tribal politics, of their responsibilities to the country, that they have become faithless to their oaths,” Schmidt said about the president’s memo detailing his reasons for firing FBI director James Comey.
“Schmidt next refers to this tweet from longtime chief of staff to Sen. John McCain, Mark Salter, suggesting that “the security of the United States might now depend on electing a Democratic Congress in 2018.”
Faithless to their oaths, lost sight of their responsibilities to the country.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about Mitch McConnell. After the big Washington Post scoop on the Obama WH’s efforts to fight back against Russia’s interference prior to the election, some are criticizing Obama himself.
I mean I think you can criticize Obama for after McConnell refused to do a bipartisan statement not doing one without McConnell but…
— mike sax (@mikesaxny2) June 23, 2017
I mean I do agree that Obama deserves criticism for not making a statement without McConnell after McConnell shamefully put his party before the country and the integrity of our election system itself.
Obama should have made a statement without Mitch McConnell’s cooperation. That he did not was an error in judgement. But McConnell’s refusal to cooperate is something worse than Obama’s error of judgement.
Obama was acting in good faith. Just that somehow, after eight years of McConnell’s obstruction he still believed in his own illusions of ‘post partisan America.’
Please understand-Obama was a great President. But this was always something of a blindspot for him. Even after McConnell’s clear and systematic treachery and obstruction over eight years he still had this abiding illusion that something called ‘post partisan America’ was about to breakout.
1. In 2009 as the economy reeled from the worst recession since the Great Depression, Mitch McConnell’s top priority was not beating the recession but beating Obama.
Very cynically, McConnell reasoned that even if GOP obstruction slowed down the recovery, Obama as the President and his party would get the blame-as Americans give the President magical powers over the economy while the Constitution gives him powers that are greatly limited.
Ultimately, McConnell’s cynical gambit worked and the GOP won big electoral victories in 2010, 2014 and finally 2016.
2. In 2011 the GOP forced an unprecedented game of debt ceiling chicken where they threatened to allow the U.S. to default on its debt if they didn’t get concessions. Obama-alas-negotiated with them and they got concessions, though Obama did learn his lesson and never do so again. He did learn to call their bluff.
Anyway after that embarrassing farce was over-embarrassing us in front of the world-what did McConnell have to say? I learned that the debt ceiling is a hostage always worth ransoming.
3. Keeping up his record as a pioneer in sociopathic tribalism and obstruction he refused in 2016 to even hold Senate hearings for Merrick Garland, Obama’s replacement for Antonin Scalia. McConnell-as is typical-absurdly tried to come up with some principled explanation-No SJC picks in an election year-that, of course, didn’t even pass the laugh test.
There was some attempt to claim otherwise but examples of Dems refusing in an election year to hold hearings doesn’t exist. There are cases of Democrats opposing nominees in the election year and voting against them-but that’s because there was an actual hearing.
4. Despite 1-3 one could still be forgiven for presuming that in an actual attack on our democratic system of government by a hostile foreign power, McConnell might take off his partisan blinders. However, you’d be wrong. Partisanship stops at the water’s edge? Not for Mitch McConnell they don’t.
Then entire GOP went party over country:
“On Aug. 15, Johnson arranged a conference call with dozens of state officials, hoping to enlist their support. He ran into a wall of resistance.”
The reaction “ranged from neutral to negative,” Johnson said in congressional testimony Wednesday.
Brian Kemp, the Republican secretary of state of Georgia, used the call to denounce Johnson’s proposal as an assault on state rights. “I think it was a politically calculated move by the previous administration,” Kemp said in a recent interview, adding that he remains unconvinced that Russia waged a campaign to disrupt the 2016 race. “I don’t necessarily believe that,” he said.
“Stung by the reaction, the White House turned to Congress for help, hoping that a bipartisan appeal to states would be more effective.”
“In early September, JohnsonJeh JohnsonHomeland security secretary. Johnson is tasked with securing voting systems and arranges meetings with dozens of state officials., ComeyJames B. ComeyFBI director appointed by Obama. Comey was one of four senior officials to participate in meetings in the Situation Room on how to respond to Russia’s interference. Comey particpates in a briefing for members of Congress on Russia’s activities, but the meeting disolves into partisan bickering. and MonacoLisa MonacoHomeland security adviser. Monaco briefs key members of Congress on the intelligence. arrived on Capitol Hill in a caravan of black SUVs for a meeting with 12 key members of Congress, including the leadership of both parties.”
“The meeting devolved into a partisan squabble.”
“The Dems were, ‘Hey, we have to tell the public,’ ” recalled one participant. But Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system.
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went further, officials said, voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims. Through a spokeswoman, McConnell declined to comment, citing the secrecy of that meeting.’
“A week later, McConnell and other congressional leaders issued a cautious statement that encouraged state election officials to ensure their networks were “secure from attack.” The release made no mention of Russia and emphasized that the lawmakers “would oppose any effort by the federal government” to encroach on the states’ authorities.”
Oppose any effort by the federal government to encourage on state authorities. In other words, even while McConnell offered a very cautious statement, he also tied the government’s hands in its ability to do anything about it.
It’s a real problem but we must insist that the police don’t violate the rights of any of the criminals in the investigation.
Paul Waldman sums it up well:
“How Democratic timidity may have helped Trump get elected.”
Agreed though the other side of the coin is GOP tribalist hyperpartisanship.
Obama’s failure was a failure in judgment-‘post partisan America.’
McConnell’s was a moral failure-‘party before country.’
“What comes through again and again is that the Obama administration was terrified of looking partisan or doing anything that might seem like it was putting a thumb on the scale of the election, and the result was paralysis. This is a manifestation of what some years ago I began calling the Audacity Gap.”
“Democrats are forever worried about whether they might be criticized, whether Republicans will be mean to them, whether they might look as though they’re being partisan, and whether they might be subjected to a round of stern editorials. Republicans, on the other hand, just don’t care. What they’re worried about is winning, and they don’t let the kinds of criticism that frightens Democrats impede them. It makes Republicans the party of “Yes we can,” while Democrats are the party of “Maybe we shouldn’t.”
Yes and the problem with the Dems always taking the high road is that the GOP is rewarded for its sociopathic violation of norms. However, the Dems have been learning and are doing much better since Trump won.
The ultimate disaster of Trump may take the GOP down with him. Then they may finally find the incentive to get back to observing norms again.
Also in that big Post expose: James Comey strikes again:
“On Oct. 7, the administration offered its first public comment on Russia’s “active measures,” in a three-paragraph statement issued by JohnsonJeh JohnsonHomeland security secretary. Johnson is tasked with securing voting systems and arranges meetings with dozens of state officials.and ClapperJames R. ClapperDirector of national intelligence and one of four senior administration officials to participate in meetings in of the Situation Room on how to retaliate against Russia. Clapper would eventually release the Obama administration’s first statement concluding Russia interfered in the election.. ComeyJames B. ComeyFBI director appointed by Obama. Comey was one of four senior officials to participate in meetings in the Situation Room on how to respond to Russia’s interference. Comey particpates in a briefing for members of Congress on Russia’s activities, but the meeting disolves into partisan bickering. had initially agreed to attach his name, as well, officials said, but changed his mind at the last minute, saying that it was too close to the election for the bureau to be involved.”
Too close to the election?! Sometimes I think they’ve got to be trolling us.
P.S. So the Gravis poll against Peter King NY2 and it has good news-almost too good to believe.
In my March poll I trailed King by 11 and thought that was very good news. Now Gravis has me up by 10? Still, the moment of truth is next week when Gravis writes up the press release.
I can use any help I can get at this point-volunteers or supporters who live in NY 2. Donations whatever your zip code. These days we can’t just support a local Dem we need a Dem Congress. Which is why I’ve donated few hundred to Jon Ossoff.
Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House-$5 or $10 can do so much.
If you feel that you can’t I, of course, understand-who is rich these days? But please do me one favor: ask yourself privately, mentally, if you really can’t spare $5 dollars. If you can honestly say you can’t, no worries.
We can have a Dem Congress, we must have a Dem Cogress, and we will.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.