John Hickenlooper Will Be President Of Being Nice To Mitch McConnell, OK Nope
Your white male Democrat of a certain age desperately wishes it was still the 1990s. Who knows why. "Will & Grace" is back on the air, so there's no real need to dwell in the past. Regardless, moderates insist that the problem with our fractious, dysfunctional politics is that we don't "work across the aisle" enough and put "people before party." This is naive gobbledy-gook, and the latest Democrat to spout it is John Hickenlooper.
The former Colorado governor launched his presidential campaign today and during an interview with George Stephanopoulos, he outlined his Mary Sunshine platform.
STEPHANOPOULOS: "You're elected president, you come in... Mitch McConnell is still the head of the Senate. [Republicans] still have the majority. What's the first thing you do with him?"
HICKENLOOPER: "I would go to Mitch McConnell, to his office, and I would sit down with him and say, 'Now, what is the issue again?' and we would talk...Sounds silly right? But this works."
He's right: This is silly. Lampshading the silliness doesn't make it any less goofy. There's also literally zero evidence that this works. Hickenlooper sounds like the Vulcan elder in an old "Star Trek" who thought he could negotiate with some of the worst villains in history. He goes off alone and unarmed to meet with them for some "bipartisanship" in space. Later, all we hear is his anguished screams.
Back in 2008, Barack Obama was the "hope and change" candidate who was supposedly going to "fix" Washington. He was a post-partisan president who'd work across the aisle. Republicans simultaneously laughed and spat in his face. They strategized literally on the night he was inaugurated on how best to obstruct him at every turn. Mitch McConnell himself declared the GOP's top priority was to make Obama a "one-term" president.
See, if you run on a positive, "Get Along Gang" platform, it's very easy for your political opponents to deny you any measurable success. They just have to refuse to work with you and later, morons in the media will gleefully point out that you failed to "end the partisan divide." We're not suggesting that anyone follow the political example of Donald Trump, but it's worth pointing out that his entire campaign was about making liberals miserable and he has delivered in abundance. No matter how many of his personal lawyers or campaign managers are indicted, Trump can still keep his bigoted supporters happy with a healthy dose of liberal tears.
McConnell is a crawling piece of slime whom history will show single-handedly broke democracy. There's as much sense in boasting of your supposed ability to work with this sentient toe jam as there is in suggesting Mike Pence is a "decent guy." Has Hickenlooper been in a coma for the past decade? If so, let's take him on quick trip though McConnell's "greatest hits" of evil: He stole a Supreme Court seat. He refused to make a joint statement with Obama about Russian interference in the 2016 election. After abusing the filibuster while in the minority to block an unprecedented number of Obama's judicial nominees, he nuked it outright so he could narrowly confirm Neil Gorsuch to the aforementioned stolen seat. What are the supposed magic words that would've convinced McConnell to not do those things? We're pretty sure Obama said "please." Maybe Hickenlooper's secret bipartisan deal-making strategy is to just remind Republicans that he's white.
Sure, McConnell might write bogus op-eds calling for "bipartisanship," but Republicans define "bipartisanship" as Democrats bending over and smiling while the courts are packed with right-wing extremists and tax cuts are passed for the wealthiest Americans. They'd love for Democrats to help pass their evil agenda. They'd pat their useless moderate president on the head while still demonizing them as a godless radical communist at the latest CPAC.
Anyone who's paid any attention to the events of the past decade knows we don't need any "feel-good" moderates. We need Democrats with brains enough to recognize that Republicans, especially McConnell, are just gangsters.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.