Mitch McConnell Helpfully Changes Senate Rules So President Kamala Harris Can Pass Green New Deal & Reparations
Mitch McConnell, the man who broke the Senate, wants to shatter the remaining pieces with a ball-peen hammer so Donald Trump can stack the courts with more paleoconservative fossils and outright theocrats. Trump also hasn't met his full quota of total incompetents for his sub-cabinet. The Senate is supposedly a "deliberative body" but the majority leader thinks Democrats are doing too much deliberating. He's moving forward with Senate Resolution 50, which would cut the total debate time for Trump's nominees from the current 30 hours to two. The next Avengers movie will be longer.
The resolution requires 60 votes to pass, which means McConnell needs at least seven Joe Manchins to vote with Republicans. There's currently just the one, so McConnell plans to go "nuclear" and rewrite Senate rules so it can pass with a simple majority. If Democrats insist on not being Republicans, they really leave McConnell no choice.
MCCONNELL: A minority of senators have used Senate procedure to systematically prevent the president of the United States from putting a full team in place. The American people deserve the government they elected.
The government the "American people" elected would have Hillary Clinton in the White House, but McConnell is using Electoral College math. He's also crapping out revisionist history. For instance, he argues that the Senate had confirmed 22 percent more of Obama's nominees than Trump's by a similar point in their presidencies. He neglects to mention that Obama's own party controlled the Senate at the time. The Democrats' majority was close to filibuster proof. Trump has a relatively narrow Senate majority but governs as if he had 60 Lindsey Grahams and a couple Manchins to spare.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a statement calling out McConnell's bullshit.
SCHUMER: Sen. McConnell's approach has always been to manipulate Senate rules when it helps him and then change Senate rules when the tables turn; this is just another step in his effort to limit the rights of the minority and cede authority to the administration.
McConnell was a master of obstruction while in the minority. Obama needed 60 votes in the Senate to stay black. It got so bad then-Majority Leader Harry Reid nuked the filibuster for all but Supreme Court nominations.
REID: In the history of the Republic, there have been 168 filibusters of executive and judicial nominations. Half of them have occurred during the Obama Administration – during the last four and a half years.
Republicans had just blocked three of Obama's picks in a row for the DC Circuit Court. They didn't want him to tilt the conservative balance as if he'd been popularly elected twice. Now, Trump is currently sending the courts back to the Jurassic era and if Democrats don't just roll over, McConnell claims they're having a "systemic tantrum" over the results of the 2016 election.
After Reid ended the filibuster, McConnell warned Democrats like some cackling supervillain that they'd "regret this a lot sooner than [they] think." And to be fair, they did. Democrats took a little nap during the 2014 midterms and Republicans gained control of the Senate. This was without question the worst thing to ever happen to America. Republicans then just sort of stopped holding votes at all for Obama's picks. Ted Cruz put a hold on nominations because he didn't like Obama's Iran deal. Crawling piece of slime Tom Cotton blocked Cassandra Butts from an ambassadorship just so he could "inflict pain" on the president. Butts later died without ever getting a vote. And we've all met Merrick Garland.
Pundits have suggested that Republican actions over the past few years are somehow Reid's fault. He "provoked" them by getting rid of the filibuster. They say this because they are stupid and shouldn't be trusted alone with a light socket and a fork. McConnell could've restored the previous Senate rules but only accelerated the damage he claimed Reid inflicted. He even ditched the filibuster for the two most recent Supreme Court nominees. Neither would've been confirmed otherwise. He also didn't honor the "blue slip" procedure that Republicans had used even when in the minority to summarily block Obama appointees.
McConnell vowed to obstruct Obama from day one, which he did. It should surprise no one that he continued to do so at a grander scale once in the majority. McConnell robbed Obama of an estimated 103 judicial vacancies, and now McConnell is frustrated that Democrats haven't let him fence the stolen goods quickly enough. He wrote an especially self-serving op-ed for Politico today.
(The photo illustration is a stop sign because we guess Politico doesn't do subtlety. Seriously, who made this guy go take a photo of a stop sign and why do they hate us?)
MCCONNELL: Since January 2017, for the first time in memory, a minority has exploited procedure to systematically obstruct a president from staffing up his administration. This new, across-the-board obstruction is unfair to the president and, more importantly, to the American people.
Is he fucking kidding us? We know it's April Fools' Day, but that's really every day with Trump as president. We just aren't in the mood for McConnell's prank.
MCCONNELL: We can't accept this. We need to stop this bizarre, new practice.
It's not "new," you lying loggerhead. McConnell defines Democrats using normal Senate procedural tactics as "obstruction" while ignoring his own actual, petty obstruction under Obama.
MCCONNELL: Republicans certainly weren't thrilled with [the 2012] election result. But instead of throwing a systematic tantrum, we acknowledged that the president should be able to build a government at a reasonable pace.
This has now stopped being an "op-ed" and is more appropriately a fiction submission for The New Yorker: "How I Governed Nicely Like A Good Senate Majority Leader" by Mitch McConnell.
MCCONNELL: We need to rebuild a nominations process that resembles the way things worked for more than two centuries.
No, what McConnell wants is to marginalize Democrats so completely that they might as well not even show up each day. They could set up a Slack channel for their show votes. That's fine. McConnell might feel confident that the Senate will forever remain in Republican control, but we have our eyes set on 2020. It's time to put McConnell back in the minority. The Democrat who replaces Trump will have a nice new Senate with far more agreeable rules.
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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. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).