Mitch McConnell Pretty Sure Kentucky Gets To Veto Whatever Majority Of Americans Want
Mitch McConnell is tryin' it. The Senate minority leader is a man of many talents, but chest-thumping displays of performative masculinity aren't one of 'em. He's giving it his best shot, though, with this opinion piece in the Louisville Courier-Journal in which Ol' Yertle does his best silverback imitation as guardian of the filibuster. Or as he puts it, "Kentucky's veto."
Why should a state with just 4.5 million residents get to "veto" legislation for 330 million Americans? Because SOCIALISM! Also, New York and California. They're coming for your guns, and they're bringing healthcare with them. Be very afraid!
The piece is styled as a response to a column last week from Democratic Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth, who pointed out that McConnell was very publicly losing his shit over the possibility of the end of the Senate filibuster because it would be a threat to his own power.
"[T]he minority veto is McConnell's most powerful weapon, and its elimination would be his Kryptonite," Yarmuth wrote. "So it was no surprise to see Mitch on the floor this week, frenetically predicting legislative Armageddon in the Senate should Democrats attempt to disarm him of his precious filibuster."
McConnell has threatened to unleash a "completely scorched earth Senate," where Republicans engage in a campaign of obstruction to turn the Senate into "a 100-car pileup, nothing moving." How this would be different from today, when Republicans drag their feet for weeks and weeks on things as simple as votes for President Biden's cabinet nominees, McConnell did not say. But he did threaten to destroy every piece of Democratic legislation when he gets his hands back on the gavel, which rather gives lie to his threats to make governing impossible as a leader of the minority party.
To his own constituents, though, he's happy to say the quiet part out loud: The filibuster exists to allow the minority of this country to thwart the will of the majority of Americans.
The legislative filibuster is the essence of the Senate.
So while Yarmuth calls the filibuster a "minority veto," it's really "Kentucky's veto." The filibuster stops radical schemes like the Green New Deal and socialized health care that would devastate the Bluegrass. It protects Jeffersontown and Shively from being steamrolled by Brooklyn and San Francisco. Last year, the voters rehired me to use Kentucky's veto and protect our values.
How would Kentucky, baking under untapped megawatts of solar power as more than one in 20 residents goes without health insurance, be devastated by the Green New Deal and single-payer healthcare? Again, the writer is light on specifics. And honestly, who cares, right? As long as Kentucky gets to stick it to the libs and "protect our values," it's a win for the Red Team.
"As the only congressional leader not from New York or California, I put Kentucky's priorities front and center," he promises. "If Yarmuth had his way, Speaker Pelosi would have a free pass to leave Middle America out in the cold." Once again, McConnell gestures vaguely at the supposed harms Democrats would inflict on his state, one of the poorest in the country with 16.3 percent of residents living in poverty, instead invoking the shibboleth of evil Nancy Pelosi.
And if the facts are against you, just make shit up.
It starts with restrictions on gun ownership and packing the Senate with new Democrats. Then comes HR 1, a complete federal takeover of elections that overturns Voter ID and other Kentucky laws. It would also rework the nonpartisan Federal Election Commission into a one-sided prosecutor. Alarmingly, the bill would even deploy the IRS to curtail free speech. These bad ideas alone justify Kentucky's veto.
Literally none of this is true. But none of it is as breathtakingly dishonest as the guy who burned down the Senate in a decades-long campaign of nihilist counter-majoritarianism accusing his opponents of violating sacred norms.
"Vandalizing the Senate would tear every last scrap of comity from Washington," warns the noted comity-lover who announced he was going to hold a Supreme Court seat open for almost a year, before Justice Antonin Scalia was even in the ground, only to immediately ditch the judicial filibuster the second Donald Trump was sworn into office. The same guy who disregarded the blue slip procedure to allow home state senators to block federal judges because it interfered with his goal to pack the federal judiciary with Federalist Society proto-fascists.
LOL, what a comity-an!
"Kentucky's veto is all that stands between us and a march toward socialism," he warns ominously, casting his state's "veto" as a heroic defense of the Republic against the horde, rather than tyranny of the minority. "We must save the Senate firewall. Otherwise, the institution and our country would be thrown into chaos."
There are 542,000 Americans dead from a pandemic, millions of us are out of work with no clarity on when the economy will go back to normal, an alarming portion of the population believes in wild conspiracy theories, and a mob of crazed insurrectionists just invaded the seat of government because the former president told them to do it. Gonna go out on a limb and say the chaos is already upon us.
So maybe don't take advice on saving America from a guy who calls himself the Grim Reaper?
Just a thought. OPEN THREAD!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.