Mitch McConnell Finally Lets Democrats Play With Senate
The Democrats won control of the Senate on January 5, but it wasn't as easy as beating two incumbent Republican senators in Georgia. No, we still had to deal with Mitch McConnell, who had an unreasonable list of demands before he'd let the new Democratic majority do its duly elected job. In the meantime, Republicans were still leading committees. The godawful Lindsey Graham refused to hold confirmation hearings for President Joe Biden's attorney general nominee, Merrick Garland, until February 8. He was still, until today, head of the Judiciary Committee ... somehow, and he's real mad that Democrats insist on impeaching the one-term loser after he incited a violent mob to attack Congress. Does Graham take some sadistic pleasure in kicking Garland in the teeth? He seems like such a nice guy — Garland, not Graham, who's an asshole.
We're pleased to report, however, that Sort-Of Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has finally reached a "power-sharing agreement" with Soon-to-Be Minority Leader McConnell, and it only cost him half of his grandchild's soul (we kid!). Regardless, Schumer seemed upbeat.
We will pass the resolution through the Senate today, which means that committees can promptly set up and get to work with Democrats holding the gavels.
McConnell had filibustered the organizing resolution granting Democrats control of the Senate until he received a concession from Schumer, presumably signed in his blood, that he wouldn't nuke the legislative filibuster that McConnell will inevitably abuse. This was all very confusing, but bottom line is that McConnell performed a one-man show demonstrating why the filibuster is crap. We can only hope Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema were watching at home. The two moderate senators love the filibuster to pieces even though there is no recorded evidence of the filibuster doing anything good for anybody anywhere.
Former President Barack Obama said “motherfuck the filibuster" at Rep. John Lewis' funeral. That sounded like marching orders. Let's listen to the last real president before Biden.
McConnell caved without a written agreement, just Manchin and Sinema's pinky swears, but Obama could still give them a stern talking to when Josh Hawley and Rand Paul inevitably filibuster the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
But, hey, let's savor today's good news! Lindsey Graham is no longer chair of the Judiciary Committee. Dick Durbin takes the gavel "once the agreement is approved" and oh crap, what's the holdup now? We want to see Graham cry and Bernie Sanders make America Cuba again as chair of the Budget Committee.
Unfortunately, Lindsey Graham no longer even poses as a serious lawmaker. During an appearance on “Sunday Morning Futures" with patty-cake-brained host Maria Bartiromo, Graham scared viewers with visions of an apocalyptic future where DC residents enjoy full congressional representation.
They're gonna roll back border security at the border, and you see the caravans beginning to form NOW.
They're going to raise your taxes, they're going to impose regulations on the economy, they're going to try to make DC a state, they're going to try to implement parts of the Green New Deal and Medicare for All through budget reconciliation. I've got a fight on my hands.
Put those boxing gloves away, Senator. Republicans like to pretend Joe Manchin doesn't exist, and while liberals would love to join them in that delusion, Manchin is still the 50th vote Democrats need to pass anything. Sinema is the 49th vote and she opposes the Green New Deal (she cosponsored a separate Senate resolution stating that climate change is REAL! and we should probably do something about it) and Medicare for All. Look, we wish the Democrats could govern as radically with a narrow majority as the GOP did under the one-term loser, but the party has actual moderates not poseurs like Susan Collins and Rob Portman.
Nonetheless, we're happy that Biden can actually have a Cabinet, maybe confirm some judges. We're also petty enough to enjoy watching Graham Chicken Little his way through the Fox News lineup. If your conservative parents complain that the Democratic Senate might officially cancel Christmas, just say that's the law now and offer to buy them his and her Kwanzaa robes.
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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).