— aída chávez (@aidachavez) February 25, 2019
— aída chávez (@aidachavez) February 25, 2019
He’s turned his party into a purely parasitic organism — which is, apparently, just what the “true” GOP wants. Michael A. Cohen, in the NRYBDaily, “Mitch McConnell, Republican Nihilist”:
… [I]f there is one defining characteristic of McConnell’s more than three decades in national politics, it is the prizing of political expediency over integrity, ideology, and any other impulse that should define public service in a representative democracy. For McConnell, as for the president whom he has repeatedly enabled, winning is the only thing that matters. All other considerations are secondary to that goal.
Writing for the Review last fall, the American historian Christopher R. Browning said of the Senate majority leader, “if the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell.” In Browning’s view, McConnell is not dissimilar from the German conservative politicians, who in the 1930s brought Adolf Hitler to power, “thinking that they could ultimately control [him] while enjoying the benefits of his popular support.” With Hitler as Chancellor, the conservatives saw their fulsome policy agenda enacted: rearmament, suspension of civil liberties, the outlawing of the Communist Party, and the abolition of labor unions, among other moves. But as they would later find out, controlling the monster they put in power would be something else altogether.
Over the past two years, McConnell has made a similar pact with the devil (albeit a lesser fiend). He helped Trump pass a huge tax cut that disproportionately benefits the wealthy and he’s rubber-stamped Trump’s conservative picks for the federal judiciary, all the while looking the other way at Trump’s assaults on democratic norms and his authoritarian impulses.
Indeed, as alarming as Browning’s comparison might seem, it doesn’t quite do justice to the malign impact that Mitch McConnell has had on modern American politics. No politician has done more to weaken American democracy and undermine the nation’s most basic norms than McConnell. Nor is any politician more responsible for Trump’s rise to power. All of it has been in pursuit of the narrowest, most parochial goals.
What separates McConnell from other destructive political actors, such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his fellow congressional Republican revolutionaries, or President George W. Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, is that McConnell’s political actions are unmoored from ideology and policy. For McConnell, politics is fundamentally about accruing political power for the sole purpose of accruing more political power…
McConnell’s obstructionism on spending bills, unemployment insurance, assistance to state government, even veteran’s benefits, undermined the recovery from the Great Recession, and purposely so. The worse the economy was doing, the more likely voters would blame the party in power—namely, the Democrats. As MacGillis pungently puts it, McConnell’s nihilistic strategy was to “wait out America’s hopefulness [about an Obama presidency] in a dire moment for the country until it curdles to disillusionment.” The more Washington looked dysfunctional, the more it played into McConnell’s hands…
Perhaps the most telling quote from McConnell’s recent interview with the Times was when he was asked about Christopher Browning’s comparison of him to the old conservatives of Weimar Germany:
I think to expect Republican elected officials not to try to achieve as much as they possibly can, that they’ve always been for, out of pique over presidential behavior, is nonsense… He got elected… So critics like that expect us all to just join them in a huff and do nothing? Really? I think my responsibility as the majority leader of the Senate, in a Republican administration, is to achieve as much as I can for the American people along the lines that I’ve believed in my entire life.
But what beliefs? A formerly moderate, pro-civil rights, pro-abortion rights, reform-minded politician has enabled a president who not only has set back race relations, but has also packed the Supreme Court with conservative, pro-life judges. A senator who once railed against budget deficits and alleged foreign policy weakness in Democratic presidents has advanced a trillion-dollar deficit and a president who appears to be compromised by a foreign power. An institutionalist who has sought to protect the Congress’s prerogatives as a co-equal branch of government has allowed Trump to chip away at them with barely a demurral…