For decades, pundits have hailed Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as the master of the Senate, a man who knows how to use the upper chamber of Congress to accomplish anything his party chooses to do.
But that’s simply not true. All McConnell is good at is obstruction and delay, which is great when you’re in the majority but isn’t helping the GOP one damn bit now that they’ve lost control of the Senate.
As Greg Sargent notes in a fascinating piece he wrote for the Washington Post, Democrats have just proven that they can get things done and McConnell can’t do anything but whine:
“In the early morning hours on Friday, Senate Democrats passed a measure laying the groundwork to move President Biden’s big economic rescue package via the reconciliation process, by a simple majority. Republicans are already thundering with outrage.
“The move does indeed pose a serious challenge to Republicans. But it’s one that runs deeper than merely moving toward passing this one package without them. It also suggests a reset in dealing with GOP bad-faith tactics across the board — and even the beginnings of a response to the Donald Trump era and the ideology loosely described as ‘Trumpism.'”
And yes, McConnell started whining right after Democrats passed the bill via reconcillation:
It’s called progress, Mitch. It’s what the voters sent Democrats to Washington to accomplish.
All McConnell ever did when Republicans ran the Senate is confirm judges and block every other piece of legislation that would have improved the lives of Americans. He used the filibuster like a cudgel and now that he no longer has any power or relevance, he’s complaining.
You see, Mitch McConnell loves to bloviate about bipartisanship, but as Sargent correctly explains, he wants no such thing. He merely wants the illusion of reaching across the aisle:
“McConnell’s underlying claim is that Democrats should allow their plan to be subject to a supermajority requirement via the filibuster, to facilitate bipartisanship. The idea is this: If a partisan majority can’t pass things by itself, it must reach out for bipartisan support; if it can, it won’t. And doing the latter would betray Biden’s promises to seek ‘unity.’
“This is a scam. The reality is the other way around: In McConnell’s hands, the filibuster has actually made bipartisanship less likely.”
But what Democrats did early Friday morning actually makes bipartisanship more likely, and that would mean McConnell has become not only irrelevant, but utterly useless, as unnecessary as a third wheel on a bicycle:
“The paradox here is that using reconciliation — moving to pass something by a simple majority — actually could bolster the conditions for good-faith bipartisanship. GOP senators who might be gettable will no longer have a built-in incentive to oppose a particular bill. It’s likely passing anyway, so the lure of helping the party by opposing it — because the Democratic president will get blamed for failure — isn’t nearly as strong.”
Americans want Congress to do something, anything, to revive the economy and help them hold on until things improve. They’re hungry for government to work for them, not just for the multinational corporations and billionaire hedge fund managers.
Joe Biden was elected — along with two new senators from Georgia — to heal the nation and get things done. To act like adults. And that’s a direct threat to Mitch McConnell and the crumbling GOP. It’s no wonder they’re starting to turn on each other.