There isn’t much to say about Mitch McConnell, and Ann Telnaes (WashPost) appears to have said it all right here.
Of course, the ball is still in play, and let’s all admit we didn’t expect the House to come up with a 2/3’s majority to get that $2,000 check back on the field.
Nothing is dead until the current Senate session ends in four days and the new Senate takes the floor.
Which, by the way, brings an interesting twist to the sports analogy, because, until we hear from Georgia, well, it’s like getting through the coin flip and lining up for the kickoff before finding out which side the team is on.
To put it another way, it’s like wearing a mask for the coronavirus: We should assume Mitch will be the Majority Leader and prepare accordingly, and if somehow that isn’t how it turns out, so much the better.
But the NYTimes Editorial Board has been brutal in blaming him for . . . oh, wait a minute. Check the date on that.
But, still, we’ve got two thirds of the House and a substantial portion of the Senate and even Dear Leader his own self in favor of the $2,000 checks, and Mitch won’t even bring it up for a vote on its own merits.
Which might be a really smart move, if you follow the logic that the New York State legislature employed a century ago with regard to women’s suffrage: Each year, one house would pass a bill empowering women to vote, and then the other house would defeat it.
That way, individual legislators in whichever house was passing it that session got to go on the record in favor, fully aware that it wasn’t going to happen.
And if this cynical, slightly paranoid theory were true, it would mean that Republican Representatives who needed to convince voters that they cared were able to vote in favor of the bigger checks without meaning it.
While over in the Senate, they only run for office every six years, so most of them won’t have to explain to their constituents why deficits haven’t mattered for the past four years but suddenly we can’t afford to provide families with a month’s rent and a sack of groceries.
And in case you thought $600 would do that, here are the figures as of this past June, according to Business Insider. You might find that $600 apartment somewhere, but not everywhere, and most of your neighbors would be paying more.
Even with that much luck, you’d have nothing left over for groceries. Or for car payments, and, y’know, people lose jobs when they can’t get to work. It’s part of a well-established spiral.
So, as we still speculate about whether Anthony Warner was a terrorist or just a random crazy person — we’re closing in on that one, but we’re not there yet — why not ask what makes Mitch McConnell tick?
Possibly because we already know, or, at least, we’d know if we wanted to.
In April, Jane Mayer wrote a major profile of him for the New Yorker, and, shortly after it appeared, Terry Gross invited her on Fresh Air.
Both those links are interesting and, I think, revealing, though you’ll have to recognize that I generally find personal details more significant than lists of votes and statements on positions.
Gross asked Mayer about McConnell’s marriage, and this was the answer:
And it’s stuck with me, particularly since, as Mayer said, he pushed to have Chao named Transportation Secretary, which, if anyone else had suggested it, you might expect the pair to see as a potential conflict of interest.
But then you might also expect that all of McConnell’s heartless, anti-small-d-democratic shenanigans would end with him being voted out of office, and he won re-election in November 57.8% to 38.2%.
Which result is reminiscent of the oft-cited, seldom documented quote about banana republic dictators, “He’s a bastard, but he’s our bastard,” attributed to FDR speaking of Somoza, but then attributed to all sorts of other American leaders speaking of all sorts of other bastards.
Mayer went on to say that the Transportation Department shoveled a lot of money into Kentucky, and people remember that, particularly in a state that doesn’t otherwise have a lot of pull.
He’s their bastard!
All of which adds up to my enjoying Mike Luckovich (AMS)‘s cartoon without necessarily believing it.
In the long run, the GOP is in a lot of trouble. Having branded itself the Party of the Angry White Folks, our shifting demographics are going to gradually shift it into a quiet corner.
But that’s of more relevance to my grandchildren than it is to me.
And I love Kal Kallaugher’s cartoon, because, first of all, I also suspect that the GOP will never regain the spine it had a generation or two ago, but also because, while citing Donald Trump as the person to fear in 2021 seems like an error, I don’t think they’ll even have the chutzpah to ignore him, much less to actively kick him to the curb.
But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t got the power to lead the Republican Party around by the nose, which makes McConnell’s determination to by-god not help families an interesting challenge, since it involves standing up to Dear Leader.
Still, Trump’s call for something-or-other to happen in the streets of DC on January 6, when the Electoral Votes are confirmed, will be an interesting test, if not of his power over Congress, of his power over the Deplorables, who, in the last election, proved to be a larger number than most of us had expected.
January 1 is a few days away, January 20 is three weeks away, but apparently Mitch McConnell — and his comical sidekick, Donald Trump* — are forever.
Depending on what happens in the Senate in the next few hours, and what happens in Georgia next week.
Don’t touch that dial.
* “Hey, Wild Mitch! Wait for me!”