Mitch McConnell fiddles for Trump while the nation burns
With the nation in crisis, on the 28th day of a government shutdown caused by the capricious whims of an unstable and possibly illegitimate executive, the one person who could end this crisis by having a vote to reopen government is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. But instead of leading, he's digging even deeper into toxic partisan fights.
The Senate spent the small part of Thursday it was actually in session wasting time. McConnell fast-tracked a bill banning federal funding of abortion to the floor, knowing that it would never meet cloture. Knowing extremely well that it is also unnecessary—no federal funding goes to abortion—and purely political. He then went on to block both Sen. Chuck Schumer's effort to bring the Russian sanctions disapproval resolution back to the floor, and Sen. Tim Kaine's effort to bring a government-funding bill.
He did all that for Trump. But he's been busy following the Kochs' and other dark-money purveyors' directives, too. Thursday afternoon, the Washington Post dropped an op-ed from McConnell railing against the House Democrats’ HR 1, the package to expand voting rights, get dark money out of politics, and secure our elections, among other small-D democratic reforms and restorations. In a stunning display of hypocrisy unmatched even by all his other hypocrisies, McConnell writes that this effort is "a naked attempt to change the rules of American politics to benefit one party. It should be called the Democrat Politician Protection Act."
And he should know from naked power grabs. Not at all coincidentally, McConnell's op-ed is timed to go out along with the first round of letters from FreedomWorks, originally founded by the Kochs, to members of Congress. These "constituent" letters warn of "ruthless harassment and intimidation by corrupt bureaucrats inside the government" if dark-money groups are required to disclose their donors. That's just one step beyond McConnell's dark warning that if government workers get a paid holiday on Election Day, those "bureaucrats" will "hover around while Americans cast their ballots."
McConnell's made his decision. He's with Trump all the way down. But his fellow Republican senators don't have to go down with them. They're the ones who need to hear from us.