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Thread: McConnell in Politico

  1. #1
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    Default McConnell in Politico

    This is a very interesting article and somewhat comforting:

    McConnell Is On The Losing Side of History — And He Knows It

    Mitch McConnell may be driving American politics to the brink of insanity, but let’s assume that the majority leader himself is entirely sane.

    There are two possible reasons why it would be rational for him to act on the Supreme Court vacancy in a way that is so damaging to the reputation of the Senate, and so contemptuous of half of his Senate colleagues and of American voters.

    One is that he expects his party to hold power a very long time. Who cares what the opposition thinks when they don’t matter now and won’t in the future?

    The other is that he expects to hold power a very short time, or at least is keenly attuned to this possibility, and believes that once power is lost it is gone indefinitely. Under this scenario, it would make sense to lock in as many gains, as quickly as possible, for as long as possible. The enduring scorn of the opposition is an acceptable price to pay because the long-term contest is essentially over.

    Which possibility more likely reflects the ruthless rationality of the McConnell mind?

    The Republican Party’s sprint to install a justice for a life-time appointment this year, either days before a presidential election or in the lame-duck session afterward, looks a lot like the dying spasms of a political movement that began five decades ago.

    McConnell knows the prognosis, and is unsentimentally getting the movement’s affairs in order. The most important item in the last testament is filling courts with people in position to check liberal ambitions long after McConnell is gone. Pursuing this goal so close to Election Day is a reversal of the majority leader’s alleged principle in 2016 that Supreme Court vacancies should not be filled in an presidential election year. But it is consistent with his true principle: Exploit every advantage of power for as long as his party has it. The Kentucky Republican, in a loveless alliance with Donald Trump, is a skilled practitioner of the politics of decline, and for a conservative movement that is in palliative care.

    This is not a prediction for the November election. It is possible that Trump and Senate Republicans get a modest boost — more than modest is unlikely in an electorate with views so hardened — from the intensified focus on the Court, and a lessened focus on coronavirus.
    There is a good deal more and you may find it as interesting as I did.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...?ocid=msedgdhp

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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    "Which possibility more likely reflects the ruthless rationality of the McConnell mind?"

    I saw a clip of him laughing about how he stymied most of Obama's legislative efforts in his last two years, A very scratchy cynical laugh he's got.

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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    i sincerely hope there's a political reckoning coming
    and for any number of reasons
    a. the american people need a change of direction
    b. the world needs a change of direction
    and not the least of which c. the schadenfreude is gonna be glorious
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    If the Democrats are smart, they will win the Senate, end the filibuster, but do nothing about the Supreme Court... until after they end Obamacare, overturn Roe, and overturn Trump's convictions.

    Then they ride the wave of popular outrage, stuff the Court, admit DC and PR, make abortion legal by federal law, and create a proper public health system.

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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    george, you left out repealing the second, raising taxes on the rich, and building the re-education camps
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    I would start with the camps. Canvassing options.
    Rick

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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    How about using the cages those children are keopt in?

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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    Wasn't there a cage in one of those stupid Mad Max films? That'd do. Or French barges.
    Rick

    Lean and nosey like a ferret

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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    How about using the cages those children are keopt in?
    What a brilliant idea
    Don't worry I'm happy

    "The law is what we have to live with.
    Justice is sometimes harder to achieve."

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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    NBC News has an interesting piece on McConnell:

    Timing is everything as McConnell flexes muscle on Trump court pick

    WASHINGTON — There's only one principle at work as Republicans here get ready to nominate and confirm a new justice to the Supreme Court: power.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made that clear when he amended the logic he used in 2016 to justify ignoring the appointment of Merrick Garland, who was President Barack Obama's last pick for the Supreme Court. Back then, McConnell said the Senate shouldn't vote on a Supreme Court justice in an election year.

    "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice," McConnell said in February 2016. "Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” Now, he says that dictum only applies when the president is from a different party than the Senate majority leader.

    "It is blatant hypocrisy," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, said on MSNBC Monday. "Mitch McConnell said let the people decide. He's absolutely full of it."

    It may be more that McConnell's true motivations have been revealed. In reality, the confirmation of a new justice to succeed the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not about the limited history and precedent he cites, it's not about the sanctity of his institution, and it's not about concepts of consistency and fairness.

    McConnell is exercising raw political power for the purpose of acquiring and maintaining more power. Other explanations are quickly stripped away when matched against facts.

    "It's a different scenario," White House deputy communications director Brian Morgenstern insisted on CNN Monday. "This time the Republican majority, which was expanded in 2018 running on confirming constitutionalist judges, is in charge."

    For the record, Republicans held the Senate majority in 2016. The difference between now and then is that Obama was a Democrat and Trump is a Republican. Senate Republicans had the votes to stop Garland, and now they have the votes to confirm whomever Trump appoints.

    But the new Supreme Court vacancy will require McConnell to place bets.

    The real question for him is how to ensure a new justice gets confirmed while he also protects — or enhances — the odds that President Donald Trump is re-elected and Senate Republicans retain their majority.

    There's no risk-proof strategy, and the competing interests — including whether Trump's campaign is best served by the heightened intensity of a looming confirmation vote — will require McConnell to place a bet.

    Some in his party argue that he should not leave the confirmation to chance by waiting until after Election Day to hold a vote. A party flip in a special election for an Arizona Senate seat could alter the math after the election and before the next inauguration. But many in the GOP see an opportunity to rile up conservative voters by focusing them on a nomination that hasn't yet been decided and pushing it through after the election.

    Ron Bonjean, who worked with the Trump White House to shepherd Justice Neil Gorsuch through the confirmation process, said he thinks GOP leaders should "slow this down a little bit" for both political and practical reasons.

    "It allows for voters to understand what's at stake," he said, "and it also allows time for the White House and Senate Republicans to rally the votes in order to achieve victory in confirming that nominee."

    If the pick is confirmed before the election, Bonjean added, voters may "turn their attention to another issue."

    Of course, that could be helpful to Trump or Biden — depending on which side is more energized by it — and it could be helpful to Senate Republicans or Senate Democrats.

    In part because abortion rights have been protected by the court since 1973, most of the energy around the most controversial cultural issue has been on the side of abortion opponents. But if the Roe v. Wade decision is directly under threat, Trump or Senate Republicans could face a backlash among constituencies with which they already are struggling — including suburban white women and poorer women whose access to abortion already is limited.

    Given McConnell's position, he had little choice but to announce forward motion on a replacement for Ginsburg. Republicans would not have put up with using the power they gave him to choose consistency over a Supreme Court justice.

    "It’s about the party in control," Bonjean said. "It’s not about the precedents."

    But the timing of an actual vote — before the election or after — creates an inherent tension point between the Senate and Trump. If past is prologue, McConnell will lean toward what he thinks is best for the preservation of the Senate Republican majority. But even after McConnnell advised GOP senators to keep their "powder dry," Trump has shown little interest in waiting. He plans to name a replacement on Saturday, barely a week after Ginsburg's death.

    All of that is to say that the vacancy is an opportunity for McConnell, but it also creates an additional layer of political uncertainty.

    He chose not to follow the Supreme Court nomination "rule" he made up in 2016, and he will get blamed if his approach backfires. If it works, the criticism he takes for being hypocritical will be salved by another two years as majority leader, a second Trump term and a Supreme Court with a 6-3 conservative tilt.
    I will say this: we will soon be hearing more about the liberal media because the nightly news is not pulling any more punches with Trump or McConnell. They are really calling it like it is.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...?ocid=msedgdhp

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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    I hope there's a political reckoning coming
    It's already here, brah. Trump is the political reckoning.

    The Democrats' response to this? Joe Biden

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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky Blue View Post
    It's already here, brah. Trump is the political reckoning.

    The Democrats' response to this? Joe Biden
    You'd prefer Che Guevara? Certainly that's who the Trumpists are trying to paint Biden to be... "socialist anarchist-lover."

    You're out of step with your tribe, Blue. Perhaps you didn't get the latest talking points?
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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    McConnell is definitely sane, and I think it's a good bet that he understands the demographics as well as anyone. There are plenty of Republicans who aren't fools, and would like to hold on to power. When your base of support is shrinking as a percentage of the electorate, you have several choices:

    - Broaden it, appeal to more people. That's what the 'party establishment' has been saying for a long time, the point of the post-mortem report after the 2016 loss. But the party went off in precisely the other direction with Trump. That road may now be closed, at least for quite a few years.

    - Try to get more mileage out of 'energize the base', increase polarization and win with enthusiasm and turnout. The Republicans have been doing this to one degree or another since the 1980s, and it has sometimes worked. Trump has taken it several large steps farther. It may have reached its limit of effectiveness, as increasing extremism generates more and more of a counterreaction.

    - Hold on to power with a minority of votes. Parts of our electoral system already give greater representation to voters in small states by design, and today these are more rural and hence more Republican. 53 Republican Senators represent 153 million people, the 47 Democrats 168 million. The electoral college also gives more votes to residents of small states. This doesn't necessarily give an advantage to either party, but today with a strong rural-urban division, it certainly helps Republicans. Gerrymandering also helps; the Wisconsin state legislature is a particularly extreme example.

    - Hold onto power by other means. There is a continuum from slightly anti-democratic down into grossly anti-democratic methods. The Florida Republicans' attempt to keep ex-felons from voting in spite of an overwhelming popular vote to the contrary, various forms of voter suppression, through voter intimidation, Trump's attacks on the legitimacy of mail-in voting . . . and there's no bottom. It just remains to see how low they will go.

    The problem, of course, is that Republicans are on the losing side of continuing demographic trends. There are fewer old rural white evangelical Christian not-very-educated voters every year.

    There's a long article in The Atlantic about this. I'd highly recommend it, although it's not calculated to reassure, maybe even a bit alarmist. They make what I think is a very good point, that one function of a conservative party is to keep the crazies and neo-fascists in check, and Trump has killed the sane conservative party in the US, or at least knocked it unconscious. Here's the beginning. Read the whole thing; it's worth it.

    Democracy depends on the consent of the losers. For most of the 20th century, parties and candidates in the United States have competed in elections with the understanding that electoral defeats are neither permanent nor intolerable. The losers could accept the result, adjust their ideas and coalitions, and move on to fight in the next election. Ideas and policies would be contested, sometimes viciously, but however heated the rhetoric got, defeat was not generally equated with political annihilation. The stakes could feel high, but rarely existential. In recent years, however, beginning before the election of Donald Trump and accelerating since, that has changed.
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 09-23-2020 at 10:44 AM.
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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    And one more along the same lines (source):

    Can Democracy Survive the Demise of the GOP?
    Republicans refuse to adapt to a changing America and are threatening to take the country down with them.
    by Nancy LeTourneau - September 22, 2020

    The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is credited with the observation that: “The only constant in life is change.” In the 21st century, the pace of change has accelerated and, as activist and educator Tim Wise pointed out back in 2009, one of its manifestations created a “perfect storm for white anxiety.”



    The “perfect storm” Wise refers to includes (1) the demographics of whites becoming a plurality and no longer a majority by 2040, (2) the election of the country’s first African American president, (3) the fact that, for the first time in 75 years, white people experienced double-digit unemployment, and (4) the “cross-pollination” of racial diversity in our entertainment culture.

    Over the last few years, prophetic voices have warned us about what would happen in response to that kind of change. In 2014, blogger Doug Muder made the prescient comparison between what had become known as the Tea Party and the Confederacy. Documenting how the Civil War didn’t end when Lee surrendered at Appomattox, he identified the Confederate mindset.

    "The essence of the Confederate worldview is that the democratic process cannot legitimately change the established social order, and so all forms of legal and illegal resistance are justified when it tries…The Confederate sees a divinely ordained way things are supposed to be, and defends it at all costs. No process, no matter how orderly or democratic, can justify fundamental change."

    The party that has relied on winning with a white majority is increasingly finding itself at odds with our democratic processes. Muder’s warning was repeated by David Frum in “Trumpocracy” where he wrote that “if conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy.”

    In The Great Suppression, journalist Zachary Roth outlined the steps Republicans took when they realized that their party could no longer claim to represent the majority.

    "Today’s conservatives have no such confidence that the people are on their side. In fact, they are beginning to perceive that they’re in the minority – perhaps more glaringly than ever before. And yet this realization has brought with it another more hopeful one: being outnumbered doesn’t have to mean losing."

    Following their defeat in the 2008 election, the GOP increasingly relied on anti-democratic strategies such as voter suppression, gerrymandering, preemption, and judicial engagement. They have now escalated into being a party that will do anything to hang on to power. As an example, Majority Leader McConnell didn’t cross the Rubicon when he proposed jamming through Trump’s Supreme Court nominee weeks before an election (or even during a lame-duck session). That happened back when he refused to even hold hearings, much less a vote, on a Democratic president’s nominee almost a year prior to an election.

    McConnell’s abandonment of precedents must be put into the context of his reveling in being the “grim reaper” who refuses to consider any major legislation in the Senate after passing tax cuts for the wealthy in 2017. His only goal has been to confirm the extremist judges that Trump has nominated to the federal courts. As I’ve previously explained, McConnell knows that his party is in decline and has been willing to castrate Congress in order to allow judges—who serve lifetime appointments—to legislate from the bench.

    Over the last four years, Republicans have demonstrated how far they’ll go to stand with a criminal president. That could reach its peak when all of Trump’s lies about fraud associated with mail-in ballots become his pathway to stealing the election. Just recently he told the crowd at a campaign rally that, “We’re gonna have a victory on November 3rd the likes of which you’ve never seen. Now we’re counting on the federal court system to make it so we can actually have an evening where we know who wins, OK? Not where the votes are going to be counted a week later or two weeks later.” That’s the plan—simply disenfranchise the millions of people who vote by mail during a pandemic. Will Republicans stand by while Trump uses the courts McConnell has stacked to steal the election? We’ve seen nothing to indicate that they wouldn’t.

    Since the mid-nineteenth century, politics in the U.S. has been dominated by two parties: Republicans and Democrats. While we have many examples of how those parties fought back from minority status, we have no history to inform us about what happens when one of them retreats from seeking a majority and thus begins to die.

    Fighting back has always meant building a coalition large enough to win elections. The reason the Republican Party faces its demise is that, ever since Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney in 2012, it has rejected any attempt to reach out to a changing America. Instead, Republicans have relied on firing up their existing base. As Lindsey Graham once said, the GOP’s problem is that “we’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the longer term.”

    We don’t know what happens when an American political party dies. But what we’re seeing from Republicans is an attempt to take democracy down with them.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    Well, I certainly sank this thread. An overdose of politics, perhaps?
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    I don't know, Keith. Maybe try the other thread where the idea that Mitch could somehow be "impeached" is being tossed about.

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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    Mitch is a pragmatist, whatever execrable else he is too. Neither he nor Barr seem at all troubled about their legacy in any moral terms, convinced I suppose that they'll not be around to observe it.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: McConnell in Politico

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Well, I certainly sank this thread. An overdose of politics, perhaps?
    I've enjoyed it.

    I look at the spiral as being driven, at the core, by the slide into the various dysfunctions of laissez-faire economic & social policies. But the cited articles accurately describe what I'd call synergistic symptoms.
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