Even Republicans Not Sure Why Democrats Keep Hoping Republicans Will Have Some Moral Epiphany
When Republicans blocked the latest effort to pass a Stop Republicans From Cheating bill, Democrats gave some compelling speeches about democracy and our ongoing constitutional crisis. Meanwhile, former Republican Tom Nichols couldn’t understand why Democrats were acting like chumps incapable of rising to the seriousness of the moment.
I have long defended the filibuster because I think there are things that should not be decided 51/49, that should require a greater show of comity. But Barrett’s confirmation, in particular, made a mockery of that idea. This is hardball. Mitch plays it. Dems must play it too. This is no longer a civic competition between two political parties. This is a direct competition between a coalition in favor of the rule of law and liberal democracy vs a party that has become Trump’s weird cult of personality and an authoritarian political movement.The GOP is using a Senate rule to forestall legislative action against state-level authoritarian measures from a GOP base that is enraged at losing a fair election. So if it comes down to that one Senate rule or democracy itself, dump the rule and pass the bill. Mitch would.
Every Senate Democrat, starting with @SenSchumer, every Senate independent, and everyone in the Biden white house s https://t.co/Ymu7FIw0q8 Joy-Ann Reid Reid )1634819642.0
And if we can’t accept reality, we’re in trouble.
Follow Stephen Robinson on
What Does Mitch Mcconnell Do Now
At age 79, the longtime Senate Republican leader is contemplating his legacy.
To visit Mitch McConnell at his office in the Capitol, you must first pass through a faded world that he has meticulously preserved. A fireplace in the reception room still bears a crack left by a fire British soldiers set during the War of 1812. Through a doorway, a conference room displays portraits of former GOP Senate leaders, among them the luckless Charles McNary, who landed the job just when Franklin D. Roosevelts Democratic Party captured whopping majorities. Looking around the room and identifying his predecessors last week, the current Senate minority leader paused at the image of McNary, a largely forgotten figure. This poor guy, he said.
McConnells 2016 memoir is called The Long Game. He plays it well. He was pushing 65 when his colleagues first elevated him to Republican leader. Come 2023, he will have spent 16 years at the top, which would surpass the record set by former Democratic Senate Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana. Im not going anywhere, he told reporters in Kentucky back in March.
I get up every day hoping that we can have an outcome, politically, right of center, he told me. Right now, this is a 5050 country. Weve got a 5050 Senate. One of the arguments Ive been making against a number of things that like to do is that the voters didnt vote for this. He laughed again.
Mcconnell Under Fire For Debt
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell walks to his office after it was announced that the U.S. Senate reached a deal to pass a $480 billion increase in Treasury Department borrowing authority, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., October 7, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis
WASHINGTON, Oct 8 – Senator Mitch McConnell, long known as the Republican mastermind in Congress, lost support among some members of his own party this week after offering Democrats a temporary deal to avert a cataclysmic U.S. credit default and safeguard the Senate’s endangered super-majority rule.
The 79-year-old Kentucky Republican, who had insisted for months that Democrats use a complex procedure to raise the debt ceiling on their own, offered a temporary fix to extend it into early December after the U.S. Treasury said it would run out of money to pay its bills by Oct. 18.
Democrats readily agreed and declared victory after the agreement passed the Senate by a 50-48 majority on Thursday.
“Somebody got to McConnell and finally said: ‘Hey Mitch, you know what, are you really prepared to sink the entire American economy and the global economy with your obstinacy?'” Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, told reporters on Friday.
While the deal simply postpones the same battle, McConnell’s decision to relent raised questions about whether he had put himself at a disadvantage in future confrontations.
Also Check: How Many Senate Seats Do The Republicans Have
Trump Condemns Violence Calls For Calm In Video Released After Being Impeached Again
President Donald Trump has released a video condemning the violent insurrection he fomented at the Capitol last week. The video was released Wednesday after he was impeached by the House for a record second time, this time with Republican votes. Trump also called on his supporters to remain peaceful amid concerns about additional violence in the days before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The Party Of Sabotage: Mitch Mcconnell Leads Republicans To Vote Against The United States
Sen. Mitch McConnell
Last week, in a piece about how the Republicans are humiliating the Democrats, I said there’s no real chance of the United States Congress failing to raise the debt ceiling. Failure would instantly trigger a worldwide economic calamity. Though the Republicans are behaving irresponsibly, don’t worry, I said. The Democrats won’t let that happen.
The point of last week’s piece was that the Democrats, in standing by the filibuster, are giving the Republicans the means of humiliating them. Today, I want to focus on the GOP’s role, specifically that voting against raising the debt ceiling is a hostile war-like act. We’re so familiar with their war-like hostility, however, it seems like old news. It shouldn’t be. The GOP’s war-like hostility drives the news. If you do not understand that, you do not understand American politics.
Last night’s unanimous vote by the Senate Republicans against raising the debt ceiling should be seen in the context of sabotage. The party playing chicken with the full faith and credit of the United States is the same party undermining the national recovery from the covid pandemic, which is the same party tolerating insurgents who nearly brought down the republic, which is the same party eroding the rule of law, which is the same party welcoming interference by Russia, which is so on and so forth.
You May Like: List Of Republicans Who Have Left The Party
Map: See Which States Have Restricted Voter Access And Which States Have Expanded It
The Freedom to Vote Act would have, among other things, established Election Day as a national holiday, set national minimum standards for early voting and voting by mail, and created new requirements for groups not currently required to disclose their financial donors. It also included standards for states that require voter identification, something that was a priority of Manchin.
“We’re not deterred, but there’s still a lot of work to do and I think it’s really a sad day,” said Vice President Harris after Wednesday’s vote.
“We’re not going to give up,” she said. “We’ve never given up those of us who have fought for the right of every American to express their voice through their vote. We’re going to continue to do the work.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said a vote on the narrower John Lewis bill, meant to restore the Voting Rights Act, will come to the floor as soon as next week.
Majority And Minority Leaders
The positions of party floor leaders are not included in the Constitution but developed gradually in the 20th century. The first floor leaders were formally designated in 1920 and 1925 .
The Senate Republican and Democratic floor leaders are elected by the members of their party in the Senate at the beginning of each Congress. Depending on which party is in power, one serves as majority leader and the other as minority leader. The leaders serve as spokespersons for their party’s positions on issues. The majority leader schedules the daily legislative program and fashions the unanimous consent agreements that govern the time for debate.
The majority leader has the right to be called upon first if several senators are seeking recognition by the presiding officer, which enables him to offer motions or amendments before any other senator.
The majority leader usually works closely with the minority leader so that, as Senator Bob Dole explained, “we never surprise each other on the floor.” The party leaders meet frequently with the president and with the leaders of the House of Representatives. The majority leader also greets foreign dignitaries visiting the Capitol.
2 Henry Cabot Lodge continued to serve as unofficial Republican leader.
4 Charles Curtis resigned his Senate seat on March 3, 1929, having been elected vice president of the United States.
National Journal Vote Ratings
Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year.
McConnell ranked 25th in the conservative rankings in 2013.
McConnell ranked 15th in the conservative rankings in 2012.
McConnell ranked 11th in the conservative rankings in 2011.
Relationship With Obama Administration
As the leading Republican senator, McConnell confronted and pressured other Republican senators who were willing to negotiate with Democrats and the Obama administration. According to Purdue University political scientist Bert A. Rockman, “pure party line voting has been evident now for some time … but rarely has the tactic of ‘oppositionism’ been so boldly stated as McConnell did.” According to University of Texas legal scholar Sanford Levinson, McConnell learned that obstruction and Republican unity were the optimal ways to ensure Republican gains in upcoming elections after he observed how Democratic cooperation with the Bush administration on No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D helped Bush’s 2004 re-election. Levinson noted, “McConnell altogether rationally … concluded that Republicans have nothing to gain, as a political party, from collaborating in anything that the president could then claim as an achievement.” A number of political scientists, historians, and legal scholars have characterized McConnell’s obstructionism and constitutional hardball as contributors to democratic erosion in the United States.
Use of the filibuster
In 2012 McConnell proposed a measure allowing President Obama to raise the debt ceiling, hoping some Democratic senators would oppose the measure, thus demonstrating disunity among Democrats. However, all Democratic senators supported the proposal, which led McConnell to filibuster his own proposal.
Also Check: Trump Election Pins
There Have Been Few Signs Of Movement Among Republicans
The Freedom to Vote Act was negotiated by a group of Senate Democrats, including Manchin, who was his party’s lone holdout on the sweeping voting rights measure that passed the House earlier this year. Parts of the House-passed bill, called the For the People Act, were scaled back to win over Manchin’s support, as well as some Republicans. Manchin played a key role in courting Republican support for the compromise bill in recent weeks.
But Republicans didn’t budge.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that it was his “hope and anticipation” that no Republicans would vote for the Freedom to Vote Act, which he described as an attempt by Democratic lawmakers “to have the federal government take over how elections are conducted all over America.”
Electoral Vote Objections Delay Biden Certification In Congress
The overnight scenes in Congress — normally a ceremonial procedure but one that Donald Trump’s loyalists have sought to co-opt as the last gasp attempt to keep the president in power — come hours after violent unrest in the US Capitol by pro-Trump rioters interrupted the process.
McConnell said on the Senate floor that a bill passed by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, which sought to meet fellow Republican Trumps demands for bigger cheques, has no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate.
Don’t Miss: Did Trump Call Republicans Stupid In 1998
College And Law School
Ford attended the , where he played , , and for the school’s football team and helped the to two undefeated seasons and in and . In his senior year of , the team suffered a steep decline and won only one game, but Ford was still the team’s star player. In one of those games, Michigan held heavily favored the eventual national championto a scoreless tie in the first half. After the game, assistant coach said, “When I walked into the dressing room at halftime, I had tears in my eyes I was so proud of them. Ford and Sweet played their hearts out. They were everywhere on defense.” Ford later recalled, “During 25 years in the rough-and-tumble world of politics, I often thought of the experiences before, during, and after that game in 1934. Remembering them has helped me many times to face a tough situation, take action, and make every effort possible despite adverse odds.” His teammates later voted Ford their most valuable player, with one assistant coach noting, “They felt Jerry was one guy who would stay and fight in a losing cause.”
Throughout life, Ford remained interested in his school and football he occasionally attended games. Ford also visited with players and coaches during practices at one point, he asked to join the players in the huddle. Before state events, Ford often had the Navy band play the University of Michigan fight song, “,” instead of “.”
Opinion: Mitch Mcconnell Still The Crucial Republican Leader
Sen. Mitch McConnell will remain majority leader until noon on Jan. 20, with the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. At that moment, McConnell will then become the equal in influence of any minority leader in Senate history. No doubt he is already planning how to wield that power for the GOP and the good of the country.
As I have noted before, rule-of-law conservatives owe an enormous debt to McConnell for protecting the Constitution and its separation of powers, checks on administrative agencies and robust individual rights, particularly those of free exercise of religion, speech and property.
In 2016, McConnell refused to be railroaded by the chattering class into consenting to President Barack Obamas filling of the Supreme Court vacancy caused by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Again defying liberals condemnation, McConnell joined with then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley in 2018 and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey O. Graham in 2020 in guiding the Supreme Court nominations of Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett to confirmation. McConnell has also kept a laser focus on the appointments of appeals court judges, ensuring that the Constitutions protections of American freedoms will be preserved for decades.
The only thing that can deeply injure the Republicans is division. And the partys unity is essential in an increasingly unstable era at home and abroad.
Watch Opinions videos:
Most Prisoners Can’t Vote But They’re Still Counted In Voting Districts
Administration officials also pointed to the Justice Department’s announcement that it was doubling its voting rights enforcement staff, as well as the June announcement that the department was suing Georgia over its new voting law.
Biden and Harris also spoke by phone this week to a number of senators about the legislation, the White House said.
Biden spoke with Democratic Sens. Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Alex Padilla of California, according to a White House official, while Harris spoke with Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Jon Ossoff of Georgia, as well as Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine.
Asked about those calls, Psaki said that they were “conversations about the path forward” and conversations about the president’s “commitment to … protecting voting rights,” though she did not outline any future plans.
NPR political reporter Alana Wise contributed to this story.
In Push To End Filibuster Democrats Point To Its Civil Rights
Other advocates argue voting rights has not been Biden’s priority, andthat the president has demonstrated more commitment to his infrastructure bill and sweeping social spending package.
“He put an emphasis on the infrastructure bill, he has prioritized that. He has called people into the White House,” said Virginia Kase Solomón, CEO of the League of Women Voters. “He has made sure that he has everybody that he needs on board. So we’re saying, ‘You need to do the same thing for voting rights.’ ”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesdat that Biden has taken “every step possible under his purview” to protect voting rights, and that there would be more discussion about a path forward after Wednesday’s vote.
In March, Biden signed an executive order promoting voting rights, calling on federal agencies to develop their own plans to encourage voter registration and participation. Vice President Harris, who has taken the lead on voting rights for the administration, announced an expansion of the Democratic National Committee’s “I Will Vote” program, aimed at voter education and protection.
Carbon Capture And Energy Efficiency
McConnell tends to play defense on climate change.
He has not put forward his own climate plan, nor have Republicans in the Senate under his leadership.
After the House of Representatives passed cap-and-trade legislation in 2009, McConnell referred to the bill as the national energy tax, and said he was glad to see its demise in the Senate, which did not even put it up for a vote.
Now McConnell is touting his support for carbon capture and storagea technology embraced by many Republicans as a way to keep burning coal in a carbon-constrained worldand for budgets that include energy efficiency. He favors, he says, common sense and actually attainable solutions to protect our environment.
The League of Conservation Voters gives McConnell a 14 percent 2019 score and a 7 percent lifetime score for his votes on environmental legislation.
McConnell has defended his overall environmental record, mentioning his funding of local conservation efforts in Kentucky and his backing of this years bipartisan Great American Outdoor Act. The Act, signed into law by President Trump, provides $900 million in annual funding for public land protection and up to $1.9 billion a year for five years to fund a maintenance backlog at national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges.