McConnell gloats

From Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American, January 19, 2022

Greg Sargent, from today’s Washington Post:

At the one-year mark in President Biden’s first term, there’s no sugarcoating it: A barrage of new polls are absolutely brutal for him. Surveys from NBC News and the Associated Press both put Biden’s approval at 43 percent, and CBS News puts it at 44 percent, in large drops since last summer.

In short: Everything is going pretty much as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has planned. We know this because the Kentucky Republican told us exactly how he planned it. In fact, he laid out the playbook more than a decade ago, and it has changed little since then.

At dark moments such as these, after Biden’s voting rights agenda fell to a Republican filibuster on Wednesday night, it’s worth revisiting a largely-forgotten, 11-year-old quote from McConnell. It captures a crucial insight about U.S. politics that helps illuminate the struggles Democrats are facing, and why they feel so frustrating and intractable.

At the time, McConnell was similarly wielding his role as minority leader to obstruct another Democratic president, by denying any and all GOP support for proposals like the 2010 Affordable Care Act. McConnell explained his thinking to journalist Joshua Green:

“We worked very hard to keep our fingerprints off of these proposals,” McConnell says. “Because we thought — correctly, I think — that the only way the American people would know that a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan. When you hang the ‘bipartisan’ tag on something, the perception is that differences have been worked out, and there’s a broad agreement that that’s the way forward.”

Why change the winning, hopelessness-inspiring gridlock formula that brought us Jesus’s choice Donald Trump and the triumph of Charles Koch’s once lunatic fringe John Birch Society?

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