“I’d lie for you and that’s the truth
Do anything you asked me to.” — Meatloaf
Occasionally, politicians (particularly conservative politicians) get caught saying the quiet part out loud. That’s an expression we like to use when someone says what everyone is thinking, but sounds absolutely horrific when it is said out loud in mixed company. Mitch McConnell was just the latest in a long line of horrible moments.
Of course, McConnell’s legacy in Washington will largely depend on which side of the fence you sit. If you are conservative then he will go down as one of the greatest legislators in the history of mankind. No one has been more effective in getting the conservative agenda through and no one has been more effective at blocking the progressive agenda. He’s done more to tip the balance of power in the judicial branch than any three other legislators.
If you are a liberal, progressive, or even just a moderate you obviously can’t see Mitch McConnell as anything but cravenly evil. As much as people will blame Joe Mancin and Kyrsten Sinema for the failure of voting rights legislation, Mitch McConnell is the architect of everything the conservative caucus is able to accomplish.
They don’t accomplish much these days. In fact, the only thing they’ve really accomplished in the last five years is a major tax cut for the rich. That’s the extent of their legislative agenda. That’s the extent of their intellectual pursuit. Otherwise, they are the adult embodiment of a two-year old. The only word they know is no.
Whether McConnell’s utterance is a mere gaffe or a Freudian slip is in the eye of the beholder I guess. Someone so jaded and manipulative can’t be given the benefit of the doubt. McConnell’s legislative tactics are the perfect reflection of what conservative state legislatures have been doing across the country. The two in concert have managed to take common sense planks and make them disappear.
For McConnell and other conservatives, African Americans really aren’t Americans. Latino Americans really aren’t Americans. LGTBQ+ Americans really aren’t Americans. Poor Americans really aren’t Americans. Anyone that might cast a vote for Democrats really aren’t Americans. They’ll concede a few of us that might look conservative on the outside, but it would never be enough to win an election. So, then it is okay.
Power is theirs from birth. Power is theirs to do with what they want. Sadly, they’ve had it for over a generation and we’re living in the aftermath. Wealth disparity is higher than its ever been. There are more billionaires than ever before. This has all happened when the GOP has won exactly four presidential elections according to the popular vote since 1980. That’s four out of ten elections.
Ultimately, that’s the legacy of Mitch McConnell. He has been in national politics for nearly that entire period. Somehow he has taken a world where Democrats won majorities more often than not and created a powerful conservative coalition. They have the courts. They have a majority of states. Their will is done in Washington even without majorities. Only Americans that vote with them count in his eyes.