On January 7th, an opin­ion col­umn by Senator Mitch McConnell (R‑KY) was pub­lished in The Winchester Sun.

Some of the senator’s com­ments made in that col­umn should not go unchallenged.

He starts by list­ing the woes fac­ing America in 2022: fast-grow­ing infla­tion, ris­ing vio­lent crime rates, a south­ern bor­der in cri­sis, rolling waves of school shut­downs due to a new high­ly-con­ta­gious virus, and “big labor boss­es who con­tin­ue to make hostages out of children’s futures over a virus that leaves chil­dren large­ly unharmed.” 

That last asser­tion is so fatu­ous one must won­der why it was included.

Senator Mitch McConnell (Official 2016 portrait, public domain)
Senator Mitch McConnell (Official 2016 por­trait, pub­lic domain)

Of course, he is try­ing to lay all these prob­lems at the feet of the oppos­ing par­ty, yet offers not a sin­gle solu­tion to any of them.  When I was work­ing and encoun­tered a prob­lem and knew that I would have to go to my boss with the prob­lem, I nev­er went with­out hav­ing a pos­si­ble solu­tion in hand. 

Obviously, politi­cians are inca­pable of that.  They seem to only lay blame and nev­er offer solutions.

McConnell then notes that one-fifth of respon­dents in a 2021 poll said that poor lead­er­ship was the biggest issue fac­ing America “at a time when the Democratic par­ty con­trols the entire government.” 

One-fifth sounds a lot big­ger than 20% doesn’t it?  An inter­est­ing play on words.  And he failed to men­tion that, even though the Democrats have majori­ties in both hous­es of Congress and hold the pres­i­den­cy, Republicans, under his lead­er­ship, are capa­ble of stymy­ing all bills in the Senate because of the “super­ma­jor­i­ty” rule.

This brings us to his asser­tion that “sen­ate Democrats want to destroy our own insti­tu­tion” by, appar­ent­ly, want­i­ng to get rid of the “super­ma­jor­i­ty” rule.  He accus­es the Democrats of want­i­ng to “trash the Senate’s leg­isla­tive tra­di­tions” — and yet he fails to acknowl­edge that the “super­ma­jor­i­ty” rule was not a part of the orig­i­nal plan for the Senate, and the reduc­tion to 60 of the num­ber of votes required for clo­ture only came about in 1975. 

It’s true that both Democrats and Republicans even­tu­al­ly vot­ed to insti­tute this rule, but now many are real­iz­ing that its effect is hin­der­ing impor­tant leg­is­la­tion.  Those who believe that it would be dis­as­trous to revert to the old meth­ods of pass­ing leg­is­la­tion in the Senate should under­stand and rec­og­nize that the cur­rent sys­tem is sim­ply not work­able or work­ing — and the old sys­tem, which endured for over a cen­tu­ry, worked pret­ty well dur­ing that period.

Senator McConnell con­tin­ues: “Finally, it is beyond dis­taste­ful for some of our col­leagues (one assumes he is refer­ring to Democrats here) to ham-fist­ed­ly invoke the January 6th anniver­sary to advance these aims.”

Notice that he declines to define the January 6th event as an insur­rec­tion that sought to over­throw the pro­ceed­ings of the Congress and that he, along with most of his fel­low leg­is­la­tors, was cow­er­ing in a secure room while van­dals des­e­crat­ed our seat of democ­ra­cy.  He also neglects to take note of the fact that the only Republicans who graced the halls of Congress on January 6, 2022 to com­mem­o­rate the date were Liz Cheney and her father.  Not anoth­er serv­ing Republican showed up for that service.

Senator McConnell’s final com­ment in the col­umn is quite telling.  “A year ago, there was a lot of talk on this floor about pro­tect­ing the norms and insti­tu­tions of our democ­ra­cy.  About putting long-term bipar­ti­san tra­di­tions ahead of short-term par­ti­san pow­er.  Someday soon, it appears, we may learn which of us actu­al­ly meant it.”

Not some­day, Senator.  Most of us already know.

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.