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McConnell would be funny if he wasn’t so awful

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Few politicians in America get me madder than Mitch McConnell.

I’ve never liked his shifty, chinless face, or his mirthless smirk, or his small, mean mouth, or his dead eyes, or his undertaker’s gloom. I’ve never understood how people like him get elected and then re-elected. Somebody must be putting something into the water down in Kentucky, a state I’ve never visited and have no desire to see.

When McConnell virtually assassinated Merrick Garland, I threw my hands up. “That’s it,” I told myself. “This hack just went from bad to pure evil.” It’s pointless to complain about the hypocrisy, because hypocrisy as become the trademark of the Republican Party just as much as transphobia, fascism, tyranny and trump-mania are. When McConnell announced that Biden’s American Jobs Plan would not receive a single Republican vote in the Senate—before any Republican had even seen so much as a jot of the actual plan—his Darth Vader credentials were further solidified, albeit without Darth’s considerable charm. But now that McConnell has seen fit to lecture American corporations about their reaction to Georgia’s rightwing authoritarian attack on voting rights, I’m just stunned.

Is there no low to which McConnell will not sink?

Maybe part of his strategy is to deliberately say crazy things in order to piss off opposition Democrats; Hitler loved to taunt his enemies, too. For instance, McConnell yesterday accused big businesses that have condemned Georgia of “taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex.” That bit of clever historical referencing (a play on Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex”) is really too much to take in without a giggle. For any Republican to accuse anyone of wallowing in “outrage” is truly epic. Outrage, thy name is Trump, the man who remains “outraged” by the “rigged election,” who is “outraged” that he didn’t get all 140 million votes in the 2020 contest, whose entire life and political career were built on white grievance.

One useful tool in ridiculing one’s opponents (which I myself have utilized) is to use the opponent’s own terminology and turn it against itself. Where the Left developed the term “woke” to identify a political philosophy with which it agrees (generally liberal and inclined toward social justice movements), McConnell seizes the same adjective to ridicule the anti-Georgia corporations (and Democrats in general). The “private sector,” he railed (Delta, Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola and others) is “behaving like a woke parallel government.” Never mind that McConnell doesn’t know what “woke” indicates; all he knows is that from a conservative Republican point of view, it’s an insult. But the part about a “parallel government” behaving in an out-of-control way is really funny. That is precisely the definition of Fox “News” (and I always enclose the word in quotes, because whatever else Fox broadcasts, it’s certainly not “news” in any true sense of the word). Fox “News” clearly became a “parallel government” with the ascension of its hero, Donald Trump—a shadow government that instructed the actual government what to say, and what to do, and how to craft strategy, if not how to create actual laws, or stop new ones from being made.

Then McConnell says, apropos of the threats by corporations to punish Georgia for its blatant voter suppression, “Businesses must not use economic blackmail to spread disinformation and push bad ideas that citizens reject at the ballot box.” This simple statement contains so much junk, I hardly know where to begin, Even as McConnell spoke those words, the hysterical neo-nazis on Fox “News” threatened the anti-Georgia corporations (including Major League Baseball) with boycotts. So much for internal consistency! Then, there’s that little word “disinformation.” For a senior Republican to warn the American people about disinformation is truly sublime, coming as it does after a pathological president told tens of thousands of lies, including (and up to this very moment) the Biggest Lie of all, that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged.” As for “citizens rejecting” something “at the ballot box,” one would think—by a simple analysis of that phrase—that McConnell actually believes that “the ballot box” (i.e. voting rights) is an essential feature of American democracy. But McConnell is in favor of restricting voting (at least, by people of color), and so his appeal to the sanctity of “the ballot box” cannot be taken seriously.

We’re going to have to wait and see just what the big corporations do to hold Georgia (and Texas and Arizona and other states where Republicans are cracking down on voting rights) accountable. It’s not clear to me what they can do; and it’s likely they’re just biding their time, hoping to placate critics on the Left, while minimizing the damage they do to themselves on the Right, all the while hoping this whole damned business blows over as fast as possible.

But the funniest of McConnell’s phrases yesterday was this one: “It’s jaw-dropping to see powerful American institutions not just permit themselves to be bullied, but join in the bullying themselves.” Bullying! Does that word bring anyone to mind? Yes, the Biggest Bully of them all, the thug who lost the presidency in a near-landslide (7 million votes), whose primary rhetorical talent is the insult, who stiffs his vendors and exacts revenge on people who lack the means to defend themselves against his lies in court. Well, that’s enough about McConnell for today. I need a shower to cleanse myself of him.

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