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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, speaks to the media after the Republican's weekly senate luncheon in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on December 8, 2020. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Mitch McConnell's Unquenchable Thirst For Obstruction

McConnell's career has been devoted to preventing the Senate from functioning whenever the Democrats have power in Washington.

Fred Wertheimer

 by Medium

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made his bones in the Senate on political money—both raising influence-buying contributions and blocking efforts to curb the corrupting impact of this money in Washington.

McConnell also built power and influence with his Republican colleagues on his unquenchable thirst for obstruction.

McConnell is prepared to allow grave, if not irreparable, harm be done to our democracy in order to advance the partisan goals of Republicans in Congress and his own personal goal of again becoming Senate Majority Leader.

McConnell's Senate career is defined by being the "Filibuster King," the self-described "Grim Reaper," and the Senator who has paralyzed and made dysfunctional "the world's greatest deliberative body."

He has done this by leading incessant Senate filibusters when Republicans are in the minority and by refusing to schedule bills when Republicans are in the majority and there is a Democratic President.

McConnell's career has been devoted to preventing the Senate from functioning whenever the Democrats have power in Washington. He has done this, not for the good of the country, but for the good of McConnell and his party.

McConnell's latest filibuster ploy brought the country to the brink of defaulting on our national debt for the first time in our history. Only when he saw that his obstructionism might backfire—leading to a change in the filibuster rules—did he back down, allowing the debt ceiling to be increased, although only until December 3.

Right now, as the country faces a crisis for our democracy, McConnell also is committed to using the filibuster to prevent Congress from protecting the sacred right to vote and preventing the subversion of federal elections.

McConnell is prepared to allow grave, if not irreparable, harm be done to our democracy in order to advance the partisan goals of Republicans in Congress and his own personal goal of again becoming Senate Majority Leader.

But as E.J. Dionne pointedly wrote in a recent Washington Post column, "Since defending free elections is as important as preventing economic chaos, the filibuster should not be allowed to inhibit national action that's required to preserve democratic rules and norms. That's why it must be lifted to enact the Freedom to Vote Act, voting rights legislation crafted to Manchin's specifications."

It's important to remember: changing the filibuster rules has been done routinely in the Senate, including 161 exceptions over the years.

We know McConnell will never change his obstructionist ways.

So, it will all come down to Senate Democratic holdouts, Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and the choice they make: Support a change in the filibuster rules in order to protect the sacred right to vote and prevent the subversion of our elections, or oppose a change in the filibuster rules and allow McConnell's obstructionism to take our democracy to the brink and beyond.

The choice should be an easy one.


© 2021 Medium
Fred Wertheimer

Fred Wertheimer

Fred Wertheimer is the founder and president of Democracy 21, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that seeks to promote government accountability and integrity.

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