Tag: Mitch McConnell

The Return of the Shutdown

It’s baaaack:

Much of the federal government officially shut down early Saturday morning after Senate Democrats, showing remarkable solidarity in the face of a clear political danger, blocked consideration of a stopgap spending measure to keep the government operating.

The shutdown, coming one year to the day after President Trump took office, set off a new round of partisan recriminations and posed risks for both parties. It came after a fruitless last-minute negotiating session at the White House between Mr. Trump and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.

With just 50 senators voting in favor, Senate Republican leaders fell well short of the 60 votes necessary to proceed on the spending measure, which had passed the House on Thursday. Five conservative state Democrats voted for the spending measure. Five Republicans voted against it, although one of those, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, did so for procedural reasons.

The basics are this: the Democrats will not agree to a continuing resolution without a fix to the DACA situation (a problem I warned about back in September when Trump struck his crap deal with the Democrats). It seemed that there was a deal on immigration earlier this week but after a handshake deal with Schumer, Trump changed his mind apparently on the urging of the more anti-immigration members of his staff. He then indicated that he would not agree to an immigration deal until after a continuing resolution was passed. The Administration’s shifting narrative has left the Senate GOPers scrambling around, trying to figure out what exactly the President’s stance is.

Right now, everyone is trying to find someone to blame. As far as that goes, I would allocate the blame thusly:

Chuck Schumer (20%) — Schumer made passage of the CR conditional on a DACA agreement. I support DACA (as do the vast majority of Americans, including Republicans). But this is the big hangup. Even attaching six years of CHIP funding couldn’t get him on board.

Mitch McConnel (30%) – Flake effectively called McConnell out, saying they should put together a deal and send it Trump and let him sign or veto it. Unfortunately, that chance may have passed. With the shutdown in effect, Trump will feel that his manhood is at stake. Which means #1 is:

Trump (50%) – Trump killed a bipartisan deal on DACA, which plunged us into this abyss. He has given no indication to his own party what his intentions are. And by making immigration his signature issue, he has put that as the stumbling block before everything. In past government shutdowns, the President played a key role, making it clear what he wanted, what he might concede on, what he might not. In the Gingrich-Clinton shutdown, Clinton was constantly negotiating with the GOP and you knew what his stance was. In the Obama-Ryan shutdown, both sides were clear on their intentions. Hell, if you go back to the Carter shutdowns, it was clear where everyone stood on the abortion funding issue. Having a White House with no clear agenda is the biggest problem right now.

It’s hard to give the Democrats most of the blame here when the Republicans control both houses and the White House. They’re being dumb to shut down the government over DACA but the Republicans are more dumb not only for failing to come up with a deal but for kicking down the road again back in September.

In any case, the big question is where do we go from here and … I have no idea. The logical course is for the Senate to make a deal without Trump and then hope he’ll sign it. But Republicans are too cowardly and Democrats too craven for that right now. So I expect this one to last for a while.

The McConnell Taper Confesses

Is your jaw sitting a bit too high on your face? Or have you had trouble getting it open wide enough to eat? Well, then. Feast your eyes on this piece from the guy who recorded Mitch McConnell … gasp! … talking strategy about a possible Senate opponent. We discussed this before and it wasn’t clear whether the eavesdropper committed a crime.

The answer now appears to be Holy Fucking Shit Yes:

The front door to the office building [of McConnell’s campaign HQ] was unlocked, and there was no one behind the reception desk. Walking down the hall of the second floor, I recognized McConnell’s voice. He was talking about Sen. Rand Paul’s strategic use of the Tea Party in procuring his 2010 election.

The voices were coming from the other side of a nearby door, which had a window. I pulled out my Flip camera and started to record.

I don’t need to tell you what a weapon the pocket video camera has become. Bartender Scott Prouty changed the trajectory of the entire 2012 election when he captured Mitt Romney in his now classic “47 percent” speech. You just never knew when a politician was going to open his mouth and accidentally reveal his true agenda. And as I held my Flip up to the window, that’s what I was hoping for, but I soon realized that the video I was capturing was the back of a projection screen, and only the audio was of value. So I held the Flip closer to the door vent instead of the window, and began recording the 11:45 minutes of footage later released by Mother Jones.

I was sweating. My heart was racing. I tried to record backup audio on my phone, but my cheap replacement phone would only let me record voice memos of one minute in length. Every time the minute was up, the phone would beep, which was excruciating for the person crouching by a door vent. When a gentleman walked out of the campaign headquarters and into the hall, I put my Flip and phone back in my pocket, and headed to the elevator.

Shawn was already there. We made our escape.

That, my friends, is the description of a felony, not journalism. Journalism would be meeting with a politician and recording the interview. Journalism might even mean having a hidden microphone on a staffer. Journalism does not include breaking into the campaign quarters, hunting down the candidate and recording a private conversation to which you are not a party.

The whole op-ed is just bizarre. There is a smug “everything I did, I did for Kentucky” tone to it; as if Mitch McConnell’s views justified any tactic. He cites people who’ve claimed he didn’t do anything illegal ignoring that their support was predicated upon a very different version of events (the initial reports were that he happened to be walking by and heard the conversation clearly). He says he intends to go to law school but I’m not sure how once this is over.

I almost feel sorry for the guy. What the hell kind of a lawyer does he have who would let him write this? If I were the prosecutor, I’d present it to the jury and rest my case. He thinks his life was turned upside down before? Wait until he’s a convicted felon. I wish I could feel schadenfreude here but this is just sad.

(Ken at Popehat always says that the must frustrating thing about clients accused of crimes is when they won’t shut the hell up. Let this be an example to everyone. If you are accused of a crime, shut the hell up.)

The McConnell Nontroversy

OMG! You guys, Mother Jones has a huge scoop! They have discovered that Mitch McConnell is … a politician!

On February 2, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the US Senate, opened up his 2014 reelection campaign headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, and in front of several dozen supporters vowed to “point out” the weaknesses of any opponent fielded by the Democrats. “They want to fight? We’re ready,” he declared. McConnell was serious: Later that day, he was huddling with aides in a private meeting to discuss how to attack his possible Democratic foes, including actor/activist Ashley Judd, who was then contemplating challenging the minority leader. During this strategy session—a recording of which was obtained by Mother Jones—McConnell and his aides considered assaulting Judd for her past struggles with depression and for her religious views.

Can you believe that happy crappy? That slimeball was doing research on a potential political opponent! You can see the transcript here. Now I will grant that most of it is about Judd’s political views — her opposition to mining, her support for Obama, her criticism of the Democrats for moderating. But then there’s this:

She’s clearly, this sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced. I mean it’s been documented. Jesse can go in chapter and verse from her autobiography about, you know, she’s suffered some suicidal tendencies. She was hospitalized for 42 days when she had a mental breakdown in the ’90s.

Now, granted, that is the entire discussion of Judd’s mental health. I mean, the entire discussion. No “assault” really. But … they discussed it! As if the people of Kentucky would care about whether their Senator might have some mental health issues (I mean, apart from the mental health issue of being a Democrat).

The thing I love about Liberals is that they never get into this sort of thing. It’s not like they started wondering about Sarah Palin’s religious views or speculated that her fifth child was actually her grandson. It’s not as if they’ve previously dumped a candidate like a 200 pound maggot because he’d had some mental health issues.

And I’ll say this. The Democrats never go after an opponent’s mental health (I mean, unless it’s Alzheimer’s jokes about Reagan, but he deserved it). No, they have the decency and honor to go after … his wife:

I ask [General Powell] to talk me through his thinking in 1996 when everyone was telling him to run for president – his polls were through the roof and even Bill Clinton, who went on to win, was saying that Powell was the one man he didn’t want to face. Was his heart just not in it? “There was a lot of speculation and I foolishly said, ‘So many people are pressing me on this I will have to think about it.’ That raised the temperature even higher, but after six weeks of not having a single morning where I got out of bed and said, ‘This is what I want to do,’ I realised I didn’t have the passion for the job a potential president must have. It just ain’t me. I decided the speculation had got out of control and we had to shut it down. My wife looked at me and said: ‘What took you so long?’ She had become part of the story because she suffered from depression and Time magazine was making a big thing of it.

Don’t the Republicans understand that when someone as liberal and famous as Judd is running for Senate, they are just supposed to give in? She’s liberal! She’s famous! She’s pretty! She’s supposed to be a Senator. Just think about what could have been if we didn’t look into the background of pretty politicians. John Edwards would be President right now.

No, this is too far. It’s time for McConnell to resign, go to the top of the Capitol and hurl himself off. It’s the only way he can atone for the serious crime of being a successful Republican politician.

The Judd Question

Ashley Judd is contemplating a run for the Kentucky Senate. I actually don’t think she has much of a chance, even though McConnell only won by six points last time. Without Bush dragging on him, the Senate Majority Leader should have this in hand. I’ve also never been terribly impressed with Judd as a political figure.

So, let’s try some tricks, shall we?

Democrats hoped to catch attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference cheering the on-screen death of Ashley Judd at a screening of Olympus Has Fallen Friday evening.

But conference organizers told conservatives, a person at the screening said, to leave their politics at the door, and the gotcha devised by supporters of the actress, who is reportedly on the verge of launching a race for the Kentucky Senate seat, fizzled.

Judd, a likely candidate for Senate against Mitch McConnell (R-KY), plays the First Lady in the film. It portrays a North Korean terrorist attack on Washington that results in the president being taken hostage.

You can watch the video at buzzfeed. Nothing happened, most likely because Judd’s movie most likely suuuucks. Why do you think it’s being release in March? That 37 second clip alone looks bad.

Cameras are all over CPAC hoping to catch conservatives in some kind of evil behavior. They struck … well, not gold, but at least some bronze yesterday when some white supremacist idiot defended slavery in a meeting (to the nervous laughter and general disgust of the audience). But this is yet another instance of it not working. You have to wonder how many more liberals and media are out there looking at their iPhones and sadly deleting their pointless footage.