Mitch McConnell has done grave damage to all three branches of government

Once in a while, a politician becomes so powerful and yet so destructive that he or she does real damage to ...

Posted: Oct 10, 2018 10:42 PM
Updated: Oct 10, 2018 10:42 PM

Once in a while, a politician becomes so powerful and yet so destructive that he or she does real damage to the branch of government in which she or he serves.

Obviously, Richard Nixon damaged the presidency, Newt Gingrich turned the House of Representatives into a mixed martial arts arena, and Roger Taney forever stained the Supreme Court with the Dred Scott decision. But it takes someone special, someone rare, someone spectacularly Machiavellian and malevolent, to screw up all three branches of government.

Barack Obama

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Donald Trump

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Mitch McConnell

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Russia

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Ladies and gentlemen: Mitch McConnell. The soft-spoken Kentuckian has, in just a few short years, done lasting damage to the presidency, the Senate and the Supreme Court: the hat trick of democracy destruction.

To wit:

The presidency. American intelligence knew Vladimir Putin's henchmen were attacking America, using cyberwarfare tactics to undermine Hillary Clinton's campaign. Yet when the nonpartisan leaders of our intelligence community briefed McConnell, his reply -- according to a new book by Washington Post reporter Greg Miller -- was purely partisan: "You're trying to screw the Republican nominee." McConnell not only refused to condemn the Russians, Miller writes, he threatened to attack the US intelligence community, labeling its call to defend America an act of partisan politics.

By helping hobble our defense against the dark arts of Putin, McConnell has tainted Donald Trump's presidency. The noted media scholar Kathleen Hall Jamieson has carefully examined the Russian effort, and has concluded that without Russia's help, Trump would not be President.

Trump's legitimacy is questionable -- in part because McConnell refused to defend our presidential electoral system when it came under foreign attack.

The Senate. McConnell has broken the Senate. By refusing even to meet with President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, and by blocking hearings on his nomination, McConnell deeply harmed the comity on which the Senate is supposed to run.

I am amused by the notion that, somehow, former Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid is the one who broke the Senate when he eliminated the filibuster for lower court judgeships. Right. If only Reid had been nicer to sweet ol' Mitch, then he wouldn't have been so doggone mean when he got power.

In truth, Reid had no choice but to limit the filibuster on lower court nominations, given McConnell's abuse of it. McConnell invoked the 60-vote rule to block Obama's nominees nearly as often as it had been used in all previous US history. Under all the presidents before Obama, 86 nominations had been blocked by filibuster. In just the Obama presidency alone, McConnell used the filibuster to block 82.

McConnell's naked partisanship has crippled the Senate. One wonders how it will ever recover.

The Supreme Court. Which brings us to the high court. Not content with simply stealing Garland's seat for Trump, McConnell rammed through the nomination of the profoundly unpopular Brett Kavanaugh. The court now has four justices appointed by Presidents who originally came into office after losing the popular vote.

(To be fair, George W. Bush nominated Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito in his second term after winning the 2004 election fair and square. But does anyone think he would have had a second term if the court had not installed him despite the will of the voters in 2000?)

The McConnell court is now every bit as partisan as one of the panels on my old show, "Crossfire." Except on "Crossfire," we didn't wear robes and pretend we were somehow above the fray. For decades to come, American citizens upset about any erosion of their constitutional rights -- civil rights, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, women's rights, reproductive rights, consumer rights, environmental protections -- can thank McConnell.

Legacies are often hard to predict when a politician is still in office. Not this time. When you see bitter, hateful, vengeful hyperpartisanship infecting our national life -- from the White House to the Senate to the marble palace of the Supreme Court -- you can thank the "Gentleman from Kentucky."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 55947

Reported Deaths: 1654
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Hennepin17789819
Ramsey6861261
Dakota3942102
Anoka3327112
Stearns281720
Washington188643
Nobles17456
Olmsted162023
Scott136214
Mower10782
Rice9898
Blue Earth8485
Wright8015
Carver7692
Clay74340
Kandiyohi6701
Sherburne6387
St. Louis42719
Todd4182
Lyon4153
Freeborn3541
Steele3271
Nicollet30713
Benton3043
Watonwan2980
Winona24516
Crow Wing20613
Martin2035
Le Sueur1991
Beltrami1910
Chisago1761
Goodhue1758
Otter Tail1753
Cottonwood1710
Pipestone1439
Becker1421
McLeod1350
Unassigned13540
Douglas1290
Itasca12912
Polk1293
Waseca1280
Pine1260
Carlton1240
Dodge1220
Murray1221
Isanti1080
Chippewa971
Brown832
Meeker832
Morrison831
Faribault820
Sibley782
Wabasha780
Koochiching733
Rock730
Jackson700
Pennington701
Mille Lacs643
Fillmore610
Cass582
Renville585
Lincoln540
Swift521
Grant491
Yellow Medicine490
Roseau450
Houston400
Pope390
Norman340
Redwood300
Aitkin280
Hubbard280
Kanabec281
Marshall280
Wilkin283
Mahnomen231
Wadena230
Big Stone220
Red Lake190
Lake170
Stevens150
Clearwater140
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson40
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 45592

Reported Deaths: 877
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk9709202
Woodbury364250
Black Hawk299762
Linn208987
Johnson191815
Dallas178735
Buena Vista178412
Scott159012
Dubuque152729
Marshall138324
Pottawattamie121223
Story111013
Wapello84531
Muscatine82448
Crawford7153
Webster7125
Sioux5932
Cerro Gordo58117
Tama53729
Warren5261
Jasper45424
Plymouth4438
Wright4411
Louisa37814
Dickinson3754
Clinton3123
Washington28710
Hamilton2391
Boone2282
Franklin2134
Bremer1877
Clarke1853
Carroll1811
Emmet1791
Clay1711
Hardin1660
Shelby1591
Marion1520
Allamakee1494
Poweshiek1468
Benton1421
Des Moines1392
Jackson1391
Mahaska13617
Guthrie1265
Floyd1242
Jones1231
Cedar1201
Hancock1162
Butler1132
Pocahontas1131
Henry1123
Buchanan1101
Lyon1000
Madison1002
Cherokee971
Clayton973
Harrison960
Taylor930
Lee923
Delaware901
Monona900
Humboldt891
Iowa881
Winneshiek821
Calhoun812
Mills810
Sac810
Fayette790
Jefferson780
Palo Alto780
Kossuth770
Osceola770
Mitchell760
Page740
Winnebago730
Grundy721
Union701
Monroe667
Worth610
Chickasaw500
Davis491
Howard480
Cass471
Appanoose433
Lucas434
Montgomery433
Greene380
Fremont360
Van Buren311
Keokuk301
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