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Mitch McConnell's disturbing chuckle

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Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell debated Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath, a former fighter pilot, over coronavirus relief and the Supreme Court.

Posted: Oct 14, 2020 11:41 AM
Updated: Oct 14, 2020 11:41 AM

Mitch McConnell appears to think this is some kind of joke.

At a televised debate Monday night, Amy McGrath, who is running against McConnell for a US Senate seat from Kentucky, noted again and again that a pandemic has plunged the country into an unrelenting crisis and McConnell's Republican-controlled Senate is refusing to do anything to alleviate the pain. In response, McConnell laughed. And laughed. And laughed.

And then he blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

More than 210,000 Americans are dead. At least 26 million people are collecting unemployment benefits, and many more than that are unemployed, underemployed, or in danger of losing their jobs.

More than 600,000 women left the workforce in September alone (compared with 78,000 men), according to government data.

And while the Republican controlled Senate, where McConnell is the majority leader, can get it together to hold lightning-speed confirmation hearings aimed at thrusting Amy Coney Barrett onto the Supreme Court before the November 3 election, they have shown no such ability to advance a new relief package for those hundreds of millions of Americans struggling — many with jobs and lives in ruins — as a deadly disease continues its rampage through their communities.

A relief bill is sitting on Mitch "I know how to make deals" McConnell's desk, and he's pushed it aside.

And there's really no charitable reading possible for McConnell's chuckling at a debate over the question of Covid relief.

There's nothing funny about the utter, unconscionable failures over which this Senate Majority Leader has presided. There's nothing funny about more Americans dead from Covid-19 than died in World War I, Vietnam, the Korean War, and the Iraq war combined. Or that while the US contributes just 4% percent of the world's population, it makes up 20% of the world's Covid deaths.

But the point is not only that McConnell found something to laugh about in Covid deaths, although it was striking that chortling was the response he reached for. His laughter-as-answer to McGrath came off as something else, and a reaction that will be familiar to many women: Condescension and dismissiveness. You foolish girl ... You just don't understand how it works. (It's an illuminating bit of video, if you haven't yet watched.)

As for the actual metrics of chaos that McGrath laid at his feet — the unemployed Americans, the dead Americans — McConnell couldn't even pretend to care. The effect was one of arrogance — not to mention stunningly cold and even sexist.

"She mentions she was in the Marines about every other sentence," McConnell said, derisively. "I think her entire campaign is: she's a Marine, she's a mom, and I've been there (in Washington) too long." Translation: She's just a Marine and just a mom; she doesn't know what she's doing, which is why she's questioning what I've done.

The defense McConnell offered for his do-nothing party is that the other side won't negotiate — even though House Democrats did indeed pass a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill early this month, which McConnell has rejected. And McConnell can manage to rally his troops to, as McGrath put it, "ram through a Supreme Court nominee right now, instead of negotiating, which is what he should have been doing all summer long to make that happen."

Despite being a member of the party of personal responsibility, McConnell refuses to accept accountability for the Senate's dereliction of duty on additional Covid relief for Americans. Instead, he blames Pelosi, who gets the bulk of his ire, and he heaps condescension on another woman — his political opponent, McGrath — for having the temerity to even ask.

Kentucky is currently facing a backlog of some 75,000 unresolved unemployment claims — state residents who are out of a job but unable to collect much-needed benefits. Drug deaths, obesity rates and cancer rates are all stunningly high. About 1 in 4 children in Kentucky lives in poverty — and that was before Covid-19 wiped out tens of thousands of Kentucky jobs.

The state saw a remarkable drop in the percentage of uninsured residents, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), going from 66% uninsured in 2010 to a mere 5.5% uninsured by 2019.

But now, with his state, and the country, trapped in the teeth of a pandemic, McConnell has forced confirmation hearings for a conservative Supreme Court nominee who many believe would join in a decision to obliterate the ACA in a case set to come before the court in just a few weeks.

Now the question is: Will Kentucky voters agree that this is all a laughing matter?

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 589527

Reported Deaths: 7333
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1221311726
Ramsey51028871
Dakota45667448
Anoka41421437
Washington26724281
Stearns22139221
St. Louis17682302
Scott17201124
Wright15943139
Olmsted1319098
Sherburne1160286
Carver1044945
Clay812792
Rice8014106
Blue Earth746141
Crow Wing660988
Kandiyohi652083
Chisago592551
Otter Tail572978
Benton565997
Goodhue475772
Douglas464674
Mower464032
Winona452950
Itasca432254
McLeod421658
Isanti417364
Morrison417360
Nobles407248
Beltrami392458
Steele384915
Polk382468
Becker378850
Lyon359850
Carlton344153
Freeborn341129
Pine326722
Nicollet323843
Brown304640
Mille Lacs302452
Le Sueur289222
Todd280632
Cass269628
Meeker254340
Waseca236522
Martin229831
Roseau207919
Wabasha20483
Hubbard187141
Dodge18373
Renville178943
Redwood172936
Houston171515
Cottonwood164321
Fillmore155510
Wadena155122
Pennington153619
Chippewa151838
Faribault151319
Kanabec143424
Sibley142510
Aitkin134236
Watonwan13219
Rock128019
Jackson121711
Pipestone115126
Yellow Medicine113820
Pope10956
Murray10609
Swift104918
Stevens90211
Marshall88017
Clearwater86416
Koochiching81715
Lake80819
Wilkin80712
Lac qui Parle75022
Big Stone5984
Lincoln5773
Grant5678
Mahnomen5459
Norman5399
Unassigned48793
Kittson48522
Red Lake3957
Traverse3685
Lake of the Woods3223
Cook1610

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 366197

Reported Deaths: 5929
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57488623
Linn20814334
Scott19960240
Black Hawk15785308
Woodbury15121228
Johnson1445783
Dubuque13355209
Dallas1116198
Pottawattamie11091168
Story1059248
Warren575888
Clinton554393
Cerro Gordo538089
Sioux513874
Webster512193
Marshall482175
Muscatine477499
Des Moines454366
Wapello4297122
Buena Vista424540
Jasper418672
Plymouth400680
Lee375055
Marion361775
Jones298157
Henry291137
Carroll285452
Bremer283960
Crawford265840
Boone263934
Benton256055
Washington253950
Dickinson247843
Mahaska229951
Jackson221242
Clay215325
Kossuth215264
Delaware209240
Tama209271
Winneshiek196934
Page192622
Buchanan190731
Cedar189423
Hardin184943
Fayette184841
Wright184336
Hamilton179449
Harrison179373
Clayton169256
Butler164634
Mills161722
Madison161519
Floyd160342
Cherokee158738
Lyon157741
Poweshiek154733
Allamakee151151
Iowa148324
Hancock147634
Winnebago141731
Calhoun138113
Cass137954
Grundy136233
Emmet134040
Jefferson132435
Shelby130737
Sac130119
Union128133
Appanoose128049
Louisa127849
Mitchell126042
Chickasaw123915
Guthrie121030
Franklin119321
Humboldt118826
Palo Alto112523
Howard104522
Montgomery103338
Clarke99924
Unassigned9770
Keokuk95631
Monroe95129
Ida90334
Adair86432
Pocahontas85322
Davis82824
Monona82830
Osceola78516
Greene77610
Lucas77123
Worth7438
Taylor65712
Fremont6229
Decatur6089
Van Buren55618
Ringgold55524
Wayne53723
Audubon50810
Adams3384
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