Our nation will pay a terrible price if Mitch McConnell is reelected to the Senate.
Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash
Mitch McConnell was born about 5 miles from where I was born, twenty-four years before me. This is hard to believe since his McConnell?s actions in the Senate would lead one to expect that McConnell was born 5,400 miles (the distance from my hometown to Moscow) away and a couple of hundred years before me. McConnell?s behavior during his time in the Senate has been absolutely inexcusable.
McConnell?s Supreme Court Revenge
Early in his Senate career, McConnell showed his disdain for the norms of our Republic. In the late 1980s, President Reagan nominated Robert Bork to be a Supreme Court Justice. There were a few problems with this nomination. The most glaring problem in light of the nation?s current predicament was the fact that Robert Bork was the person at the Justice Department that followed Nixon?s order to fire Archibald Cox. Archibald Cox was the Watergate Special Prosecutor. Bork?s two superiors (the attorney general and the deputy attorney general) had resigned rather than follow Nixon?s obstructive order in that event now known as the Saturday Night Massacre. It was later learned from Bork?s memoirs that Nixon had promised Bork a place on the Supreme Court for his loyalty to Nixon. Bork was the first person that did not have the guts to stand up for our nation and the rule of law. Bork stood for his own advancement, his party, and his President. Bork was McConnell?s kind of guy.
See this video from PBS?s Frontline series. McConnell?s part starts at 14 minutes and 34 seconds into the video. McConnell is outraged at the Democrats for not confirming Bork. McConnell promises revenge. To me, this is absolute insanity. Consider a hypothetical where Trump is impeached and removed from office. A few years afterward, Bill Barr is nominated to the Supreme Court. Bill Barr has repeatedly shown that he is the President?s lawyer, not a true attorney general of the nation. In such a case, hopefully, the Democrats would not confirm Bill Barr. Mitch McConnell would be promising revenge for such ?evil? on the part of the Democrats. It is almost a certainty, that if we could look inside McConnell?s mind, his true feeling would be that Nixon should have never resigned. Mitch McConnell clearly prefers to work for the good of his political party over the good of his country.
As an aside, one has to ask, why were Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus never offered positions on the Supreme Court by Republican Presidents? These are the men that stood up for their country as opposed to trying to protect their career as Bork did. Such men of integrity seem not to be valued in the Republican Party.
McConnell Is Unable to Work With Anyone to Get Things Done for the Country
McConnell has been very good at causing nothing to get done in the Senate. I would call a person that does nothing ?lazy.? Yet, McConnell is called a brilliant strategist for his ability to block legislation. One has to wonder why the people of Kentucky keep electing him. He clearly does not care about the interests of his constituents.
One good example of this Senator?s ability to do nothing is the Brent Spence Bridge replacement project. This bridge spans between Cincinnati, OH, and Covington, KY. This bridge has been listed as ?functionally obsolete? for over twenty years. This bridge is considered dangerous. Despite having had a Republican Speaker of the House from Cincinnati, McConnell was unable to get anything done about this bridge. Despite having a Republican Majority Senate and House with a Republican President, Mitch McConnell was unable to get anything done about this bridge. Not only did the Republicans control the Presidency and both houses of Congress, but Mitch McConnell?s own wife was the Transportation Secretary. Still, Mitch McConnell can get nothing done about this bridge. See Without a Trump infrastructure plan, an aging KentWithout a Trump Infrastructure Plan, an Aging Kentucky-Ohio Bridge Is in Limboucky-Ohio bridge is in limbo from the Lexington Herald-Leader for more on the failure to get anything done for this bridge. Even with the Democrats trying to help and not obstruct, McConnell could get nothing done on this bridge project.
McConnell?s Russian Issues
McConnell Refused to Agree to Warn the Public About Russian Interference in the 2016 Election
During the 2016 campaign, McConnell refused to sign a bipartisan statement warning the public of Russia?s attempts to influence the election. McConnell thought it was a ?political play? by the Democrats. See Biden: McConnell Refused To Sign Bipartisan Statement On Russian Interference from NPR. Before the election, the polls pointed to an almost certain win for Hillary Clinton. Considering this fact, why would the Democrats need to make a ?political play? for this election? Was McConnell just incredibly paranoid, or was there something more to his failure to warn the public?
McConnell Has Blocked Election Security Legislation to Protect the Nation From Foreign Interference in Future Elections
McConnell recently blocked two bills that could have protected our elections from foreign interference. These bills were introduced shortly after Robert Mueller testified to Congress that Russia is planning to interfere with the 2020 election. McConnell even blocked a measure that only required that any candidate or campaign official report to the FBI any offers of assistance from foreign governments. See McConnell Blocks Two Election Security Bills from The Hill.
Oleg Deripaska and His Kentucky Factory
Oleg Deripaska was a key player in the Mueller Report. Paul Manafort, Trump?s campaign manager, was giving secret briefings to Deripaska on the American elections. Many believe that this information was going back to Putin and Russian Intelligence agencies. Recently, sanctions were lifted on Deripaska in a controversial move by the Republican-led Senate. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, was a key advocate for the lifting of these sanctions. Shortly after the lifting of sanctions, it was announced that Deripaska?s company would be making a $200,000,000.00 investment by opening an aluminum facility in Kentucky. Mitch McConnell is the senior Senator from Kentucky. Was this a $200,000,000.00 campaign contribution? Yes, in an indirect way. See Sanctioned Russian Oligarch?s Company to Invest Millions in New Aluminum Plant in Mitch McConnell?s State from Newsweek Magazine for more on the McConnell-Deripaska connection. See this very interesting story, A Kremlin-Linked Firm Invested Millions in Kentucky. Were They After More Than Money?, from Time Magazine for the latest on McConnell and Deripaska.
This investment in rural Kentucky by a Russian oligarch tied to the Kremlin is very interesting when a recent Pentagon white paper, Russian Strategic Intentions, is considered. See the second paragraph on page 23 of the report (page 39 on the PDF numbering). It reads as follows:
Hybrid tactics are most effective when the target state has lost the will or capacity to resist. Conversely, countries that do not have these vulnerabilities face little threat from Russian adventurism short of full-scale war. The most prevalent indicators or ?signposts? that an entity is vulnerable to Russian hybrid actions include political and social turmoil, large Russian investments in its key capabilities, and weak security structures.
The paper is about 150 pages long. It gives a lot of space to ?gray zone? operations by Russians. These ?gray zone? operations or ?hybrid actions? as mentioned above include influence operations such as the recent Russian election meddling. Another way to influence politics within a country is to have economic clout within the country. One way of developing economic clout is to invest in employing the citizens of the country. This is exactly what Deripaska has done in Kentucky.
Notice these ?signposts? that a country is vulnerable to Russian influence operations. We have political turmoil and social turmoil in the US. We have severe economic distress in the section of Kentucky where Deripaska just happened to invest. McConnell just happens to be blocking security against Russian influence operations in 2016 and 2020. McConnell is the poster-child for Russian influence. He is political turmoil personified. He blocks funding for programs that could relieve economic distress in regions such as Appalachia. Economic distress often leads to social turmoil.
McConnell welcomes Russian investment even to the extent of removing sanctions against a person, Deripaska, that has been connected to election interference in 2016. If McConnell had wanted the American government to make a small loan for this company ($200 million is a small amount of money for our government), he could have gotten this through Congress. But no, McConnell would rather use his power in the Senate to get Russian investment in his state at the expense of the security of the nation.
Unlike Trump, McConnell is not a useful idiot for the Russians. McConnell had disdain for the American government from the time he arrived in the Senate in the 1980s. McConnell?s hatred for American political norms showed when he expressed his outrage at the Democrats? failure to confirm Nixon?s hero in the Saturday Night Massacre as a Supreme Court Justice.
Mitch McConnell has earned the name, ?Moscow Mitch.? What concerns me more than Moscow Mitch is the Republican Party that continuously allows him to serve as their leader in the Senate. The Republican Party is complicit with the nefarious behavior of ?Moscow Mitch.? A nation cannot continue to function with a person in power that so obviously acts against the interests of the nation. If you think I am being alarmist, ask yourself this question: has the nation been functioning since Moscow Mitch has been a leader in the Senate? Sure the nation has functioned, but what about the Congress? Congress has been a dysfunctional mess since 2010. With our government not functioning at full capacity, our nation is not functioning at full capacity. It has not always been this way.
The only way to solve this very real threat to America is to remove Moscow Mitch from the Senate and not reelect those in Congress that enable him. I began this story by mentioning that one would think that Moscow Mitch was born a couple of hundred years before me. I was specifically thinking of the legislators in another country that welcomed influence operations from Russian agents. This is nothing new for Russia. The types of operations mentioned by the Pentagon White Paper on Russian Strategic Intentions are methods the Russians have been using for hundreds of years.
In Federalist Paper 22, Alexander Hamilton wrote that ?One of the weak sides of republics, among their numerous advantages, is that they afford too easy an inlet to foreign corruption.? Therefore, to counter this ?foreign corruption? the delegates at the Constitutional Convention worded the clause in such a way as to act as a catch-all for any attempts by foreign governments to influence state or municipal policies through gifts or titles.? Hamilton, in 1787, gave this explanation for the emoluments clause in the Constitution. There was a republic that was being torn apart by such Russian interference at the same time Hamilton wrote this. Moscow Mitch is either not a student of history or just does not care about our nation. I would not be surprised if Moscow Mitch does know the story of the aforementioned nation and just does not care.
See my story, The Mueller Report Is Important, But This Chilling Lesson From History Is More Important. That story from history is a clear picture of the American future if we do not remove Trump, McConnell, and others like them from positions of power. For anyone who thinks the Mueller investigation is a side-story and not an important election issue, I strongly urge that they read that story.