Let us remember that it was Mitch who first stated his primary purpose after President Obama's 2008 election was to make him a one-term president. He may have a weak chin, but he has balls that even Donald Trump must admire. Under McConnell, republican senators have stood firmly on the right to oppose Obama's every act as president -- even when he was making a proposal that had been strongly endorsed, even suggested, by republicans.
Perhaps the most absurd act of obstruction by McConnell was last year's refusal to hear testimony on the nomination of Merrick Garland for Supreme Court Justice. It was not only unprecedented and undemocratic, the rationale given for this militant act against the president's authority was ridiculous. As everyone from pundits to legal experts to late night talk show hosts pointed out.
His outrageous gambit appears to have won. We may soon have a supreme court justice that moves to the right of right-wingnut Antonin Scalia.
And now he has his sights on Elizabeth Warren.
It is easy to understand why he wants Warren neutralized. She was the voice that led to the creation -- her creation -- of the Consumers Financial Protection Agency. Following the Wall Street fiasco that led to the Great Recession, right wingers couldn't figure out fast enough how to stop the call for regulation and monitoring of Wall Street. And Warren is smart and persistent. She can't be outargued, and she won't be manipulated. She thrives on challenges and attacks; she knows she has facts and the moral high ground on her side.
She also has the American people on her side.
And, as they used to say at Ronco,
When it was learned last year that Wells Fargo executives had pressured employees to set up millions of fake accounts in customers' names, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau pursued the complaints and fined Wells Fargo $185 million dollars. During the Senate hearing, Elizabeth Warren told Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf,
"This is about accountability. You should resign. You should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on, and you should be criminally investigated."The plot thickens, because Donald Trump in his effort to keep his swamp full to capacity, nominated Elaine Chao to be transportation secretary. Elaine Chao, since 2011, has sat at the board of Wells Fargo. And... wait for it... Elaine Chao is Mitch McConnell's wife.
So I guess we could say there is history here between Warren and McConnell. Or we could say, follow the money and the special interests.
McConnell had a rare opportunity to really stick his foot in it two days ago, when Warren was on the floor speaking against the nomination of Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. She was reading a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King to the Senate opposing Sessions' appointment to a federal judgeship. Thinking this was the moment he had been waiting for, he had Warren stopped and told to sit down. There was then a vote as to whether to rebuke Warren for "impugning" Sessions' character, which of course fell on party lines.
If you haven't already been immersed in this story, your head may be spinning, you may be saying "Wh-What???" But it is true. There is a rule -- Rule XIX -- that was created in 1902, back when Mitch McConnell was just a boy. It came about because a couple of South Carolina senators engaged in fisticuffs on the floor of the Senate. And -- this could only happen in Congress -- the rule does not just ban fights on the Senate floor, but any disparagement of a sitting Senator. This odd and arcane rule has not been used in some forty years, and apparently did not apply when Ted Cruz accused Mitch McConnell of lying. So Warren's crime was that she read a letter stating that Jeff Sessions -- a racist -- is a racist. And maybe that she is a woman. A powerful woman.
(In a wonderful act of unity and defiance, a number of Democratic Senators, all male, took their turn to read the same letter for which Warren had been censured.)
More important, Mitch McConnell has once again put Warren front and center of the fight for honest government. And she relishes that fight. We can all scoff at the rule that allows unsavory senators like Jeff Sessions to hide the truth. And we will. We are fighting on the internet. "Nevertheless, she persisted" has become yet another battle cry against the tyranny of Trump's right-wing.
And you can catch Elizabeth Warren on talk shows and on the internet spreading the good word. Fighting for us all.