Mitch McConnell proved late Wednesday in the Senate why he is the best leader the Republicans have right now.
I can hear the baying indignation from the yahoos already. Basically, Trump told them to hate McConnell. So they hate McConnell. Cult members are like that. But if they would put away their crack pipes and tinfoil hats, perhaps they’d realize these facts.
Supreme Court majority that just struck down OSHA vaccine mandates? Thank McConnell. Recent win in killing the Democrat federal takeover of elections? McConnell. The Biden budget and its downfall? Thank McConnell. That the Republicans are in the minority in the Senate? Thank Trump.
Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is probably the best legislative tactician and strategist since Lyndon Johnson. He knows where the votes are, knows how to count them, and how to get them. In fact, there is a persistent rumor in Washington that Manchin would have turned Republican months ago if left to his own devices. That would give the Republicans back their Senate majority. But McConnell wants him to stay Dem so the GOP can run against a Dem Congress. When the Republicans take the Congress in November Manchin will jump. But not before then. Very smart thinking.
The difference between the two men is the difference between the conservative and the populist wings of the Republican Party. Oh sure, the populists think they and Trump are conservatives. Nothing could be further from reality. Conservatives believe in free trade. Trump is a protectionist. Conservatives believe in a Reaganesque presidency. Trump is a carnival barker. Conservatives have no intrinsic need to open their yap every second of the day. Trump is an attention trollop who vomits forth inane vitriol because he can’t help himself. He can’t stay quiet even when it would benefit him because he is terrified of losing one moment of the limelight.
Yes, conservatives and populists have some overlapping interests and views. When they were acted upon the Trump administration was excellent. But Trump himself killed that golden goose by his lack of maturity, discretion, and judgment.
Think of what Trump has said about McConnell. All kinds of childish insults. When asked about Trump yesterday and his influence on the 2022 midterms, McConnell said: “I think the midterm election almost certainly is going to be a referendum on the party in power. This is an entirely Democratic government: Democratic President, House and Senate, they are in charge of governing. And these midterm elections are always a report card on the performance of those who are in charge, those who are governing. I think the American people are about to send this administration a pretty big message that they do not approve of all the things that are going wrong.”
Notice the message discipline. He just ignored Trump. McConnell refused to take the bait and get down to Trump’s level. It was an adult statement. Trump would have made up a moronic taunt and then repeated it over and over. Mitch McConnell has better things to do than that. He has a party to run and a liberal Democrat president to neuter.