Mitch McConnell is Having Trouble Giving Up Power
He is being short-sighted, rather than looking to the midterm elections
Well, that didn’t take long. It was only a few days ago that I was celebrating the fact that I would still have Mitch McConnell to kick around. Who knew that I would be brushing up on my soccer skills so soon?
Good ol’ Mitch is having a teeny tiny problem giving up power in the Senate now that the Democrats have a teeny tiny majority. He’s been large and in charge since 2015. That’s not easy to walk away from.
Just so that we are all on the same page, let’s quickly review what is going on in the Senate. Thanks to the voters in Georgia who sent their Republican senators packing in favor of two shiny new Democrat senators, the Senate is now evenly split, 50–50 with VP Harris casting the tiebreaking vote.
In theory, this looks simple, but it’s not. McConnell as the leader of the Republicans and Schumer as leader of the Democrats have to hammer out an agreement on how responsibilities will be divided, what’s known as a power sharing agreement.
Schumer wants to do the logical thing and adopt a power sharing agreement similar to the one adopted in 2001, the last time this happened. Under that type of agreement, all committee chairs would be Democrats and membership of each committee would be evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. In the case of a tied committee vote, legislation would advance to the full Senate, rather than be stalled in committee.
McConnell is whining about the filibuster. For anyone who wasn’t paying attention the day the filibuster was discussed in class, a filibuster is simply a way of stalling or stopping a piece of legislation if you don’t have enough votes to defeat it. A senator gets up and talks about why they are against the bill in question. And talks. And talks. And talks. The only way to stop a filibuster is for 60 senators to vote to stop it. This is known as cloture.
What this means is that thanks to the filibuster, instead of a simple majority of 51 votes to pass legislation, if a filibuster is threatened, it will take 60 votes to pass the legislation. And the 51 vote majority of the Democrats would be useless.
The Democrats have wanted to get rid of the filibuster for years. It’s not in the constitution. It is a Senate rule that was passed in 1806 but not used regularly until the 20th century so it can be rolled back with a simple majority vote. Unless some Republican wants to filibuster it.
McConnell is afraid that Schumer and the Democrats will take this opportunity when they hold a majority to finally get rid of the filibuster, leaving the Republicans with no way to stop legislation that they don’t like.
So like a bratty kid, McConnell is refusing to finalize a power sharing agreement unless Schumer pinky swears that the Democrats will not get rid of the filibuster.
It’s the only leverage that he has left. And a very poor decision in my opinion. Here’s why.
Instead of worrying about arcane stuff like filibusters, McConnell should be looking to the 2022 midterm elections and mapping out a strategy to retake the Senate and the House. The easiest way to do that is to allow the Democrats to hoist themselves on their own petard.
Remember all that socialism that the Republicans swore was going to happen if Biden was elected?
By the way, I loved Republican voters who were so terrified of the Democrats imposing socialism on them while they were enjoying their Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and VA benefits, all programs with a distinct whiff of socialism.
But back to the socialism that Biden and the Democrats are about to foist on the country.
Medicare For All aka the public option in the health insurance marketplace will be strenuously opposed by doctors and hospitals because of the low reimbursement rates of Medicare (how the government keeps costs down).
Republicans can use the scare tactic of rationed healthcare if the public option is adopted.
Allowing the government to negotiate lower drug prices. Vehemently opposed by drug companies who don’t want to give up their obscene profits.
Republicans can use the scare tactic of drug shortages and reduced R&D as drug companies (supposedly) struggle to cope with reduced revenue.
Reinstating the Obama climate regulations. Strenuously opposed by big business who will exaggerate the cost of compliance.
Republicans can use the scare tactic of companies shedding jobs, raising prices and even going out of business if they are forced to comply with onerous regulations.
And those are just the ones off the top of my head.
Mitch, I know that change is hard for senior citizens like yourself but if you want to be an effective leader for your party, you have to be able to adapt. I suggest that you go even further and embrace the change. Use it to your advantage.
The Democrats are handing you all the ammunition that you will need to win big in the 2022 election. And then you won’t have to worry about power sharing agreements, filibusters or hanging on to power by your fingernails.