Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is back home in Kentucky, setting low expectations for the midterm elections. “The wind is going to be in our face,” he told the Kentucky Today editorial board in Louisville Tuesday. In reality, the Senate map in 2018 favors Republicans and it’s going to take a massive Democratic wave to change the Senate majority.
Tellingly, though, McConnell is not focusing on the one legislative thing Republicans have accomplished—the tax scam. That, he says, is reversible if Democrats take back Congress. More likely, he doesn’t want his team running on it because it’s a loser—it’s doing nothing the help the middle class and even the Republican base gets that. So he’s focusing the the real damage the Republicans can do, promising to put his imprint on the nation for generations to come. Judges, that’s what matters.
“I believe that’s the most important thing we’re doing,” McConnell told members of the Kentucky Today editorial board in an interview on Tuesday. “You’ve heard me say before that I thought the decision I made not to fill the Supreme Court vacancy when Justice Scalia died was the most consequential decision I’ve made in my entire public career. The things that will last the longest time, those are my top priorities.”[…]
“It’s noteworthy that when we did comprehensive tax reform 30 years ago, we left it alone for four years before the political winds shifted and we started playing with it again,” he said. “Believe me, the next time the political winds shift, and the other guys are in the ascendancy (he snapped his fingers indicating a rewrite). But they won’t change these judges for a generation.”
McConnell said he reached out to the White House general counsel shortly after Trump’s election, encouraging him to move quickly with nominations of judges in their 40s and 50s.
“I said ‘we’ve got a chance to transform the country in a very significant way for the next generation if we can get our act together,'” McConnell said.
He proved his resolve to do just that in blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court pick of Merrick Garland in the last year of Obama’s term—the “most consequential” decision he says he’s ever made in his career, a decision that’s helped him land his truly abysmal 69 percent disapproval rating. He doesn’t care—he’s not in this for the popularity. He doesn’t care that it’s Trump he’s carrying water for. That it’s Trump nominees he’s cramming the courts with. This is his chance to reverse decades worth of progress for civil rights, for the environment, for women. That’s what matters.
Which is why, for the remaining six months of this session of Congress, Democrats have to use everything at their disposal to shut him down. It’s also why they have to take back the Senate.