Mitch McConnell was speaking softly, but the message came through loud and clear.
Apparently frustrated by politically fueled Democratic intransigence when it comes to a new coronavirus relief package, the Senate majority leader took to the floor on Wednesday to denounce Democratic leaders in both houses of Congress for a months-long pattern of obstruction.
But it was his take on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that really nailed it down.
In his eight-minute address, McConnell recounted the history of congressional COVID relief efforts over the past eight months, making the point that Democrats led by Pelosi and her weaselly party counterpart in the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, had stood consistently stood in the way of aid to American citizens.
Check out McConnell’s speech here. The constant restatements of Democratic rejection gets repetitive after a while, but it’s a useful reminder of how the country got to be where it is today.
The point of the Democratic tactics, as Pelosi basically admitted last week, was to keep President Donald Trump from earning a “win,” and thus boosting his re-election hopes.
The fact that such a “win” might have benefited Pelosi’s own political party, sparing it a stunning loss of seats in the House, apparently never occurred to the master strategist from San Francisco.
The fact that it would have been the right thing to do for millions of Americans slammed by the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis clearly never was part of a Democratic plan that had only one goal: defeating Donald Trump.
After ticking off the numerous times Pelosi had rejected efforts to negotiate — holding out for a morally and financially indefensible bailout of Democrat-run states — McConnell got to the heart of the matter.
“And just yesterday, the speaker and the Democratic leader brushed off two different overtures in the space of about two hours,” McConnell said, about the 4:30 mark.
“I suggested that both sides drop what seem to be the most controversial demand in the eyes of our counterparts. Democrats continue to oppose common-sense legal protections that university presidents have been begging for and Republicans see no need to send huge sums of money to state and local governments whose tax revenues have actually gone up.
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“Negotiating 101 suggests we set those two controversial pieces aside and plow ahead with the huge pile of things that we agree on. But that would require both sides to truly want an outcome. Just hours after Democrats poured cold water on that, Secretary Mnuchin tried another new tack, and sent over an offer. In a bizarre and schizophrenic press release, the speaker and the leader said the administration was ‘obstructing negotiations,’ by negotiating.” he continued.
Aside from the basic unfairness McConnell was dealing true schizophrenics by tarring them with Pelosi’s performance, McConnell’s description of the statement released by Pelosi and Schumer fit the bill.
It was certainly an abnormal interpretation of reality (one of the conditions of schizophrenia, according to the Mayo Clinic).
“While it is progress that Leader McConnell has signed off on a $916 billion offer that is based off of the bipartisan framework, the President’s proposal must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan Congressional talks that are underway,” the statement said.
“Members of the House and Senate have been engaged in good-faith negotiations and continue to make progress.”
In most worlds, what that statement describes isn’t obstruction. It as, as McConnell put it, “negotiating” — something politicians, including the president, do routinely.
And then there’s the matter of “good faith.”
Democrats haven’t demonstrated anything approaching good faith since even before Trump was sworn in.
And Pelosi has the gall to accuse McConnell of lacking “good faith”?
All of that might be considered inside baseball when it comes to politics, but as McConnell pointed out near the end of his address, there are real-world consequences to congressional inaction that a coddled multimillionaire from California won’t ever know.
She doesn’t even show good faith to her constituents.
“We have a speaker of the House in San Francisco who has spent months ensuring that unemployed Californians can’t have jobless aid extended, and California restaurants can’t get another round of [Paycheck Protection Program funds] unless the governor of California gets a federal slush fund out of proportion to any proven need,” McConnell said, about the 6:40 mark.
“Are struggling Americans saying, ‘thank goodness the Democrats are bravely — bravely — blocking help for me and my family unless my state politicians get some more cash?’”
“I’d say not. Our people need more help.”
Every sane American understands that.
Unfortunately, that apparently does not include the likes of Nancy Pelosi and her party.
And that’s one message Americans need to hear.