Old and busted: Cocaine Mitch! New hotness: Gloat-caine Mitch! The Senate Majority Leader’s office alerted the media that McConnell planned to use his time on the floor today to declare the Russia-collusion “case closed,” but that didn’t stop McConnell from having some fun first. Before he gets to the White House talking point du jour, McConnell reads chapter and verse of Democratic denials on Russian aggression from 2009-2016:
It was "heartening" to see Democrats awakened to the "dangers of Russian aggression" during the Mueller investigation, McConnell said, putting at least some of the blame for Russia's interference in the 2016 election on the Obama administration https://t.co/IS74b6OEn3 pic.twitter.com/4n9iKxDA1c
— POLITICO (@politico) May 7, 2019
In coming to the main event, McConnell accused Democrats of trying to beat a dead horse for their own political benefit. “The facts let them down,” McConnell said of Russia-hysteria-invested Democrats, part of the “outrage-industrial complex.” McConnell even brought up the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief. The special counsel has concluded an investigation that McConnell’s “Democratic colleagues” argued for almost two years was so vitally important to the country that Congress needed to rewrite Article II of the Constitution to protect Mueller. It’s now “case closed,” McConnell concludes:
On whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, McConnell said "the special counsel's finding was clear: Case closed…But my Democratic colleagues seem to be working through the five stages of grief." https://t.co/IS74b6OEn3 pic.twitter.com/6RkCQe5wDM
— POLITICO (@politico) May 7, 2019
And in fact, McConnell argued, a refusal to put this aside and get back to business would accomplish precisely what the Russians wanted all along:
“Remember, Russia set out to sow discord, to create chaos in American politics and undermine confidence in our democracy,” McConnell said. “But on that front, given the left’s total fixation on delegitimizing the president — the president Americans chose and shooting any messenger who tells them inconvenient truths, I’m afraid the Russians hardly needed to lift a finger.”
Declaring “case closed,” McConnell added: “This ought to be good news for everyone but my Democratic colleagues seem to be publicly working through the five stages of grief.”
The Washington Post then sniffs that McConnell’s not much interested in legislating either:
McConnell’s forceful rhetoric comes as the fallout from Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election shows no signs of ending anytime soon. Separately, regarding McConnell’s call for a focus on the legislative agenda, the Senate has spent much of the last few months on nominations and little time on legislation.
It seems amazing that the Washington Post would need an explanation of this, but confirmations of presidential appointments are a normal part of the Senate’s job. It’s part of the “elections have consequences” part of democracy. In fact, it’s far more a part of the “elections have consequences” part of democracy than congressional hearings aimed at overturning elections are.
McConnell’s speech won’t change many minds, but then again, Senate speeches rarely have that effect anyway. It does make clear that the Republican strategy for dealing with House Democrats is to shame them back to paying attention to constituents rather than their own personal distaste for Trump.