Mitch McConnell: American Insurgent

This is Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s statement regarding Congressman Steve King of Iowa (emphasis mine):

“I have no tolerance for such positions and those who espouse these views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms,” McConnell said in a written statement to The Washington Post. “Rep. King’s statements are unwelcome and unworthy of his elected position. If he doesn’t understand why ‘white supremacy’ is offensive, he should find another line of work.

To answer Senator McConnell’s question, perhaps this is why Congressman King doesn’t understand why ‘white supremacy’ is offensive:

This is a picture of Senator Mitch McConnell receiving an award from the John Hunt Morgan Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans taken in the early 1990s at the Big Springs Country Club in Louisville, Kentucky. The picture is posted on the blog of an unrepentant neo-Confederate who posted it to call Senator McConnell out for his hypocrisy (I recommend not clicking across!). Also, it is nice to see people so enthusiastic about the Confederate Navy that they fly the 2nd Confederate naval jack!

I know a lot of folks have been speculating about what Senator McConnell will or won’t do in regard to the shutdown, the President’s desire to pull out of NATO, the President’s hiding the nature, details, and any agreements reached in his conversations with Putin, the President’s tariffs and trade wars, etc. The simple reality is that Senator McConnell will continue to do what he’s been doing every day since January  21, 2009. He’ll either make a lachrymose, more in sorrow than in anger speech from his desk on the Senate floor first thing in the morning where he telegraphs the norms he will break, the traditions he’ll abandon, and the rules he’ll violate regarding whatever issue he’s speaking on and providing heartfelt advice to his Democratic colleagues about what they should and shouldn’t do or he’ll say nothing and just get about breaking those norms, abandoning those traditions, and violating those rules. And he’ll do it quietly knowing full well that it will get little to no coverage by the reporters covering politics in DC or back at home in Kentucky. And he’ll continue to do it, just as he’s done every day since January 21, 2009 when he embarked on a strategy to bring the Republicans back into the majority in the US Senate, because for the past ten years he has paid absolutely no price whatsoever for doing so. Rather he has reaped great rewards. He brought the Republicans back into the majority in the Senate. He kept significant numbers of Federal district and appellate court judgeships open so that a future Republican president could fill them instead of President Obama during whose administration these vacancies came open. He kept a Supreme Court vacancy open so that both a future Republican president could fill it instead of President Obama during whose administration the vacancy occurred and so it could be used as a political weapon during the 2016 presidential and senatorial elections. And he telegraphed during the hearings for Brett Kavanaugh that he’s gearing up to leverage another potential Supreme Court vacancy* in 2019 or 2020 as a political weapon in the 2020 presidential and senatorial elections.

As I wrote back in June 2018 in regard to the lamentations of Senators Corker, Flake, and Collins (emphasis mine):

Senate Majority Leader McConnell really isn’t a politician or like any politician who has ever served as Senate Majority or Minority Leader. Rather than view him as a politician, it is more appropriate to understand Senator McConnell as an insurgent, albeit a non-violent one. He recognizes no legitimacy but his own. When out of power he’ll do whatever is necessary using asymmetric, irregular, and/or unconventional means to achieve power. And once he achieves power he will do whatever he can to achieve his objectives to consolidate his gains as quickly as possible using any means necessary as he believes his actions are self justifying – that his achievement of power justifies his by any means necessary strategy. This is, by the way, the basic argument of the premier Italian fascist (national-syndicalist) theorist Sergio Panunzio, who delineated the fascist theories for the use of political violence and low intensity warfare in the 1920s. As a result, there is no law, rule, tradition, norm, ethic, promise, and/or deal he won’t violate or renege on. This also makes him an unreliable interlocutor and makes it impossible to negotiate with him in good faith as he doesn’t believe in good faith negotiations.

Since Senators Corker, Flake, and Collins, let alone anyone else, cannot negotiate with Senator McConnell in good faith, because Senator McConnell doesn’t do anything in good faith, if they want to get anything done, then they need to rely on their leverage as senators in a very slim Senate majority caucus to force their initiatives through. This means threatening to and/or actually caucusing with the Democrats. The last thing that Senator McConnell wants is to lose control of the Senate. Whether now because of the defections of a pair of his retiring members using it as leverage to achieve their own objectives or in the mid terms because enough voters want a check on the President to override the partisan Republican advantage in this senatorial election cycle. It is why he’s ground everything in the chamber other than handling nominations, specifically judicial nominations, to a halt. It is why he doesn’t want to do the legally required annual budgetary resolution so he can avoid having his members take tough votes before the midterms. And it is why he’s cancelled most of the August recess under the pretense that it is the only way he can move judicial nominees because of what he alleges is Democratic obstruction. Nominations that only exist because he prevented President Obama from seating almost any judicial nominees during his final two years in office. The Democratic minority has no tools to stop these nominations, regardless of what Senator McConnell says because Senator McConnell in conjunction with Senator Grassley has gotten rid of the blue slip rule and refuses to recognize Democratic senators holds on nominees. Senator McConnell’s cancellation of the August recess is really just a thinly veiled attempt to keep incumbent Democratic senators up for reelection off the campaign trail. Every Senate rule, tradition, norm, ethic, and even law (Congressional Budget Act) has been bent or stretched to breaking or just outright ignored by Senator McConnell in his quest to consolidate his power and achieve his revanchist and reactionary objectives. As an insurgent, albeit a non-violent one, Senator McConnell only understands and recognizes the application of leverage and force. Senators Corker, Flake, and Collins have the ability to apply significant leverage and force. The question is whether or not they have the will to do so. The sad reality is the answer is almost certainly not.

Senator McConnell’s calculus, which has been his calculus since January 2009, is that if he’s quiet and boring, even if the political reporters initially cover whatever it is he’s doing, they’ll soon get bored and chase something more exciting. This will, as it has since January 2009, allow him to successfully achieve whatever he was attempting and that had caught the reporters attention. Or something more exciting will happen and distract them.

Open thread!

* I’m expecting, provided Justice Ginsburg completes her recovery as expected and remains healthy, that the administration in conjunction with Leonard Leo from The Federalist Society and Senator McConnell will try to replicate with Justice Thomas what they did in the summer of 2018 with Justice Kennedy. Specifically, they’ll create a retirement and subsequent Supreme Court vacancy during the late summer to early fall of 2020 that the President and Republican senators can campaign for reelection on. Thereby replicating the dynamic that Senator McConnell created and the President leveraged in his campaign that it was necessary to elect him, in this case reelect him, and to reelect the GOP majority in the Senate to ensure that the Democrats don’t appoint the next Supreme Court justice, change the balance of the Supreme Court, and destroy the Constitution and thereby the United States.

145 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    By standing before that flag, Mitch McConnell has openly admitted that he is a traitor.

  2. 2
    Mary G says:

    How can we defeat him? He is shameless. Maybe I will move to Kentucky instead of Maine. He’s way more danger to the republic than Susie Q, and seems smarter than to leave links to Russia lying around for Mueller to find.

  3. 3
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Or a Confederate navy history enthusiast!//

  4. 4
    zhena gogolia says:

    Oh, God bless you, sir, for changing the subject from the previous thread.

  5. 5
    I'll be Frank says:

    as to the * part I can’t help but hear the announcer from Dodgeball “that’s a mighty bold strategy, Cotton.” From your * to whoever’s ear.

  6. 6
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: At this point, the only way to beat him is to get the political reporters to actually pay attention to what he does and stay focused on it, vote him out of office in 2020 when he’s up for reelection, or both. There is no short term fix for this.

  7. 7
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @zhena gogolia: I am not running for president! If nominated I will not run, if elected I will not survive. I will, however, be happy to take a political appointment in DOD or one of the Intel agencies.

  8. 8
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @I’ll be Frank: I hope my analysis of his strategic communication during and immediately after the Kavanaugh hearings is wrong. My analyses are not usually wrong. In this case I’d be happy to be wrong.

  9. 9
    B.B.A. says:

    I’m told that in the ’80s Mitch was one of the main Republicans to oppose the Reagan administration and push for sanctions on South Africa.

    What the hell happened?

  10. 10
    plato says:

    Adam, what do you think of barr’s hedging about making the Mueller’s findings public? Is it even legal to bury the report?

  11. 11
    Wag says:

    God damn it. I hate reading your posts, mostly because you so eloquently give voice to the fears and fevered visions about the GOP that otherwise would rattle around in my brain until they echoed into the deep recesses of my skull

    On the other hand, it is reassuring to know that I’m not alone.

  12. 12
    Ohio Mom says:

    @zhena gogolia: The other thread was boring me to sleep. The last part of this post is giving me an anxiety attack.

    Considering the late hour, I should have turned off my phone sooner.

  13. 13
    WaterGirl says:

    Here’s hoping that for once some of the slime of what McConnell is doing actually lands on him.

    This truly is the McConnell shutdown. McConnell is abdicating his duty by saying he won’t pass anything that Trump isn’t guaranteed to sign. Someone needs to give him a civics lesson about co-equal branches of government. And then smack him upside the head. (not literally)

  14. 14
    Jerry says:


    I’m told that in the ’80s Mitch was one of the main Republicans to oppose the Reagan administration and push for sanctions on South Africa.

    What the hell happened?

    Cocaine is a helluva a drug

  15. 15
    Pogonip says:

    Hi Adam

    If CDC is shut down how safe do you think their specimens of deadly diseases are?

  16. 16

    @Adam L Silverman: You should talk to Baud about that.

  17. 17
    Brachiator says:

    Since Senators Corker, Flake, and Collins, let alone anyone else, cannot negotiate with Senator McConnell in good faith, because Senator McConnell doesn’t do anything in good faith. Every Senate rule, tradition, norm, ethic, and even law (Congressional Budget Act) has been bent or stretched to breaking or just outright ignored by Senator McConnell in his quest to consolidate his power and achieve his revanchist and reactionary objectives.

    Funny how this also applies to Trump.

    I’ve said that the GOP sees itself as the sole legitimate political party in America. I didn’t understand the degree to which McConnell is the Great Enforcer of the GOP agenda.

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @B.B.A.: As his biographer has written, he has no actual principles other than the pursuit of power in order to achieve his two objectives: 1) the removal of all constraints on campaign financing and 2) packing the courts with extremist Federalist Society members so that the courts can ensure the first happens and then by judicial fiat ensure that America is a conservative state and society even if the majority of Americans aren’t and don’t want it to be. From his biographer:

    There is an unusual space in the basement of the University of Louisville library, in the large anteroom to the official archives for Senator Mitch McConnell. The space is called the Civic Education Gallery, but it is, essentially, a kind of shrine to the political career of Mr. McConnell, not unlike the exhibits on Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron you’d find at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    The mere fact of the shrine is curious enough, given that it memorializes a politician who shows no sign of leaving the stage any time soon. What’s most unusual, though, is what it chooses to highlight. There are a few artifacts from Mr. McConnell’s youth — his baseball glove, his honorary fraternity paddle — but most of the exhibits are devoted to the elections Mr. McConnell won, starting with high school and on up through Jefferson County executive and the Senate.

    When I visited the room while researching my 2014 biography on Mr. McConnell, I was struck by what was missing: exhibits on actual governing accomplishments from the Senate majority leader’s four decades in elected office. That absence confirmed my thesis that Mr. McConnell, far more even than other politicians, was motivated by the game of politics — winning elections and rising in the leadership ranks, achieving power for power’s sake — more than by any lasting policy goals.

    Well, that was then. Four years later, it is becoming increasingly clear that Mitch McConnell is creating a legacy for himself, and it’s a mighty grand one.

    Mr. McConnell has created the world in which we are now living. Donald Trump dominates our universe — and now has the power to fill the second Supreme Court seat in two years. Mitch McConnell, who has promised a vote on whomever the president nominates “this fall,” is the figure who was quietly making it all possible, all along.

    First, there was Mr. McConnell’s vigorous defense, going back to the early 1990s, of the role of big money in American politics, which would help Mr. Trump not so much in terms of funding his campaign, but in helping shape the conditions for his appeal.

    The abortion and union rulings had an ironic resonance, as far as Mr. McConnell goes. In the 1970s, when he ran for county executive in Louisville, he secured the pivotal endorsement of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. by pledging to back collective bargaining for public employees (a promise that went unfulfilled), and while in office he worked effectively behind the scenes to protect abortion rights locally.

    But that was a long time ago, before Mr. McConnell saw the rightward swing of the Reagan revolution and decided to hop on board for his own political preservation as a Southern Republican. These days, Mr. McConnell has made explicit, with taunting tweets among other things, that he views long-term conservative control of the Supreme Court as his crowning achievement. It’s not hard to see why: Holding a long-term majority on the court greatly aids his highest cause — Republican victories in future elections — as recent rulings on voting rights and gerrymandering demonstrated once again.

    Much more at the link.

  19. 19
    gene108 says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Kentucky wasn’t even in the Confederarcy. They are just cosplay Confederates.

  20. 20
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Yeah, it may be time to sign off. The shutdown is giving me enough anxiety because I see no good way out.

  21. 21
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @plato: It is not. Unless he has the Special Counsel statute and regs rewritten, if he tries to bury all or part of it, the Special Counsel is obligated to report both that reality and his findings to Congress. At that point the Democratic majority in the House can release it.

  22. 22

    @WaterGirl: It is McConnell’s shutdown, but nobody but us political geeks know who the hell the Senate Majority Leader is. So saying it’s McConnell’s shutdown would fall on deaf ears since the vast majority of folk don’t know the context.

  23. 23
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @WaterGirl: I’d be happy to do that literally. He’s got a serious Backpfeifengesicht.

  24. 24
    plato says:


    I didn’t understand the degree to which McConnell is the Great Enforcer of the GOP agenda.

    mcconnell was there long before the turd even showed up. He is the prime architect burn to it to the ground gop agenda.

  25. 25
    Wag says:


    (not literally)

    Why not?
    The Lunantics Have Taken Over the Asylum

  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Wag: Think how I feel writing them!

    And thanks for the kind words.

  27. 27
    WaterGirl says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Does that translate to a face that wants to be hit? Or something like that. IIRC, i heartily agree.

  28. 28
    plato says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks. That’s reassuring.

  29. 29
    The Dangerman says:

    More attention should be paid to Captain Sullenberger on this 10th Anniversary (great man, should run for office) and we can try to forget McConnell and Trump. Try being the operative word there.

  30. 30
    WaterGirl says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Sad but true.

  31. 31
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: He is abdicating his duty, but his calculus, which has been his calculus since January 2009, is that if he’s quiet and boring, even if the political reporters initially cover it, they’ll soon get bored and chase something more exciting. Or something more exciting will happen and distract them.

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:


    And yet conservatives know exactly who Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are, because they make them the subject of the two minutes hate every singlw day.

  33. 33

    A handy reference for those staring around in wonder at how things got this bad.

    Harry Reid, miss ya man.

  34. 34
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @WaterGirl: “A face in need of a backhand” is probably as close as you can get.

  35. 35

    Damn that is a brilliant description of Mitch, thanks for reposting!

  36. 36

    @Villago Delenda Est: And here’s the kicker: he doesn’t fucking care.

  37. 37
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    packing the courts with extremist Federalist Society members so that the courts can ensure the first happens and then by judicial fiat ensure that America is a conservative state and society even if the majority of Americans aren’t and don’t want it to be.

    Wouldn’t there come a point where people would become so angry and sick of that reality that they would begin to revolt against entrenched minority rule? How sustainable does Mitch think that would be? We’re not the PRC. Speaking of which I found this Foreign Policy article on Xi Jinping’s regime:

    Great Leap Backward! Or, Maybe China Won’t Be a Superpower After All.

  38. 38
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Pogonip: I’m sure maintaining those in a secure environment is considered emergency essential work.

  39. 39
    gene108 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Political reporters don’t seem able to follow two stories at once. They are all talking about the same thing at the same time and then move onto the next thing.

    I don’t know why it is so hard for some of them to cover Trump, some to cover Dems, and some to cover McConnell

  40. 40
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    Because they’re all chasing that big scoop. That and they’re fundamentally lazy.

  41. 41
    plato says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    Wouldn’t there come a point where people would become so angry and sick of that reality that they would begin to revolt against entrenched minority rule?

    You mean the people who swelled the rethug senate majority even after two years of totus thug? It’s a pipe dream.

  42. 42
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @plato: Read this thread, it is written by Neil Katyal who wrote the rules for Special Counsels and their investigations:

  43. 43
    sukabi says:

    @Mary G: might be time for “lock out” protests at all drumpf properties and all McConnell’s residences / offices and any businesses he / his family might have.

  44. 44
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: We’re talking about Americans, right? Until or unless there’s nothing being broadcast on the TV, you can’t buy beer, and you can’t get cheap food, Americans aren’t going to revolt over anything. And even then I’m not sure.

  45. 45
    plato says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Short Answer: It will be public.

    Short & sweet to hear. Thanks again.

  46. 46
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    Nothing lasts forever and often the impossible only seems impossible. Alt history bluffs have jokingly described real history as being very unrealistic and improbable. We have no idea what the future holds and what the final straw will be. All I know is that minority rule isn’t sustainable forever. Autocracies tend to be very unstable, a consequence of concentrating uncheckable power in the hands of a few, those few that deserve to rule the least.

  47. 47
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @gene108: It is worth than that. It has been reported that Murdoch coordinates with the President every month on the messaging to be broadcast at Fox. I’m sure Murdoch is also in regular contact with McConnell.

  48. 48
    gene108 says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    The majority of Americans are concentrated on the coasts. As long as states like Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, etc, remain solidly Republican, given the way our government is set up, a determined minority can hold up the will of the majority.

    Especially when the minority have the courts on their side.

    Happened before.

    The only real issue, with regards to changing this, over the next 20 years, is if millennials and those younger, in the consistently Republican states, start being more liberal and either push the Republicans left or vote for Democrats.

    If all the liberal young folks move to the coasts or Chicago or other urban areas, we will be where we are now.

  49. 49
    waratah says:

    @Adam L Silverman: my understanding is that if he passes the house bill and Trump vetos it they can override his veto. The political reporters should be constantly asking him this question.
    Would a major call in our congress people and senators to do this work?

  50. 50
    plato says:

    @gene108: Yup, the only way to beat out the worsening trend of governance by rethugs is for the blue states to form their own union.

  51. 51
  52. 52
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @waratah: You are correct. You can call your senators, but if they’re Republican, they won’t do anything but, perhaps, publicly grouse a bit. McConnell has complete control of his caucus. He controls the money, he controls the committee assignments, he actually runs all of the committees – the committee chairs are merely figure heads. And he’ll continue to do so and his caucus will continue to let him as long as he’s successful. It is going to take something catastrophic happening because of the shutdown to get McConnell to take action. And even then he may not if he thinks he can leverage the catastrophe while maintaining the shutdown to his own advantage.

  53. 53
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sukabi: I’m aware.

  54. 54
    plato says:

    Tusk: Just cancel the fucking thing, it was a stupid idea anyway.

  55. 55
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Oh, God bless you, sir, for changing the subject from the previous thread

    Seriously. What a cluster it was down there. And way too early, IMO.

  56. 56
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:


    Especially when the minority have the courts on their side.

    Then ignore the courts when they make plainly awful bad decisions. As much Andrew Jackson was a monster, we can learn one thing from him from this quote:

    Paraphrasing, “The Supreme Court has made their decision. Now let them enforce it!”

    If hundreds of millions of people resist this undemocratic, authoritarian regime, resist it every chance they can get, then it will fall eventually.

  57. 57
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: Right, that is a recipe for effective democratic governance.

  58. 58
    gene108 says:


    Republicans have rich backers, who have spent decades willing to burn millions of dollars in unprofitable media ventures and think tanks, in order to influence public opinion. And then along came right-wing talk radio, and later Fox News.

    There’s a whole ecosystem set up to reward dedicated party apparatchiks. G Gordon Liddy has had a long running radio program. Ollie North has had his own TV show on one of the Fox News channels. Two of the people in the Brooks Brothers riot are on the Supreme Court.

    Liberals don’t have the deep pockets to invest in media like that or prop up loyal flunkies

  59. 59
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    What other alternative is there? I want democracy to prevail as much as anyone. I even think there’s a decent chance it will. But under such a scenario as Adam outlined, i can’t see a way out without massive civil disobedience. The system currently in place is strangling us and allowing a revanchist minority to dictate policy to the rest of us. The US under an autocratic, oligarchic GOP one-party regime is a threat to the planet. We would be a nuclear armed fascist state. Almost nobody could stop us. Do you have any idea how terrifying that possibility is?

  60. 60
    Steeplejack says:

    Someone posted this downstairs (sorry, can’t remember who): a very interesting thread on the murky finances of McConnell and his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

  61. 61
    gene108 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Rupert Murdoch has done more to poison the politics of the English speaking world than any other person in history.

  62. 62
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steeplejack: You mean her family’s smuggling operation?

  63. 63
    Renie says:

    Exiting my lurking to add my .02 cents. McConnell is the worst thing to happen to democracy since the end of WWII.

  64. 64
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @gene108: Pretty much.

  65. 65
    plato says:

    Today Barr told me, "there are two different reports… Under the current regulations, the Special Counsel report is confidential. The report that goes public would be a report by the Attorney General." The American people deserve the Mueller Report, not the Barr Report.

    — Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) January 16, 2019

    Barr wouldn’t even pledge to tell Congress what he edited/deleted from the Special Counsel report before he shares it with Congress & the American people. Not a reassuring pledge of transparency.

    — Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) January 16, 2019

  66. 66
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Renie: Welcome. No need to hide.

  67. 67
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @waratah: Overriding a Donald veto would create an immediate crisis of the vile shitgibbon having the conniption of the century. A wounded animal is very dangerous.

  68. 68
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    What other alternative is there?

    Hard fucking work, Day after day. Getting back to work after a setback. Nothing glamorous or Wolverine-like. Show up every day and do what you can. What do you think caused what happened in November of 2018?

  69. 69
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @gene108: Newt Gingrich coming up in second place.

  70. 70
    Suzanne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: The other alternative is Senate Minority Leader McConnell. So let’s stop freaking out over Gillibrand and get to work.

  71. 71
    gene108 says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    Jackson’s relocation of the Cherokee to Oklahoma is not something to emulate.

    The post-Civil Warnand pre-1936 Supreme Courts continuously held back social progress on abstract legal theory. States would come up with something like the minim wage and the SCOTUS would strike it down.

    That and the obstruction of Dixiecrats post-ww2 is more what I was thinking of.

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    We have had massive civil disobedience in the past. It is the only thing that has held this country together. You had labor strike and riots for better pay and working conditions from the 1870’s to the 1930’s. You had the women’s suffrage movement that’s took 72 years from Seneca Falls to the 19th Amendment. You had the Civil Rights Movement, anti-Vietnam War movement, etc.

    Civil disobedience is the pressure release valve that allows social change to happen without violent revolutions. They are long, and the protestors often meet with deadly violence from the government, but change can happen.

    I think we are seeing a new, maybe gentler, era of civil disobedience with things like the Women’s March, #metoo, March for our Lives, etc.

  72. 72
    gene108 says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Overriding a Donald veto would fracture the fuck out of the Republican Party and leave them all vulnerable to a primary challenger.

    That is why they cower

  73. 73
    debbie says:

    I’ve always thought McConnell was Cheney’s soulmate.

  74. 74
    Adam L Silverman says:

    She seems nice:

  75. 75
    Ohio Mom says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: Did you tell your parents yet? (Tapping foot with arms crossed)

  76. 76
    Jay says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    “The US under an autocratic, oligarchic GOP one-party regime is a threat to the planet. We would be a nuclear armed fascist state. Almost nobody could stop us.”

    The flaw in the evil plan is ReThugs.

    It requires a functioning State and Economy, something far beyond the skills of the current crop of ReThugs, and their current and up and coming brain eating trust.

    The US would quickly become a Russia, and the World would move on,

    Then a Hungary, and the World would move on,

    Then a North Korea, and the world would move on.

    Even managing North Korea takes more skill in governance than the ReThugs have.

  77. 77
  78. 78
    Jay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Double yup, 👍👍👍👍👍

  79. 79
    eric says:

    Trump may discount CNN and polls, but McConnell is less likely to do so…

    (CNN)During the longest government shutdown in US history, President Donald Trump has been losing support among those who may be his strongest supporters — white Americans who don’t have college degrees.

    Among this group, only 45% said they approved of the job Trump is doing as President, according to a recent CNN poll conducted by SSRS. That is the lowest level of support among this subgroup by 1 percentage point in CNN’s surveys and a dip from a poll conducted in early December, before the partial shutdown, when 54% of whites without college degrees approved of his job as President and 39% disapproved.
    The dip is notable since among whites who hold college degrees, Trump’s ratings are largely unchanged in the last month and remain sharply negative — 64% disapprove and 32% approve.
    This trend is backed up by a new Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday. Approval for the President remained somewhat stable between its mid-December poll and now among whites without college degrees (down from 56% to 53%), but disapproval increased from 37% to 43%. That is going from a net 19% positive approval to a net 10% for Trump, a 9-point loss.

  80. 80
    Millard Filmore says:


    this article that posits that they will use the shutdown to sell off resources / land while no one is there to manage the processes.

    So we are well on the way to becoming Russia?

  81. 81
    Brachiator says:


    Liberals don’t have the deep pockets to invest in media like that or prop up loyal flunkies

    Not too sure about that. Despite right wing propaganda, liberal billionaires don’t seem to have a desire to control the world or to return it to some putrid idea of past glory.

  82. 82
    trollhattan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Mother! of something.

  83. 83
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @debbie: you were correct (in the Blue Ash meet up thread)

  84. 84
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sukabi: @Millard Filmore: Except that isn’t what is happening. Had the shutdown not happened, this would be going on right now. The only difference is that the people working on it are being forced to do so without pay. The states effected, as well as the appropriate conservation and environmental groups and organizations, are not in shutdown, are paying attention, and will move to stop a lot of this stuff in the courts. Just as they would if this was being done and these parts of the government weren’t in shutdown.

    I like Kendzior. Her actual professional work, in the regions she’s done the research in, is excellent. Her ability to pull that expertise and apply it to how the US government works and how US politics work is not always excellent. Moreover, her defeatist attitude, especially as it is contagious, only helps the President and his enablers in what they’re trying to do.

  85. 85
    sgrAstar says:

    @gene108: I’ve been teaching at a big red state university for the past few years. In my experience, the kidz are progressive and committed. Their parents are in for a major, major shock in the next few years.

  86. 86
    B.B.A. says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Is there actually anything to it, or are you just dunking on Blankenship? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

  87. 87
    Brachiator says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yikes!
    From the HuffPo story…

    “Moral misconduct which violates the bona fide occupational qualifications for employees includes, but is not limited to, such behaviors as the following: heterosexual activity outside of marriage (e.g., premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex), homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female, sexual harassment, use or viewing of pornographic material or websites,” says the application.

    The application says that the school believes “marriage unites one man and one woman” and that “a wife is commanded to submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ.” The application asks potential employees to explain their view of the “creation/evolution debate.”

  88. 88
    Eolirin says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Doesn’t this leave the Republican caucus extremely vulnerable to something happening to McConnell? If he loses an election, succumbs to illness or indictment, no one would have any idea how to do a god damn thing.

    I get why McConnell is for it, but he’s old and can’t continue for that much longer one way or another. How are they going to deal with his absence?

  89. 89
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Ohio Mom:
    I did. I told my mom. She wasn’t very happy with me. She impressed upon me the importance of knowing my surroundings before backing up. In my defense, I think the guy had just pulled in as I started backing up.

  90. 90
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @trollhattan: I’m pretty sure she’s not the one submitting to authority in that relationship. The Vice President might thinks that’s the case, but I seriously doubt it.

  91. 91
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @B.B.A.: Who’s Blankenship? And I’m not being snarky.

  92. 92
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    i can’t see a way out without massive civil disobedience

    Never happen in the US. Americans have neither the stomach nor the stamina.

    I am very (*very*) familiar with the events of the Orange Revolution and the Maidan movement. Sorry to be blunt, but Americans can’t pull off that level of sustained energy.

  93. 93
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Eolirin: There’s enough senators with enough experience that they know how things are supposed to work or should work. My guess is that they will never function that way again. The Republican party, now that it has consolidated after the parties resorted themselves from the late 60s through the late 90s/early 00s, functions like a parliamentary party. The problem is we don’t have a parliament, we have a Congress.

  94. 94
    sgrAstar says:

    @gene108: liberals def have the $. Question is, do they have the motivation.

  95. 95
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:


    That and the obstruction of Dixiecrats post-ww2 is more what I was thinking of.

    Well, that’s not so scary then. Sorry for freaking out. I need to stop doing that.

  96. 96
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    What did you think of the Foreign Policy piece I linked too, btw?

  97. 97
    Steeplejack says:

    Barr suggested in his hearing today that the Mueller report might not be made public.

    In a back-and-forth with Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Barr threw cold water on the notion that Mueller’s report might be made public.

    “As the rules stand now, the rules I think say the special counsel will prepare a summary report on any prosecutive or declination decisions, and that shall be confidential and be treated as any other declination or prosecutive material within the department,” Barr said.

    Declination memos are written by Justice Department officials when they decline to file charges against individuals, essentially ending an investigation. Those memos are held very closely inside the government and not released to the public. By comparing any Mueller report to a declination memo or a prosecution memo, Barr’s answer suggested the long-awaited report from the special counsel may not see the light of day.

    Besides that report, Barr said, the attorney general is “responsible for notifying and reporting certain information upon the conclusion to the investigation.”

    Near the end of the hearing, Barr drove home what might be the biggest revelation of the day: Mueller’s report might not be made public.

    The statement came in response to questions from Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.), who said he was still confused about Barr’s earlier testimony on the fate of the Mueller report. He hypothesized that Mueller had written a report and given it to Barr.

    Under Justice Department rules, Kennedy asked, “What happens next?”

    Barr responded: “Under the current rules, that report is supposed to be confidential and treated as the prosecution and declination documents in any other criminal case, and then the attorney general, as I understand the rules, would report to Congress about the conclusion of the investigation. And I believe there may be discretion there about what the attorney general can put in that report.”

    “So you would make a report to Congress?” Kennedy asked.

    “Yes,” Barr responded.

    “Based on the report that you’ve received?” Kennedy asked.

    “Yes,” Barr said.

    The upshot is one that will probably worry Democrats: Barr had essentially suggested that Mueller’s findings would be filtered through the attorney general, who would decide what Congress and the public would learn. Barr had previously promised that his goal would be transparency, though he seemed to be managing expectations about a full airing of Mueller’s findings.

  98. 98
    Eolirin says:

    @Gin & Tonic: The abolistionists, labor movement, women’s suffrage and civil rights movement, don’t count I guess?

  99. 99
    eemom says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:


    Unfun fact: eedad and I met two nice German ladies a couple of years ago while on vacation in Costa Rica, and they’d never heard that word. ☹️

  100. 100
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Eolirin: The most recent of those was a half-century ago. Times change.

  101. 101
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @eemom: so you punched them in the face?

  102. 102
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: I read it when it was first published. I think it is well researched and written.

  103. 103
  104. 104
    Eolirin says:

    @Gin & Tonic: That goes in both directions though. That complacency you see can just as easily disappear due to shifting circumstance.

  105. 105
  106. 106
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Didn’t know that. Not sure I’ve told you this before, but thanks for the assessments you provide us with. I like the perspective that you bring to BJ with your expertise in national security and foreign policy matters.

  107. 107
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Sounds like a plan.

  108. 108
    TS (the original) says:

    Thank you so much Adam – why analysis such as this is NOT in the MSM highlights how far the US has moved from its origins and how much the media will support anything – as long as the GOP is leading the charge.

  109. 109
    Millard Filmore says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    I did. I told my mom. She wasn’t very happy with me. She impressed upon me the importance of knowing my surroundings before backing up.

    In your defense, 3 times last month I was backing up … and I do this slowly, after whipping my head around twice to be sure no other cars are moving. Some dipshit who had to see me moving out decided that there was still room. Well, room to move into position so that I back into his car. Grrrrr. I managed to stop in time. The third time it was blind luck, as I stomped on the brake and got only half the pedal. The other half was the accelerator. A panicked readjustment later and Good God. I don’t know how I missed him.

    Goku, I understand your predicament. For everyone else, if you see a car backing up, DO NOT PASS.

  110. 110
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: Thanks for the kind words.

    The issues addressed in the article are interesting. The question is whether Xi can consolidate power, coup proof himself, and not have it create a situation that he actually doesn’t want to happen. He’s restructured the military and military chain of command to consolidate power. He’s attempting to coup proof himself by leveraging the belt and road initiative to continue economic growth. The PRC’s military is also heavily involved with the belt and road initiative. So all of his endeavors are intertwined. Only time will tell what happens. It is also important to remember that Xi can’t control everything.

  111. 111
    Eolirin says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I meant more, who steps into the power vacuum, and how effective can they be if they’ve all pretty much been in the habit of letting McConnell do everything for over a decade?

    Like, isn’t part of the point of having things like committee chairs to get people used to running things so they have the experience necessary to move up in the ranks? And there’s an analog for that even in parliamentary systems, yeah?

    If McConnell is in control of all of that how does he properly groom a replacement?

  112. 112
    Jeffro says:

    Where is the business-led #SpeakUp or #EndTheTrumpdown movement? Where is the #TariffsBankruptingMe movement? Where is the #SensibleImmigrationReform movement by American farmers and restaurants?

    More to the point: DEMS, why aren’t you holding a press conference every damn day to ask these questions???

  113. 113
    Searcher says:

    @waratah: What I want to know is, why isn’t the Senate amending the House bill with Republican demands and sending it back to the House? Don’t they, you know, have to do something?

  114. 114
    Yarrow says:

    If he doesn’t understand why ‘white supremacy’ is offensive, he should find another line of work.”

    He likes that phrase. Here he is on the tax bill from 2017:

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., insisted Americans would respond positively to the tax bill.

    “If we can’t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work,” he said.

    I agree they should find other lines of work. But it’s a hollow statement from McConnell. It means nothing.

  115. 115
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TS (the original): You’re quite welcome. And thanks for the kind words.

  116. 116
    Mike in NC says:

    Mitch — Trump’s bitch — needs to be invited to a necktie party.

  117. 117
    Eolirin says:

    @Searcher: Because the house passed the senate bills from the last congress, and it already represents what the republican senators were willing to accept. There aren’t any additional demands except for Wall funding, and that’s already a no go, and also unpopular.

  118. 118
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Eolirin: The GOP chairs basically run the committees in that they do the scut work. All the important decisions are made by McConnell and dictated to them. They’re committee chairs in the Senate, they’re just not independent committee chairs. Or semi-independent.

    Also, I’m not sure he cares about a replacement.

  119. 119
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Searcher: They don’t have to do anything. The Senate is often referred to as the place legislation goes to die. The majority leader controls the calendar and what does or does not come to the floor.

  120. 120
    Eolirin says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Ah, I see, that makes much more sense. I’m still curious if they have anyone that can credibly succeed at replacing him though. It sounds like it requires a tremendous amount of buy in from a lot of stakeholders.

    They are gonna be in a world of hurt once he’s gone if he isn’t grooming a replacement.

  121. 121
    Duane says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Heard Mike Pence on RW radio tonite (yes, I know) speaking of wall and shutdown.
    The lies he told were blatant and numerous, and of course easily refuted, but it’s accepted by so many, and spread by the MSM.
    If he said ” The American People” once, he said it twenty times. The fascist propaganda and all the enablers are sickening and have to be stopped.

  122. 122
    sukabi says:

    @Steeplejack: not sure Barr actually knows the current rules. He may be under the impression the special counsel rules are the same as they were during Nixon, Reagan and GHWB.

    adding, he doesn’t seem to know what the emoluments clause is for.

  123. 123
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Eolirin: Cornyn, Thune, Graham, and several others have been there long enough and served in enough leadership positions that they could do so if necessary.

  124. 124
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Duane: He’s as oleaginous as Ted Cruz.

  125. 125
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sukabi: Or the Presidential Records Act.

  126. 126
    Mandalay says:

    A very early contender for TIME’s Person of the Year in 2019?….

    Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, who was granted asylum in Canada, said she was physically and mentally abused by her family since the age of 16, forcing her to risk her life and flee the kingdom…

    Mohammed, who has dropped “al-Qunun” from her name after learning about her family disowning her, said she was beaten up for not praying and locked in the house for six months for cutting her hair short.

    “I was exposed to physical violence, persecution, oppression, threats to be killed,” she said. “I felt that I could not achieve my dreams that I wanted as long as I was still living in Saudi Arabia.

    “It’s daily oppression,” Mohammed added. “We are treated as an object, like a slave. We could not make decisions about what we want.”

    Although she is now in Canada, I suspect that her life is still in danger.

  127. 127
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mandalay: I keep meaning to do a post on her.

  128. 128
    eemom says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Perhaps s/he means minelord murderer Don Blankenship who couldn’t even win a republican primary in WV? Don’t know what that has to do with smuggling, though.

  129. 129
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @eemom: Your guess is as good as mine.

  130. 130
  131. 131
    Sebastian says:


    They might have been from Southern Germany where it’s called Watschengsicht.

  132. 132
    sukabi says:

    @eemom: think he had a campaign ad last go round that slammed “c0caine mitch”

  133. 133
    B.B.A. says:

    @eemom: One of his campaign ads referred to Elaine Chao’s father’s company being involved in drug smuggling, in his typically incoherent fashion. I figured it for far-right fever swamp conspiracy theorizing. Maybe not.

  134. 134
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sukabi: I am aware of what they’re doing.

    Again, had there been no shutdown, those Federal employees would be working on this right now anyway, they’d just be getting paid. They were going to try to work those lease auctions regardless. The states that will oppose this, which is basically FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, DE, MD, NY, CT, MA, ME, AL, MS, and LA will be prepared to challenge the leases and the auctions in court, just as they would have if this was being done without these agencies being shutdown. As will the conservation and environmental groups. The administration was going to try do this right now regardless of whether these agencies were open or in shutdown.

    Finally, this is an illegal call back. US Federal code is very specific about what is and is not essential work and which positions and functions can and cannot be deemed essential. Which will only help the states and the environmental organizations challenge whatever is done in the courts.

  135. 135
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sukabi: @B.B.A.: Now it makes sense. Basically, the Chao’s shipping company functions by the leave of the PRC. That means they ship both licit and illicit goods. How do you think all that embargoed stuff gets to North Korea? It is transferred off of transport ships originating in the PRC at sea to ships from the DPRK.

  136. 136
    B.B.A. says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I thought the Chaos were from Taiwan, not PRC.

  137. 137
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Brachiator: These assholes need to be fed to lions.

  138. 138
    ruemara says:

    I have to be honest. It’s why I think they should all be prosecuted for every law broken and for sedition.

  139. 139
    Aleta says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Her ability to pull that expertise and apply it to how the US government works and how US politics work is not always excellent.

    I don’t read her as much as you, so it’d be helpful to me (if you ever had time) to be given an example of the specifically. I completely understand if you don’t have time for it though. I actually think that example might be one way to understand US politics better for people like me who avoided learning about it the first time around. Instead I see myself trying to interpret politics by analogy to my other experiences, and I realize it’s a shallow approach.

  140. 140
    Aleta says:

    @Aleta: edit : “example of the specifically” = example of (her doing that) that specifically

    My mind is fried, after another day of hair on fire whenever I check the news.

  141. 141
    Bostonian says:

    So… on that plaque, in that little medallion thingy, what exactly is that supposed to be?

  142. 142
    Caracal says:

    Well to be fair to McConnell … oh wait, never mind.

  143. 143
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Farbie Neo-Confederate idiot doesn’t know the difference between the Southern Cross and the Confederate Flag. Then again racists equals ignorant and stupid.

  144. 144
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @B.B.A.: The Chaos are, but they ship out of Shanghai. Nothing goes into or out of Shanghai without the PRC’s approval.

  145. 145
    Matt says:

    There’s 0% chance that McConnell didn’t know exactly where that money the NRA was sloshing around in 2016 came from. He may have been an insurgent before that, but since then he’s been a co-conspirator.

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