Following politics, you never know what you’re going to get, but I have to say that I didn’t have Mitch McConnell holding a joint event with Joe Biden to celebrate the president’s “economic plan” on today’s bingo card.
According to The Washington Examiner, though, that’s going down in Kentucky on Wednesday.
The visit from the president comes after McConnell joined Democrats in voting for legislation that has drawn a rebuke from former President Donald Trump and certain conservative Republicans. Joining the president and the Kentucky senator will be Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D), and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), according to a White House official.
“The President will deliver remarks on how his economic plan is rebuilding our infrastructure, creating good-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, and revitalizing communities left behind,” the brief advisory from the White House read.
This is one of those articles where I could not type another word, and the point would be made. In fact, reading that blurb left me staring blankly at the wall, but I’ll do my best to offer some analysis because my editors wouldn’t like me writing a 200-word piece.
Let me start with a disclaimer because I know what the pushback will be to any criticism I offer. This isn’t a matter of simple civility. I’m not suggesting that Mitch McConnell has to hate Joe Biden with the passion of a thousand suns and treat him like dirt in public (though that’s exactly what Democrats did to Donald Trump). I actually think it’s nice and pretty harmless that Ted Cruz and Kyrsten Sinema get along, for example.
But politics is not a social club. It’s one thing to respect decorum in how you deal with the opposing party. It’s another to join hands with an opposing president in a joint event to celebrate his economic agenda. That’s patently absurd for a GOP Senate leader to do. It makes no sense at all. Could you imagine Chuck Schumer going down to Florida to celebrate the passage of one of the omnibus bills Donald Trump signed? That would never happen because Democrats understand what time it is. McConnell clearly doesn’t, though.
I understand that Tom Daschle appeared with George W. Bush in 2002, but Daschle fought the White House to ensure there was no political edge on that trip (both men were jockeying for the approaching US Senate race at the time). Daschle didn’t want to be seen as left out of the fray during an election year. That’s not what McConnell is doing here, though. The election is already over, and Republicans clearly oppose Biden’s economic agenda. Giving the president’s platform a boost, even in a naive attempt to steal some of the credit, is inexplicable in the current environment.
Besides, it’s not 2002 anymore. The stakes are far higher now, and Republicans are desperate for a leader who will stand up to a Democratic Party they see as a clear and present danger to their way of life. If McConnell can’t be that person, that’s fine, but he shouldn’t be in leadership then.
If anyone is still wondering why GOP voters are so disillusioned, this is why. They see an opposition party that fights tooth and nail to advance its agenda while their own party wanders meekly, desperately trying to hang onto a Washington cocktail-club culture that ceased to exist sometime in the mid-2000s. Those days are not coming back, and any Republican who can’t accept that is going to face backlash.