Mitch McConnell’s dominance over the judicial confirmations process and keeping GOP Senators in check when the chips are all on the table cannot be denied – not by the Democrats who detest him, nor by a mainstream media that despises him.
The former has been reluctantly (and in some cases accidentally) admitted over the last few years, such as when Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) referred to McConnell as a “ruthless person” back in January, and when Democratic Congressman Jim Himes (CT) complained last year during an interview about how McConnell had “converted the United States Senate into a machine to approve judges.”
Himes noted this right about the time it was reported that McConnell was continuing to transform the 9th Circuit Court even as the impeachment articles were being debated in the House.
The media concessions about McConnell’s mastery on transforming the courts have been a more recent development, however. One example of this comes from none other than CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza, who wrote a piece today that included the headline “Mitch McConnell is going to win (again)”:
— Sister Toldjah 😁 (@sistertoldjah) September 22, 2020
After pointing out how it was very likely that McConnell had locked up the necessary votes to confirm President Trump’s next Supreme Court nominee, Cillizza finished it off with a quote from Trump about McConnell and judges, and then what was very likely a reluctant admission (bolded emphasis added):
“You know what Mitch’s biggest thing is in the whole world? His judges,” Trump told Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in December 2019. “He will absolutely ask me, please let’s get the judge approved instead of 10 ambassadors.”
And now, with the near-certain confirmation of fully one third of the court over the last four years, McConnell’s legacy is complete. He will go down as one of the most consequential Senate leaders in modern history, overseeing a massive ideological overhaul of the judiciary branch from the bottom all the way to the top. And there’s not a damn thing Democrats can do about it.
NBC News/MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman penned a similar piece about McConnell for the Washington Post Monday, although sprinkled with more, ahem, salt than Cillizza’s piece. Fineman deemed him the “apex predator” of politics, “interested only in total dominance”:
McConnell has been around so long people think they know him. But they don’t, and that is by design. When you are the apex predator of U.S. politics, you don’t really care what anyone thinks. In Kentucky, where I worked for six years as McConnell was beginning his rise, he is not so much loved as endured. People talk about him like the rainy Ohio River Valley weather: It’s a pain, but it waters the crops. He retains an iron grip on state politics, has been elected statewide six times and is likely to win a seventh term in November. Democrats are pouring millions into defeating him. It’s not a great bet.
His eye for detail, and his feral sense of approaching threats, is total.
But McConnell is not interested in balance: He is interested only in total dominance, and in a bulwark against change, whatever the cost to the country.
— Washington Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) September 21, 2020
McConnell has had a number of nicknames over the years, from “Cocaine Mitch”, to the Senate’s “Grim Reaper” and now “Apex Predator.” I’m totally digging the last one at the moment. It fits perfectly.