Mitch McConnell has been having a helluva week.
The Senate Majority Leader managed to corral Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) in short order on the issue of moving forward to consider President Trump’s eventual Supreme Court nominee. It’s quite possible he’s managed to convince Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to do the same.
Sen. McConnell has also been having a field day with Senate Democrats and the media, making it a point Monday to – among other things – clear up any confusion as to what his position was in 2016 on confirming SCOTUS Justices in a presidential election year. He also pointed out that, contra to panicked Democrats, there was plenty of time to consider and confirm a nominee this year.
In a blistering speech he gave today, however, McConnell took specific aim at Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who has been throwing temper tantrums in press conferences and pulling cheap political stunts on the Senate floor since the Friday passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In a receipt-filled speech, McConnell said it was time to set the record straight on Schumer’s history on the issue of judicial confirmations. “We need to understand, in clear terms, why our colleague from New York is a uniquely non-credible messenger when it comes to the Senate’s role in judicial confirmations,” McConnell began before unloading on his Democratic colleague:
“It was Senate Democrats who began our modern challenges with their treatment of Robert Bork in 1987. But the acrimony really got going in the early 2000s, when a group of Senate Democrats took the almost-never-used tactic of filibustering nominations and turned it into a constant routine for the first time ever.
Who was a main driving force behind those tactics? Let’s consult some New York newspapers from the year 2003.
Quote: ‘Schumer decided [to] put ideology on the front burner in the confirmation process … ‘I am the leader (of the filibuster movement), and you know, I’m proud of it,’ said the senator from Brooklyn.
Quote: ‘Mr. Schumer urged Democratic colleagues… to use a tactic that some were initially reluctant to pursue, and that has since roiled the Senate.’
Throughout President Bush 43’s two terms, our colleague built an entire personal brand out of filibustering judicial nominees.
“Talented, hardworking people’s careers were destroyed — like the brilliant lawyer Miguel Estrada, a close friend of now-Justice Elena Kagan, who says he is ‘extraordinary’ and ‘thoughtful’ and would have made ‘an excellent addition to any federal court.’ People like that, destroyed by the Democrats’ tactics.”
This version of the now-Democratic Leader said filibustering judges was an essential part of the Senate. He said that if Republicans ever used the nuclear option to ‘change the rules in midstream’ because ‘they can’t get their way on every judge..it’ll be a doomsday for democracy.’
“But of course, in the very next presidential administration, the Democratic Leader leapt at the chance to press that ‘doomsday’ button himself.”
He went on to drop more nukes on Schumer’s checkered judicial history, including reminding Schumer of his “you will pay the price” threat to Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh from a few months ago. It was McConnell at his best. Watch below and enjoy:
“The American people do not need any more revisionist history lectures, any more threats, or any more performative outrage from the side that launched this unfortunate fight, and escalated it time… after time… after time.” – Mitch McConnell
Also, as I noted Tuesday, even journalists who despise McConnell are begrudgingly giving him credit where due. CNN’s Chris Cillizza penned a piece acknowledging the likelihood that “McConnell is going to win (again)” on the issue of SCOTUS confirmations, ensuring he “would go down as one of the most consequential Senate leaders in modern history.” NBC News/MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman declared McConnell the “apex predator” of politics, “interested only in total dominance” in another piece.
Getting your team in line when it matters most, dunking your political opposition like a boss, and winning the respect of media foes without sacrificing your principles. Like I said, helluva week for Cocaine Mitch.
And it’s only Wednesday.
(Hat tip: Hot Air)