The McConnell Plan to Fight Democrats’ “Resistance”

ace up sleeve

From Politico Magazine, April 1, 2019

Time to Stop The Democrats’ Obstruction, by Mitch McConnell

It took six months of partisan delays — and several railroad accidents — before Democrats let the Senate confirm a federal railroad administrator, even though none of them actually voted against the nominee in the end.  It’s been 354 days and counting in Senate purgatory for the president’s nominee to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Two-hundred eighty-seven days and counting for the under secretary of state for management. Noncontroversial lower court nominees have languished for weeks and weeks — for no discernible reason — before they, too, were confirmed unanimously. These are just a few examples of the historic obstruction Senate Democrats have visited upon President Trump’s nominees for two years and counting.

Since January 2017, for the first time in memory, a minority has exploited procedure to systematically obstruct a president from staffing up his administration. This new, across-the-board obstruction is unfair to the president and, more importantly, to the American people. Left unchecked, it is guaranteed to create an unsustainable precedent that would see every future presidency of either party obstructed in the same mindless way.  The Senate needs to restore normalcy. And this week, we will vote to do just that.

Every presidential election since John Adams beat Thomas Jefferson in 1796 has undoubtedly left some senators disappointed. But never before has the unhappy side then built a systematic effort to keep the new president’s administration unstaffed.  We aren’t talking about limited opposition to a few high-profile nominees or unusual circumstances. It’s mindless, undiscriminating obstruction for the sake of obstruction. Even uncontroversial lower-level nominees whom literally no senators oppose are not spared.

Across the first two years of each of the six presidents preceding President Trump, the Senate only had to hold 24 total cloture votes on nominations. That’s the once-rare procedural step that unlocks an up-or-down confirmation vote even though a minority has sought to block it.  And in President Trump’s first two years? We had to hold a stunning 128 cloture votes to advance nominations. Our Democratic colleagues made the Senate jump over five times as many hurdles as in the equivalent periods in the Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations combined.

Because of this obstruction, the Senate’s progress in filling important executive branch positions has been insufficient. Crucial jobs are still being held empty out of political spite. More nominees whom I suspect would be confirmed without opposition are still being delayed indefinitely because our colleagues cannot finish grieving their loss in 2016.  The all-encompassing, systematic nature of this obstruction is not part of the Senate’s important tradition of minority rights. It is a new departure from that tradition. And this break with tradition is hurting the Senate, hamstringing our duly elected president, and denying citizens the government they elected.  Moreover, if we let this partisan paralysis continue, it will define a new norm for the future. It’s hard to imagine any future presidency of either party would be spared.

We can’t accept this. We need to stop this bizarre, new practice. We need to rebuild a nominations process that resembles the way things worked for more than two centuries.  Fortunately, the recent past provides a path forward.  In January 2013, as President Obama began his second term, I and many other Senate Republicans joined with Democrats to enact bipartisan reform of our nominations rules.  Republicans certainly weren’t thrilled with the election result. But instead of throwing a systematic tantrum, we acknowledged that the president should be able to build a government at a reasonable pace.  The measure, pushed by then-Democratic Leader Harry Reid and the current Democratic Leader Senator Chuck Schumer, sped up consideration of lower-tier nominations without changing the procedure for nominations to the Supreme Court, the circuit courts, or Cabinet-level executive positions. It helped us get lower-tier nominees out of Senate purgatory and into their roles without touching the most consequential vacancies.  It was a big step toward restoring Senate tradition. Even with a Democratic president, many Republicans still thought it was the right thing to do. The resolution got 78 votes.

These modest changes helped. But they only applied for the Congress in which they were enacted. And the need is much more urgent today.  That’s why, this week, the Senate will vote on a proposal to recreate similar, modest steps and make them permanent going forward.  Our proposal would only reduce the time a minority can keep delaying lower-tier nominations after a majority has invoked cloture. This would keep the Senate floor moving, saving time that is currently tied up in inoffensive nominations that senators don’t even really debate. And, at last, it would let President Trump fill important vacancies at a more reasonable pace.

Democrats overwhelmingly supported changes like these in 2013 when they helped President Obama. And privately, many of our Democratic colleagues tell us they’d be happy to support this new proposal, too — as long as we postpone its effective date until January 2021, when they hope there will be a Democrat occupying the White House.  Give me a break. A rules change is either a good idea or it isn’t. The answer cannot depend on whether you like the current occupant of the White House. Simple fairness dictates that there cannot be protections in place for Democratic administrations past and future that magically skip over Republican presidents. And this is especially true under the current extraordinary circumstances Senate Democrats have created.

The status quo is unfair, unhealthy, and unsustainable. This president and all future presidents deserve a more functional process for building their administrations.  Later this week, every senator will have the chance to vote for these common-sense changes. I sincerely hope that, as in 2013, the Senate can make these reforms through bipartisan regular order. Because the current situation cannot stand — and it won’t.


“Heads I win, tails you lose.”

That’s the Democrat motto…..the Left’s version of cooperative government, LOL.  The game must always be rigged in their favor.  Always.  You cannot get more UNAMERICAN than that, but alas the Left is hell-bent on amassing power regardless of the cost. 

Undoubtedly Mitch McConnell is trying to get the truth out there before the Democrats, with the help of the leftwing media, begin their campaign of lies about how the Republicans are attacking democracy.  Regardless of how you feel about McConnell, he’s right on this. 

Good luck, Senator McConnell. 




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10 replies

  1. Let’s see if this post is allowed into the Echo Chamber…

    To no avail, libertarians have spent 5-6 decades trying to shake Idiot Americans out of their state of utter delusion/denial…esp. laughable ‘conservatives’ who blame everything (including the actions of the Republicans they’ve elected over the last 50 years) on “dem durn libruls!”…now that the point-of-no-return has LONG passed, I look forward to seeing Idiot Americans FORCIBLY shaken out of their Bubble of Delusion/Denial by the REALITY which is coming.

    Entitlement-mentality Boomer Cons–who fully expect to spend the next 20-30 years living off of ‘free’ welfare programs like Social Security, Medicare, and other assorted state/local welfare programs for useless old people–are in for an especially nasty surprise…


  2. I would like both sides to quit playing ends-justify-the-means political games with our country and our hapiness. All of you that are so wrapped up in this utterly immature “us vs. them” are making everyone miserable and making this country look weak and foolish. BOTH parties are acting like teenagers. BOTH sides have been reduced to simplistic charachter attacks against the other half of the population. All Democrats are unamerican commies? All Republicans are corrupt greedy fascists? If either one of those statements were true this country would nevrr have made it so far.
    Think about it, America was the world superpower, the land of opportunity until a series of high-dollar scandals and corporate greed traded the opportunities to China, India, & Mexico to secure their own wealth at the cost of their souls, and the country’s integrity has been in free fall ever since.
    While your polishing your halos and getting out the violins you may want to dust off the Congressional logs from 2008- 2012. President Obama’s first term, which is when this so-called “Democrat” unamerican obstructionist behaviour started. The thing is, it wasn’t Democrats, it was a group of Republicans who made an agreement over dinner & drinks the night of Obama’s inauguration that no matter what the new President presented, no matter how inconsequential, no member of the group would vote yes.
    McConnell made a point of saying the bipartisan effort and reform took place in 2013 at the start of Obama’s 2nd term. The reform took place only because Speaker Boehner had the maturity and integrity to put all Americans and the nation’s reputation before some childish, petty, party ego trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t disagree more with your tiresome “both parties are equally guilty” tripe. That’s what the so-called “moderates” say when they are too intellectually lazy to actually look at the facts, and it’s as misguided as those who try and draw a moral equivalency between the act of a murderer and those who punish the murderer by putting him to death.

      The first priority of the president and the congress is to uphold the Constitution. That’s not my opinion. That’s according to the oath that they swear to upon taking office. To whatever extent members of congress adhere to that oath to uphold the Constitution, they are in the right. To whatever extent they do not fulfill their duties to uphold the Constitution, they are in the wrong. It’s that simple. So it would be far better if, instead of labeling people as “Democrat” and “Republican” we labeled them as “Wrong” and “Right,” or “constitutional” and “unconstitutional.” It certainly would simplify these discussions and maybe put an end to the silly moral equivalencies that people such as yourself attempt to make.

      Obama came to office promising to “transform America.” That was CLEARLY code for saying that he would further erode the protections of the Constitution as evidenced by his actions and our ability to read between the lines (thank god we’re not all stupid). John Roberts’ traitorous decision notwithstanding, Obamacare was an affront to the FOUNDERS’ Constitution, the intent of which was to limit the powers of the federal government and preserve the autonomy of the states. Those who voted against Obamacare (all Republicans) were upholding the Constitution. In contrast, those who voted in favor (all Democrats) were desecrating the Constitution. That’s not partisanship, it’s right vs. wrong. Likewise with the judges appointed by Obama. The job of a judge is to uphold the Constitution as well as the laws duly enacted by the representatives of the people. THAT’S IT. Judges who adhere to that role are RIGHT. Judges who don’t adhere to their sworn duty and who substitute their own judgement for that of the people they are supposed to serve are WRONG. So when a leftist POTUS like Barack Obama appoints an activist judge that’s not “balance,” and the proper role of the senate is to withhold its consent. That’s not partisanship. It is our elected representatives doing what they have SWORN to do. Even so, enough misguided Republicans played along with the game to give Obama his activist judges. In contrast to that, only ONE Democrat voted for non-activist Brett Kavanaugh, which means Democrats were all but universal in their wrongness, a blatant and inarguable act of partisanship.

      If you bothered to read his op-ed, Mitch McConnell made a slam-dunk case against Democrats who are acting with gross partisanship and who are increasingly rejecting their duties to the American people in their quest to “resist” Donald Trump at all costs. There’s NO equivalency there. McConnell is right. Democrats are wrong, and the proof is in the number of times now that Democrats are suddenly dead set against what they previously were for just a few short years ago. William Barr was approved UNANIMOUSLY by the Senate Judiciary Committee when nominated by Bush Sr. in 1991. According to Wikipedia: “Barr’s two-day confirmation hearing was ‘unusually placid,’ and he received a good reception from both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.” Look at the difference between now and today, or should I say under Bush vs. under Trump. Republicans become more “partisan” in response to how far a POTUS veers from the Constitution. Democrats become more partisan purely out of spite and desperation for power, and if you need further proof just look at their incomprehensible position on the border wall, which they voted FOR under Obama but declared “immoral” under Trump.

      It’s no wonder John Boehner is your hero. The two of you have the same weak, compromise-with-the-Constitution mindset. Boehner lost his way and forgot why he was elected and what he was SWORN to do. The Constitution was not to be compromised with. It was to be defended.

      Republicans aren’t totally innocent but by and large they’ve been forced by the Democrats to play these political games, or else kiss themselves goodbye as a political party. When a bully punches you in the face and you punch back, one side clearly has the moral high ground. Can you guess which side that is?


  3. There were 128 cloture votes versus 24 – That’s about as petty as you can get. I wish McConnell every success with this change because if it gets approved it will likely be by a slim margin. My only questions is, what took him so long?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the sad reality is that, in addition to fighting the war on our Constitution, the R’s also have to fight the Left in the court of public opinion, and the Left is very good at that fight. If McConnell had moved too soon Democrats would scream that the R’s are changing the rules, trying to do an end-run around democracy and other BS. By waiting, he has a clear pattern of obstruction to show the American people so he can justify his actions. It was an unfortunate loss of time but IMO he had to do it this way.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I see your point and yes, it’s a shame he has to operate like that. It’s disgraceful that the Dems have wasted so much time on something as simple as processing nominees. We can forget about seeing any meaningful legislation during Trump’s term. Paul Ryan wasted two years, and now the Dems are going to waste the other two.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dems will burn this country to the ground before they willingly let Trump accomplish anything.

        Liked by 2 people

      • CW – they ARE burning the country to the ground now. The question is “What do we do to stop it?”

        Liked by 1 person

      • The only thing we can do is to try to educate people about the dangers they are inviting upon themselves, VM. The protections of the Constitution are only as good as the character and the wisdom of the people who must uphold and defend it. That is the inescapable reality.


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