Schwab: Being rid of Trump not quite enough; pitch Mitch, too

The ‘do-nothing House’ has passed a raft of helpful bills, all blocked by Senate Leader McConnell.

By Sid Schwab / Herald columnist

Trump’s been impeaching himself lately, so despite his dictatorial attitude that our Constitution doesn’t apply to him, and Republicans’ hypocritical, laughable defense of it, let’s discuss something else: Replacing the classic definition of chutzpah, wherein a guy kills his parents, then begs for mercy because he’s an orphan.

Trump recently called Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s half of Congress a “do-nothing” branch. Like most of the effluent from the White House and adjacent, the opposite is true. Here’s a small sample of legislation passed by House Democrats, which Moscow Mitch McConnell has refused to bring to the Senate, while he and Trump accuse Democrats of accomplishing nothing. Definitional chutzpah.

First was HR-1, a sweeping plan to decrease the role of dark money in national politics, limit lobbying, protect and expand voting rights, and more. Serious action against the political corruption Americans, except those in on it, claim to hate. Actually draining the swamp, as opposed to sluicing it into the White House. The bill died at the hands of Moscow Mitch, because the swamp is what put him and Trump in office and, they believe, what will keep them there. Assuming the Constitution is invalid.

There’s more. Have Trumpists heard of HR-986: protecting pre-existing conditions; HR-987: lowering prescription drug costs; HR-7: closing the gender gap in pay?

HR-9: addressing climate change; HR-1428: infrastructure investment and job creation; HR-840: veterans’ child care; HR-1585: reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act; HR-5: protecting the rights of LGBT people.

HR-8: background checks for gun purchases; HR-1644: protecting net neutrality; HR-1944: making it easier to save for retirement, described as one of the most important changes to retirement rules seen in years; HR-2480: child abuse prevention and treatment; HR-790: federal civilian workforce pay fairness; HR-1331: drinking water protection.

You get the idea. Investigating Trumpic and para-Trumpic malfeasance hasn’t kept Democrats from other work. Most of their bills would have been beneficial even to Trumpists. They’ll never see daylight in Mitch’s Senate. Alleging Speaker Pelosi’s House of Representatives has done nothing is yet another Trumpic lie; like a Mexico-funded wall, China paying his tariffs, climate change as hoax, “perfect” phone calls, and kangaroo courts.

If impeachment goes no further than the House, a Republican message for 2020 will apparently be that Democrats have accomplished nothing. Democrats’ should be: “Look what we’d have done for all Americans, including women, veterans, voters, retirees, people who breathe air and drink water, use medications, prefer tolerable climate, believe in democracy, had Democrats controlled the Senate and had we a president who cared for Americans of all colors, religious beliefs, and health and wealth status.” On the important issues, polls are consistent: mainstream policies of Democrats are preferred by a large majority of voters. Which is precisely why Republicans are committed to blocking legislation and preventing voting equality.

Were we forced to choose between seeing Mitch McConnell out as Senate Majority leader or Trump out as “president” (though, increasingly, we might get both), we’d opt for exit-door No. 1. It’d be a tough choice, though, between seeing him as minority leader, fuming ineffectually, signature hypocrisy refulgent, or out of the public eye entirely, McDucking the tens of millions he amassed while on the public dole.

Unlike Trump, who pings and pongs between ideas that come randomly into his self-absorbed head or are implanted there by Fox “news” deplorables (the ones he still considers to be working for him), Moscow Mitch knows exactly what he’s doing. And, possibly because of those millions of rubles, sorry, dollars he’s pocketed, he doesn’t care about the consequences.

Blocking legislation aimed at creating freer and fairer elections, and at preventing foreign interference in them, McConnell complained that Democrats were trying to create “political benefit.” Because it had gotten only one Republican vote, he reasoned, it couldn’t be fair. Which is even higher-order chutzpah: pressure your party’s legislators never to vote for Democratic bills, then decry partisanship. Or this: recently-leaked House GOP plans to blame mass shootings on people “coming from the left.”

But the Kremlin Kentuckian is correct: like truth, fair elections do benefit Democrats. The only way to overcome his obstructive, anti-constitutional behavior is to outvote it. If the proportion of people who agree with Democrats shows up, and if their votes aren’t suppressed or altered, McConnell/Trump politics ends. Even more so when true conservatives have finally had enough of anti-democracy, self-aggrandizing dishonesty, and of Trump’s escalating craziness. Which is an even bigger “if.”

Email Sid Schwab at columnsid@gmail.com.

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