I don’t think I can possibly convey to you, dear imaginary reader, the sheer, mind-roasting intensity of the rage and revulsion that washed over me upon reading the above-pasted Tweet. Comity, he says. Consent. This guy. Play by the rules, he says. Be nice. Or else. Always, with the f’ing Republicans, it’s the or else. There simply are no words, not in our impoverished language anyway, designed as it was to convey meaning and nuance within civil society; formulations like why, that craven, mendacious, hypocritical, wrinkly old sphinter-of-a-man simply don’t do the job. Maybe there’s something commensurate to what I’m feeling in one of the Nordic or Teutonic tongues, perhaps a compound word akin to schadenfreude that connotes something along the lines of induces such unreasoning hatred that all I can see in my mind’s eye is somebody pulling his entrails out through his nostrils before the guy in the black hood severs his head with a dull and rusty garden spade. Maybe there’s a word in Klingonese? Maybe before this is over I’ll make one up. Stay tuned.
God grant me strength. Remember Biden talking about reaching across the aisle? Remember that fleeting sense, following the events if the sixth, that maybe some folks would be shocked back to to their senses? Well, post-insurrection it’s been the usual bullshit stunts and partisan hardball, as if nothing happened, and nothing is or indeed needs to be different. Keen as ever to leverage and abuse the arcane Senate rules of parliamentary procedure, Mitch began this latest session with a little of the old legerdemain, threatening to filibuster the routine organizational resolutions – which are required to establish, among other things, committee chairs and membership – unless the Dems pledged never to abolish the filibuster. Preserve my ability to gum up the works, or by God I’ll gum up the works. This prevented the Democrats from taking over as committee chairs, as is supposed to be their right now that they hold the majority, which it is, except no it isn’t, not on Mitch’s watch! The crafty old lizard eventually caved, sort of, but only when Manchin and Sinema, the cowardly and profoundly misguided Democratic duo of Senators, made noises that they would never allow their side to repeal the filibuster (perish the thought!); not as good for Mitch as a formal pledge, but good enough for now, and presto, precious days wasted as he runs out the two-year clock to the midterms. Meanwhile, he’ll extract ongoing compliance with his customary extortionate threats, see above. Just another day in the office.
Now, to dispense with this impeachment business. The Dems were quick off the mark voting to impeach in the House – Donald still had a few days left to serve when they wrapped it up at their end – but Mitch, still Majority Leader at that point, refused to start the Senate trial, eventually reaching an agreement with incoming Majority Leader Schumer to delay it a couple of weeks. Given that, the Democratic House didn’t walk the Article of Impeachment over to the Senate chamber until Monday, by which time Trump had already gone, and Biden was sworn in, and then: Ha! Parliamentary Jiu Jitsu! Yesterday, arch-Libertarian Rand Paul, Mitch beaming his approval, forced a vote aiming to open debate on whether the impeachment trial should even occur, arguing, in effect, that it’s now too late, because Trump is no longer President! First it was too soon! Now it’s too late! Suck it, Donkeys! They cast their effort in the form of a procedural motion, seeking a vote to declare any trial unconstitutional, on the grounds that private citizens can’t be impeached, an absurd argument that flies in the face of precedent and would give any resigning official, however corrupt prior to leaving office, a free pass to avoid being declared ineligible for future runs for office.
Rand and Mitch. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: gee thanks, Kentucky.
Now just wait a damned minute, you say, hold up! The conduct of a Senate impeachment trial is mandated by the Constitution, for Chrissakes – the goddam GOP doesn’t get to vote on whether they’ll even bother! That’s certainly what you’d think, isn’t it? You would think that. See, though, that’s not quite what it says in the Shitty Constitution (that’s now it’s official title in my book, the “Shitty Constitution”, initial caps). What it says is this:
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. (Article I, Section 3, Clauses 6 and 7)
See that? It doesn’t say the Senate must hold a trial. It says holding a trial is the Senate’s sole power, and the way Rand, Mitch, and his cronies see it, that means it’s also their sole power to decide not to hold the trial at all, and that’s really what they were voting on yesterday, whatever the procedural niceties. They lost, the majority determining that the GOP’s constitutional sophistry can be debated as part of the trial, not instead of it, but fully 45 of the 50 GOP Senators, Mitch among them, voted in favour of the motion, hoping to dismiss the whole thing and move on.
After all, it’s been three whole weeks since that brief interlude of an attempted violent overthrow of constitutional government. Lots of water under the bridge since then, yes? Time now, surely, to let bygones be bygones and get back to the usual business of consent and comity, all nice and friendly like – or else.
Like Pete said, here’s to the new boss, same as the old boss. Not that we didn’t see this coming, ‘cuz it’s still Mitch, and he’s still there, determined to pursue the same strategy of borderline unconstitutional obstruction with which he greeted Obama back in the day, the sharp practitioner who declared out loud that his sole mission as a legislator was to ensure that the current President didn’t get a second term; who stood in the way of all judicial appointments and held a Supreme Court seat open for a year, ignoring Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland; who, once Donald was on the scene, selected the nuclear option, removed the filibuster for SCOTUS appointments, and stacked the court; that guy. Now he threatens to scorch the earth! Like there’s anything left un-scorched.
Hey, you know what they say, politics ain’t beanbag, right? So true! It’s more like a cage match with broadswords and battle axes, except the Donkey brought a wooden spoon. Swear to God, if the Dems let this bastard punk them again, and they spend the next two years accomplishing jack/shit until McConnell pins the “Do Nothing” label on their backs, and the GOP takes back the majority in the midterms…