McConnell sputters as news host refuses to accept his revisionist Supreme Court history
What can one say about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that hasn’t been said during some dark-arts ritual in a bleak chapter of a Harry Potter book? Sen. McConnell is to decency what an unchecked, exploding portable toilet is to decency. Sen. McConnell was out and about this weekend, rumbling his somehow grating baritone voice on television, in order to crow about his successful thwarting of democracy while ramming a clearly inadequate—and possibly rapey—Brett Kavanaugh into the Supreme Court seat left suspiciously vacant by Justice Anthony Kennedy. On Face The Nation, McConnell found that the revisionist history he has been peddling everywhere was not going to go unchallenged by host, John Dickerson.
After blathering away about “presumption of innocence,” and trying to pooh pooh the idea that the Senate confirmation process for the Supreme Court was “broken,” Dickerson asked McConnell this:
Dickerson: Democrats are pointing not only to how this was handled but in the history of partisanship on the Supreme Court, your decision to block Merrick Garland is something they see as having kicked-off a new stage of partisanship associated with the Supreme Court nominee.
McConnell took out his fake history book and regurgitated his “Biden rule,” hackery. He also made the claim that the last time a sitting President had a Supreme Court nomination confirmed by an adversarial Senate was 1880. Dickerson decided to remind McConnell that just because he says the word “history,” doesn’t actually mean it’s true.
Dickerson: But Mr. Leader, I don’t think that’s right. In 1956, Eisenhower nominated (William) Brennan—the 84th Congress was Democratic control; and also, the “Biden rule,” Joe Biden was talking in the abstract. There was no nominee, no nominee was blocked. He said to not have the nomination come up before the election but that it could come up after the election. And so what Democrats say when they see you do this, is that he’s creating new rules to do what he wants to do. And, as you have written about in your book, The Long Game, when you do that, it hurts Democracy.
McConnell, being challenged just the tiniest bit on the facts is enough for him to have what passes for a McConnell freak out.
McConnell: Well, that’s not at all what happened, John. you’re completely misconstruing what happened. What I gave you was the history of this. I know the history of this. I’ve spent a lot of time on this throughout my career. What I did was entirely consistent with what the Senate has been in that situation, since 1880.
This is the moment where John Dickerson turns up the facts loud enough for everyone to hear.
Dickerson: Well, I think that the 1956 example, and also in 1968—later in the election cycle—when a Democratic president put somebody forward, the Republican leader worked with him to get that person a hearing and get him towards the Supreme Court, which is not something that you did.
McConnell: Then there was a Democrat in the White House and a Democratic Senate.
Dickerson: But the Republican at the time, tried to help the Democratic president.
McConnell: You are not listening to me, John. John, you are not listening to me. The history is, is exactly as I told you.
Dickerson: Well, we have a disagreement about the history.
McConnell: We certainly do.
McConnell’s play here is to omit history in order to pretend he’s not lying. It’s sort of like explaining the history of African Americans like this: in 1619, the first Africans were brought over to North America as slaves…and then in 1965, the Voting Rights Act allowed black people a less impeded right to vote! It’s not one-hundred percent a lie, but it’s definitely not the truth.