For those who were heartbroken when “House of Cards” was canceled, you’ll be glad to know that the US Senate is stepping in to pick up the slack. But this probably wouldn’t make a very good episode, since television characters don’t normally act this stupidly…
We seem to have a little turf war brewing in Mitch McConnell’s version of “Dogpatch USA.” While not shambling along and drooling on himself like your average Trombie, McConnell has been quietly slavish to Glorious Bleater. Fear of a Twitter tantrum kept the troops in line. But now, it appears some cracks, and on a very touchy subject, are starting to show up in Trumptopia.
GOP Senators are starting to get nervous. It has already been reported that Trump has already tried to move on Robert Mueller twice, once last June, and again in December. Trump himself refuses to actually come right out and vow that he will not move on either Mueller or DOJ Deputy Director Rod Rosenstein. Mueller’s popularity is rising in polling, as Trump’s sinks. Removing Mueller would cause a political hurricane that would swamp the GOP in November, and they know it.
Demand in congress is growing for protecting Mueller through legislation. Mitch McConnell has quietly resisted such calls, saying that he sees no need for it, since he doesn’t think that Trump would move on Mueller. Nobody thought he would move on James Comey either. Bur now McConnell is having his hand forced, and worse yet, he’s having it forced from within his own ranks.
There is a bipartisan bill, with two GOP sponsors, and two Democratic sponsors sitting in the Senate Judiciary committee that would protect Mueller. The Committee Chairman, Chuck Grassley, seems an unlikely ally, after all, he joined Lindsey Graham in sending that detestable letter to the DOJ wanting a criminal investigation into ex British agent Christopher Steele. But Grassley has not only let the bill be debated, he’s scheduling a vote to move the bill out of committee, and to the Senate floor.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell is not taking this mutiny lying down. When asked about it in an interview, he angrily huffed and puffed that he was the Senate Majority leader, and that he would decide what was brought to the floor, and that this bill had no place on the floor for debate of a vote.
This is no small matter. Senate Majority leaders don’t pick committee chairmen out of a hat. They install senior members of the caucus, and they trust them to do their bidding,controlling which bills clear committee for floor debate and votes. The infighting for plum assignments reminds one of the political version of a WWE Battle Royale. McConnell just sent Grassley a very public warning, don’t pass this bill out of committee, I won’t even bring it to the floor. But Grassley appears committed to the idea, and a vote is possible in committee tomorrow.
If that bill passes out of committee, Mitch McConnell is in trouble. Public support for Mueller is growing, and getting to the “Who shot JR” final report, at least on the obstruction of justice part is beginning to build suspense and public interest. If the bill barely squeaks out of committee, with only the two GOP sponsors voting for it, McConnell may be able to obfuscate. But if it passes comfortably, with 4-5 GOP Senators backing it, McConnell is going to have increased pressure from within his own caucus to bring this to the floor. If McConnell caves and brings the bill to the floor for debate and a vote, he incurs The Wrath of Con. And if he stonewalls the legislation, he angers vulnerable GOP Senators, and even risks a public feud on the floor with them.
And this is a problem for McConnell that has potential implications down the road. His position as Senate Majority Leader is not automatic. If the GOP holds the Senate in November, they have to “choose” their Majority Leader in January. If McConnell covers Trump’s ass and blocks this legislation, and the GOP House gets snowed under in November, the GOP Senate is going to blame Trumpelthinskin. And the 20+ GOP Senators who are going to have to face the music in 2020 are not going to be pleased with a Majority Leader that worries more about Glorious Bleater than he does his caucus members. And if the Democrats can pull off a “1980 Miracle on Ice” and flip the Senate, those vulnerable Senators are going to be even less likely to place their futures under the leadership of Mitch McConnell.
Since day one, both Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have sold their souls, and have abrogated their constitutional duties in deference to a Pocket Caesar. But now, Paul Ryan is slinking away with his tail between his legs, and Mitch McConnell may be about to find out that there are worse things in this world than 140 characters in ALL CAPS. SAD!