What happened in the Senate today was not just the non-passage of a piece of legislation. It was the death knell of the Republican party being sounded. Mitch McConnell has tried to get the bi-partisan border bill passed for days. He touted its virtues. Then, suddenly, he did a 180 and pulled his support from the bill. McConnell said the problem isn’t what Senator James Lankford negotiated, it’s that “the political mood in the country has changed.” That is shorthand for “I am capitulating to MAGA.”
In the future, historians will have the fall of the GOP diagrammed out and this event, on this night in February, 2024, will be given the true perspective that it deserves. Politico:
The President Joe Biden-backed agreement is getting pummeled from the left and right, but it’s internal GOP angst that’s fueling the likelihood of a filibuster during an expected test vote on Wednesday. After Senate Republicans met for 90 minutes on Monday night to discuss the border deal that a trio of senators forged over the past four months, few of them emerged willing to say they would vote to advance the $118 billion package.
Several members of GOP leadership came out against the legislation in the past 24 hours, further boxing in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Kentucky Republican, who supports the agreement linking border policy changes with aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, called Monday’s meeting an “interesting discussion.”
Inside the room, McConnell told Republicans that if they didn’t like the direction that the bill is going, they should vote against moving forward this week, according to two people briefed on the meeting who were granted anonymity to speak candidly.
According to two attendees, McConnell did not forcefully whip for or against the bill. He instead discussed the specific policies and politics of the legislation, which is opposed by Speaker Mike Johnson and former President Donald Trump.
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who struck the deal, even suggested he might vote against moving forward if his colleagues weren’t ready to move.“That’s not voting against the bill,” Lankford said of voting to filibuster the bill from coming to the floor. “So that’s not the final passage. That’s the beginning point.”
It’s a stunning turnabout from just a few months ago, when Republicans demanded border security policy changes to pair with $60 billion in Ukraine aid requested by Biden. Now Republican support for the legislation is vanishingly hard to find, with just a handful of GOP senators in support. Even moderate Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she was unsure if she would vote to advance the bill.
Lankford added that he’s not sure how much time members will actually want to evaluate the proposal — if that timeline goes beyond Wednesday. Many Senate Republicans want an open amendment process that could drag out debate indefinitely, if leadership allows it.
This is a total farce, more “time” to “evaluate.” Nothing is going to change. This is a stall and an unraveling, plain and simple. What is happening here is very clear and black and white. The GOP is in a state of anarchy. No Republican speaks for anybody other than him or herself. There is no caucus. McConnell had control over his caucus, always. That was his ability. He knew how to control his caucus, like Nancy Pelosi knew how to control hers, and get things done, even with a slim margin of control. That is the art and the science of politics and McConnell had the ability to round his herd and get them pointed the same direction.
That was then, this is now. McConnell’s on his last legs and when he goes down, the last of the old school Republican party goes with him. Mike Johnson is not leadership. Mike Johnson was an obscure, last minute choice that had the Speaker’s gavel thrust into his hands after the immensely stupid and ill-advised ouster of Kevin McCarthy. That was political theater at its highest art form and when all the dust had settled, all the GOP had done was inflict a number of wounds on itself. It had accomplished nothing. Right now both Johnson and Steve Scalise are saying that the bill will be “dead on arrival in the House.”
So what does the rest of the world see? They see a House who favors Vladimir Putin’s interests more than that of America and her allies and they see a Senate minority who won’t listen to their leader anymore. They see Republicans who would rather betray an ally and keep the border crisis issue alive, rather than do something about it, because Donald Trump needs a talking point.
They see a GOP who puts Trump above America, in short.
If Trump wins, Republicans will reintroduce the immigration piece of the spending bill in 2025… Without changing a word.
— Stagecoach Mary (@Stagecoach_Mary) February 6, 2024
The U.S. Border Patrol union officially endorses the bipartisan border legislation that the GOP has decided to abandon, to throw an extra layer of absurdity into the mix.
The GOP ended tonight. It hasn’t been reported as such and who knows? Maybe like a patient on life support, its heart can actually be restarted. Things like that have been known to happen. But I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.
We don’t know how the bill will finally be dealt with but we do know that to all intents and purposes the GOP is dead and Donald Trump controls his MAGA cult, in lieu of the Republican party. And anybody with an R behind his or her name in November might find themselves part of a bloodbath and a purge.
The GOP is not reading the tea leaves and that’s been the case for some time. McConnell can still read the tea leaves. But they won’t listen to him anymore. Hence, they’re setting themselves up for one hell of a shellacking at the polls.