Wednesday, October 06, 2021


This story isn't as naive as the headline makes it appear to be:

Jonathan Weisman of the Times acknowledges the obvious: that McConnell primarily (I'd say exclusively) wants to hurt Democrats.
... two weeks before a potentially catastrophic default, Mr. McConnell, now the minority leader, has yet to reveal what he wants, telling President Biden in a letter on Monday, “We have no list of demands.”

Instead, he appears to want to sow political chaos for Democrats while insulating himself and other Republicans from an issue that has the potential to divide them.

Mr. McConnell has said the government must not be allowed to stop paying its debts; he has also said he will not let any Republicans vote to raise the debt limit, while moving to block Democrats from doing so themselves....

Mr. McConnell has prescribed a single alternative for Democrats: Use a complicated budget process known as reconciliation to maneuver around the Republican filibuster that he refuses to lift.

“They need to do this, they have the time to do it, and the sooner they get about it, the better,” he said on Tuesday.

He even seemed to taunt Democrats. A day after Mr. Biden told Republicans they “need to stop playing Russian roulette with the U.S. economy,” Mr. McConnell, in his signature deadpan, looked into television cameras on Capitol Hill to “implore” Democrats “not to play Russian roulette with the American economy.”
McConnell is a supervillain, but he isn't treated as one. In early 2018, USA Today reported that Nancy Pelosi had appeared in 34% of Republican congressional ads up to that point in the cycle. She's repeatedly portrayed by Republicans as the unholy monster who symbolizes everything that's wrong with the Democratic Party and everything that's wrong with America. Republicans don't even have to explain why she's evil -- they just have to invoke her name andshow her face and their voters, as well as many swing voters, are instantly enraged.

Why haven't Democrats tried to do that to McConnell? A new Quinnipiac poll makes clear what other polls have shown over the years: McConnell is incredibly unpopular. He's more unpopular than Pelosi.
* House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: 33 percent approve, while 61 percent disapprove;

* Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: 32 percent approve, while 54 percent disapprove;

* House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: 27 percent approve, while 47 percent disapprove;

* Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: 23 percent approve, while 65 percent disapprove.
Pelosi is -28. McConnell is -42. McConnell is unpopular with men (25% favorable, 66% unfavorable) and with women (21%/64%). He's unpopular with Democrats (11%/78%), independents (21%/68%), and even Republicans (41%/46%). He's unpopular with college-educated whites (23%/72%) and non-college-educated whites (28%/58%).

People don't like Mitch McConnell.

So why haven't Democrats learned how to make him seem like a grotesque, civilization-threatening monster? Is the argument that it's harder to do this to a white male? (Mike Dukakis, Al Gore, and John Kerry would beg to differ.) I can't see a reason, except for the obvious one: Democrats simply don't like to say mean things about Republicans -- Donald Trump is an exception, and maybe individual candidates in individual races, but other than that, they'd just rather not. He could be made into a nationally notorious supervillain -- the public is clearly ready -- but it never happens.

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