It’s sad to say another Christian group has decided to maintain access to DC power rather than tell the truth regarding the shortcomings of a prominent politician. Maybe it’s the ego rush when calls are returned. Or maybe it’s the meetings in off-limits-to-the-public Capitol hideaways that persuades these organizations to publicly support a man who’s repeatedly failed to live up to expectations.
Their support would make perfect sense if I was referring to Donald Trump. His personal failings are legion, but he’s delivered. I’m talking about the Evangelical embrace of Curator of the Senate Mitch McConnell. His personal life lacks ‘hos and handsy-ness, but his public life is steaming pile of defeat and insincere promises.
McConnell’s failures are manifest in the Family Research Council’s scorecard on the 115th Congress. FRC tries manfully to make a silk purse out of McConnell’s ear, but the task is impossible. Once you get past the hyperbolic lead, “A record number -- 245 Members of Congress -- scored a perfect 100 percent...last year.” One realizes most of the votes counted for nothing.
If FRC rated on legislative effectiveness the scores would max out at 25 percent.
The House passed eight laws and one resolution used for scorecard evaluation. Four of those bills failed in the Senate. McConnell’s ‘accomplishments’ were so paltry, FRC had to use the routine confirmation of appointees for most of the scorecard.
That’s the legislative equivalent of giving participation trophies at the end of ballerina ball season.
Separating what the House passed from what the Senate failed to pass shows just how much damage McConnell single-handedly does to the conservative cause.
This political mastermind is responsible for the defeat of bills designed to stop funding Planned Parenthood and forcing Christian organizations to provide contraception coverage that conflicts with their Christian belief. McConnell is responsible for the defeat of the clean Obamacare repeal and it’s ‘skinny’ brother. And just this week McConnell passively watched the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’s defeat even though it had a majority of 51 votes.
Yet there is zero criticism of McConnell’s serial failures! Instead FRC blandly refers to defeats requiring 60 votes without explaining why a simple majority of 51 isn’t enough.
This self-imposed 60-vote requirement is an internal Senate rule that only dates back to 1975. Before if a bill was scheduled to come to the floor and a senator or party opposed the measure, they had to conduct a genuine filibuster. This meant the senator had to hold the floor, blocking consideration of any other legislation or Senate business.
Senators read aloud, told stories or simply listened to the music of their own voice during their time at the podium. The filibuster was an around-the-clock affair and sympathetic senators had to continue the delaying drone by volunteering to take a shift. This took a physical toll and many filibusters ended because the opposition simply ran out of gas.
The other way to conclude a filibuster was a cloture vote to end debate. That’s what requires 60 votes.
Today if the minority party wants to filibuster a bill it simply informs McConnell and he considers the bill blocked until 60 votes materialize to bring it to the floor. McConnell could revert to the pre-1975 filibuster this week if he wished. Changing the rule only requires a majority and he has 51 votes.
Democrats would be forced to go public with their obstructionism. Voters would see which party is blocking the function of government and I don’t think Schumer could stand the heat.
But this small-minded, political coward won’t make the change. McConnell is a double-minded man who in his heart doesn’t believe in the conservative principles he claims to support. McConnell is a defeatist who fears success. That’s why he told AP “Republicans will welcome the [post 1975] filibuster when they return to the minority.” And he’s just the man to lead them there.
The thought that Republicans could pass conservative legislation that rolls back at least some of leftism’s excesses and puts the onus on Democrats to repeal those bills never enters McConnell’s mind. He just keeps the furniture dusted until his inevitable Democrat take over.
McConnell’s wasted an entire year in which Republicans controlled the presidency, House and Senate. It may well be one half of the time during the Trump administration when the GOP controlled all three branches.
An accurate FRC scorecard would give every GOP senator a zero rating, because their votes keep McConnell Majority Leader.
McConnell is a weakling who will never change Senate rules unless he’s pushed and pushed hard. It’s time conservative and Christian organizations told the truth about the man who is single-handedly blocking the agenda of the people who sent Republicans to Washington.
Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant, and is the author of “A Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org