WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2021
Only O'Donnell accepts it: In this morning's Washington Post, it's a front-page topic. The front-page headline says this:
Trump calls McConnell a ‘hack,’ vows fight for party
Yesterday, the former commander hit Mitch McConnell hard. The New York Times, in its infinite wisdom, placed its report on page A13, inside its National section.
On page A12, the featured report in the National section concerns the way barricades are coming down in the streets around Trump Tower. After exploring that "national" topic, the Times reported the former commander's attack on McConnell:
Trump, in Scorching Attack on McConnell, Urges G.O.P. to Replace Him
The former president, breaking an unusually long silence, called the Senate minority leader a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack” and called on Republicans in the chamber to find a new leader.
It wasn't just an attack on McConnell. Quite correctly, the Times described it as a scorching attack!
McConnell is the highest ranking Republican in the federal government. Why did the former commander launch this scorching attack?
Duh! The commander launched his attack because McConnell had offered Our Town a gift. He did so late Saturday afternoon, when he rose to speak after Trump escaped "conviction" in a 57-43 Senate vote.
Fifty-seven senators favored conviction; McConnell voted "not guilty." At that point, he rose to speak—and he offered a gift to Our Town.
McConnell savaged the former commander up one side and down the other. Potentially, this was a major gift to Our Town—but as we'll note in the next few days, only O'Donnell noticed.
Last night, Lawrence O'Donnell took to the air at 10 o'clock Eastern. Right from the start, he recorded his reactions to McConnell's speech—the speech which has the former commander so upset.
Lawrence focused on McConnell's speech. This is the way he began:
O'DONNELL (2/16/21): On Saturday, after the nine House impeachment managers left the Senate chamber after winning the largest number of bipartisan guilty votes in the history of presidential impeachment trials, it suddenly sounded as if they had left one impeachment manager behind.
What species of impeachment manager had been left behind in the Senate? Lawrence then cut to videotape of Mitch McConnell! McConnell was shown saying this:
MCCONNELL: There’s no question—none—that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.
The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president, and having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.
The issue is not only the president's intemperate language on January 6th. It is not just his endorsement of remarks in which an associate urged, quote, “trial by combat”. It was also the entire manufactured atmosphere of looming catastrophe, the increasingly wild myths about a reverse landslide election that was somehow being stolen, some secret "coup" by our now-president.
Yes, that was clearly Mitch McConnell making those startling remarks! To read or watch full speech, just click here.
Rather clearly, McConnell was saying that the former commander was "practically and morally responsible for provoking" the assault on the Capitol Building.
He referred to "the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole" which the former commander loosed on the nation after November's election.
He referred to "the increasingly wild myths about a reverse landslide election that was somehow being stolen." Skillfully using all his words, he didn't seem to feel the need to employ the childish term, "lies."
In the greatest insult of all, he referred to Donald J. Trump as "defeated president." Later, twisting the knife, he even referred to Joseph R. Biden as "our now-president."
Mitch McConnell had actually made those remarkable statements! But among the corporate-paid cable stars who dominate discourse here in Our Town, only O'Donnell had noticed.
In truth, O'Donnell slightly overstated the extent to which these remarks "suddenly" came on. After the impeachment vote, Senator Schumer delivered a speech before McConnell spoke.
Senator Schumer delivered a speech—a speech we'll disparage on Friday. But McConnell gave the much more important speech, a point only Lawrence noticed.
As he continued, Lawrence noted the fact that McConnell had voted against conviction. Somehow, he managed to avoid staging a mandated performative nervous breakdown in reaction to this vile fact.
Instead, he focused on what McConnell had said in his address. McConnell had "agree[d] with every word the House managers said in their presentation of evidence," O'Donnell correctly said.
With that, he played more videotape. McConnell was shown saying this:
MCCONNELL: The president did not act swiftly. He did not do his job. He didn’t take steps so federal law could be faithfully executed and order restored. No, instead, according to public reports, he watched television happily as the chaos unfolded. He kept pressing his scheme to overturn the election. Now, even after it was clear to any reasonable observer that Vice President Pence was in serious danger, even as the mob carrying Trump banners was beating cops and breaching perimeters, their president sent a further tweet, attacking his own vice president.
Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow! To be perfectly honest, McConnell may have imputed more guilt to the former commander than we feel sure that the record supports.
McConnell even credited fuzzy news reports as he attacked the commander. When that videotape ended, Lawrence said this:
O'DONNELL (continuing directly): No Republican who voted "not guilty" dared to come to the Senate floor after that to say that Mitch McConnell was wrong. Senator Cruz, Senator Hawley, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Rand Paul—none of those Trumpist extremists dared to say that Mitch McConnell was wrong about the evidence in the case, [that] House managers did not prove what Mitch McConnell says that they did prove.
O'Donnell then cited the unpleasant remarks in which McConnell pictured future prosecution of Trump. He said that those remarks undercut Graham's plan to attack Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland at next week's confirmation hearings—to attack him concerning the possibility of future prosecution of Trump
McConnell's remarks had been a gift to Biden, O'Donnell basically said.
Ten minutes into the program, O'Donnell was speaking to David Cicilline, one of the House impeachment managers. He recalled his reaction upon first gazing on McConnell's address:
"To my shock and amazement, Mitch McConnell stood up, and by the time he was three or four sentences into it, I was absolutely stunned by what I was seeing." Thus spake Lawrence O'Donnell, concerning the fact of this unexpected Magi's gift.
On Saturday, we watched those speeches too. We won't say that we were stunned by what McConnell said, but we very much sat up and took notice when McConnell delivered his gift.
Excitement faded in our halls as soon as Our Town's liberal pundits came on. A group of seven corporatized hacks were soon staging performative breakdowns, sucking the air from the room.
Concerning these comments, note this:
Remember, we're now offering anthropology at this incomparable site. We think there's nothing else left to discuss. It's all anthropology now.
With that in mind, we'll tell you this. According to the experts with whom we consult, the seven pundits to whom we refer showed us the way our species is wired.
We're wired to loathe The Others, full stop, or so these top scholars have told us. According to these credentialed experts, we humans are wired to get ourselves killed after we've marched off to war.
Tomorrow: The less than magnificent "cable news" seven. But slso, Senator Tester!
Friday: Schumer, amazingly wrong