Earlier this week Mitch McConnell announced his intention to delay Trump’s Senate impeachment trial until mid-February. That’s cute, but McConnell doesn’t run the Senate anymore. Now Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is announcing that the House will send over the article of impeachment on Monday, and the Senate trial will begin on Tuesday [Update: since shifted to early February at the public request of President Biden]
In other words, McConnell didn’t get his way – but it’s not for lack of trying. McConnell has always used this same strategy, even when he was Majority Leader. He begins every negotiation by falsely announcing that he’s gotten his way, in the hope that liberal activists will fall for it, and thus not bother to fight him on it. When the activists aren’t willing to fight McConnell on a given issue, it makes it a lot harder for Senate Democrats to defeat him on it.
Mitch McConnell is a one-trick pony. So you can expect him to continue falsely declaring victory at the start of any negotiation going forward, even though he’s now merely Minority Leader. It’s becoming more obvious that it was McConnell who leaked the phony “power sharing agreement” story to CNN earlier this week, in the hope of inciting liberal backlash against Chuck Schumer. And then McConnell tried the same thing again by trying to create the appearance that Schumer had caved to his demand to delay the impeachment trial.
The most effective way to deal with Mitch McConnell is to simply laugh at him when he announces or leaks that he’s getting his way on something. Make sure he knows that he can’t fool us like that. It’ll deflate whatever leverage he’s trying to gain by making such announcements. And, while we must push our Democratic leaders to continue to be aggressive, it’s more important than ever not to let McConnell bait us into mistakenly concluding that the Democrats have caved when they haven’t.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report