Mitch McConnell gives a floor speech flogging Biden
Although Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell entered the Senate 12 years after Joe Biden did, their joint service still goes back 37 years, to 1985. McConnell has therefore known Biden a long time, and both men are dedicated to the idea of Senate collegiality. Additionally, McConnell is an exceptionally wily guy who never takes a stand unless he's first assured that the wind is at his back. That's why it matters a great deal that, on Wednesday, McConnell launched a brutal attack against Biden based on Biden's shrill demagoguery in Atlanta the day before.
There's no doubt that Biden's was a most peculiar speech. In the flat, haranguing tones that have become his norm during his first year in the White House, Biden called 52 senators hate-filled racists and insurrectionists by likening them to famous and disreputable Democrats of the past.
It was probably the most inflammatory speech ever given by someone in the White House. Even in the lead-up to the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln (a Republican) always tried to speak in conciliatory tones. But not Joe Biden. His speech was truly ugly.
For the past year, McConnell has given Biden a pass. He's also made nice with his Democrat colleagues, whether it was allowing the filibuster to be up for grabs based on promises from Senators Manchin and Sinema that they would not vote to dispose of the filibuster (a promise each is currently keeping, thank God) or going along with the Democrats' vile narrative about January 6, including attacking Trump.
Regarding that last, it's not clear whether McConnell, showing the same cowardice as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, really thought he'd be raped or killed, or whether he's afraid that the Democrats will try to oust him from office as an insurrectionist under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. Whatever his motive, he did not endear himself to the vast pro-Trump wing of the Republican Party.
On Wednesday, though, McConnell changed his tune and went from attacking Trump to attacking Biden. And I must say, even though I dislike and distrust the man (although I will be forever grateful that he kept Merrick Garland off the Supreme Court), it was a well deserved, well stated, and entirely accurate throw-down:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ripped into President Biden's Georgia speech on the Democratic push for voting rights legislation, calling it "profoundly unpresidential."
In a scathing address on the Senate floor, the Kentucky Republican accused Biden of calling millions of Americans "domestic enemies" while comparing "a bipartisan majority of senators to literal traitors."
"How profoundly, profoundly unpresidential," McConnell said. "Look, I've known, liked, and personally respected Joe Biden for many years. I did not recognize the man at that podium yesterday."
McConnell said Biden's speech was a "rant," "incoherent," "incorrect," "beneath his office" and "unbecoming of a president of the United States." He pointed to Biden's inaugural address last January in which the newly sworn-in president said "every disagreement doesn't have to be a cause for total war."
"That was just 12 months ago. But yesterday, he poured a giant can of gasoline on the fire," the senator said, later adding that Biden said "anyone who opposes smashing the Senate and letting Democrats rewrite election law is a domestic 'enemy' and a traitor like Jefferson Davis."
Because McConnell is a canny man who never gets too far over his skis, his full-frontal attack on Biden means that McConnell is reasonably certain that Biden's presidency has nowhere to go but down. And by making that statement on the Senate floor, McConnell is reminding Chuck Schumer that the latter's wagon is hitched to a fading, falling star. All the momentum behind the Democrats is gone. This was a "kick 'em when they're down" speech, and a good one, too.