Unusually typical McConnell

Mar 25, 2015 at 2:36 pm
Unusually typical McConnell

Here it is folks: the moment some of you never thought would come. The White House’s response to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s re-election victory was unproductive at best, or immature and childish at worst. Regardless of whether or not you like Netanyahu, would or would not have voted for him, agree or disagree with how he overtly lied about a two-state solution to win an election, he will be Israel’s prime minister for the remainder of President Obama’s administration. 

So the question now becomes: What are we going to do moving forward? 

I generally trust this White House to have a keen watch on the big picture of foreign affairs. They understand where and when we can use military force and special forces, while knowing that we can not bomb our way to the world we desire, and certain situations call for diplomacy and multilateral negotiations. That being said, I am not sure I understand why they vented their grievances with Netanyahu’s political tactics during the 11th hour of a campaign. How does this help advance the multilateral negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program? How does this help any discussion of peace with Palestine?

When White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, said in his post-election briefing, “You’ve also heard me raise significant concerns that we have here about some of the divisive Election Day political tactics that were deployed by the prime minister’s political party on Election Day,” I struggle to see what can possibly be achieved. It sounded more like a player complaining to the media rather than confronting a teammate face to face in the locker room — which apparently Obama did during a phone call with Netanyahu, as well as congratulate him. 

Now for the moment we are all accustomed to: Just when I thought Mitch McConnell could not become any more brazen in his personal political war with the president and American democracy, he finds a new way to subvert the functionality of government; this time, he is corrupting every level and branch of government, not just federal.

A headline on the front page of the New York Times last Friday, “McConnell urges states to help thwart Obama’s ‘war on coal,’” describes the most egregious overstep in the Senator’s 30-year career. Aware of the legislative limitations constraining him as majority leader of the Senate — as well as a caucus run by the furthest-right, hardline Republicans and 2016 Presidential candidates — McConnell is reconstructing the boundaries of his job description to include advising and working with states on how to avoid federal law. 

Last Thursday, McConnell sent a letter to all 50 governors detailing ways in which they could legally argue their way out of conforming to new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules on carbon emissions. The article explains that his senior energy advisor, Neil Chatterjee, has been working with lawyers and lobbyists to construct a “legal blueprint” for states to “ensure that the state plans are tangled up in legal delays.” 

McConnell’s seditious letter comes while his own governor, Steve Beshear, is in the middle of preparing a plan for Kentucky to construct its own rules for abiding by the EPA’s regulations. It is hard to believe that any plan Beshear constructs for Kentucky’s coal-power industry would be more draconian than what the EPA would create. 

Regardless of whether or not one agrees with the regulations, or for that matter believes that we should curb our carbon emissions and work to improve our air quality, it is startling that an elected official would use the resources of his office to subvert other branches and levels of government, as well as work outside of the constructs of the institution which he leads to manufacture obstruction within our court and legislative systems.

McConnell’s actions will no doubt create millions of dollars in legal costs that will be paid for with taxpayer dollars, possibly leading to more stringent regulations than otherwise would have been imposed, as well as setting a crippling precedent for how one man in the Senate can shut down, not only the federal government, but every state legislature and courthouse. 

The irony is that McConnell, as leader of the party that historically believes in limiting the federal government and expanding states’ rights, is dictating state policies from his office in the Capitol; the rule and role of the federal government does not get more intrusive into every level of government than it does from McConnell’s office. •