In the Senate Majority Leader's press conference today, Mitch McConnell had some interesting ways of couching things. A reporter asked him about what the Senate would do in the event the House tried to obtain donnie-boy's tax returns. McConnell's response was quite the mix of projection, fear, and menace, leaving those who heard it a bit perplexed.
McCONNELL: Well, the whole issue of presidential harassment is interesting. I remember when we tried it in the late '90s. We impeached President Clinton. His numbers went up and ours went down. We underperformed in the next election. So the Democrats in the House will have to decide just how much presidential harassment they think is good strategy. I'm not so sure it will work for them.
REPORTER: To go back to that, are you recommending that for House Democrats that oversight that they have said they are going to do might backfire on them? Are you saying --
McCONNELL: They are not interested in my recommendations. All I'm doing is making a historical observation. The business of presidential harassment, which we were deeply engaged in in the late '90s, improved the president's approval rating and tanked ours. Thus, my observation is that might not be a smart strategy, but it's up to them to decide how they want to handle that.
"Presidential harassment," eh? Let's unpack that. And, believe me, this is the turducken-balanced-on-a-toothpick nesting of references and implications into one teensy little phrase.
1. He used it in reference to Republican behavior towards President Clinton in the late '90s. We can reasonably assume he means Whitewater, Monica Lewinsky, and the impeachment proceedings. Why, you're right, Mitchie - that can be described as "presidential harassment," as it took the nation through a gut-wrenching exercise in personal and political debasement that was completely unnecessary, for the sole purpose of humiliating a political foe. Impeachment is a tool to be used in the rarest of circumstances - say, for instance, HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, I DON'T KNOW, LIKE TREASON OR COLLUSION OR VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION'S EMOLUMENTS CLAUSE. *cough* So, thank you for admitting Republican pursuit of that humiliation and abuse of power constituted "presidential harassment."
2. On the other hand, one of the chief architects of that "presidential harassment" in the '90s was none other than Brett Kavanaugh - the man who, two sentences previously, you touted as a shot of adrenaline in otherwise lack-luster Republican races around the country in 2018. You'd just stated that the Democrats' opposition to this misogynistic, knuckle-dragging liar who had multiple credible accounts of sexual assault levied against him had actually worked against the Democrats. The one Democratic Senator who cowered and voted for him (thanks a lot, Joe Manchin) retained his Senate seat, and you stated the Kavanaugh vote was why.
Remember, though, that Kavanaugh was one of the creepy toadies on Kenneth Starr's team drawing up questions for Clinton's cross-examination? Yes, the cigar questions, the masturbation questions, the ejaculation questions...those were all Kavanaugh's idea. So McConnell doesn't really seem to have TOO much of a problem with the "presidential harassment" of the '90s now, does he? He sure is grateful to Kavanaugh for HIS harassment of Clinton. Maybe he just regrets that it didn't GO very well for the Republicans when they did it to Clinton. And maybe it didn't go well because it was actual...well...harassment.
3. Haven't there been multiple accusations of harassment and even sexual abuse and rape against THIS "president"? Isn't he known as "President Pussygrabber" for a reason? He grabs women by the crotch and he's proud of it. He walks in on naked teenaged girls intentionally, and considers it a "perk" of owning a beauty pageant. He openly admits he would screw his own daughter if he weren't her father. This is the guy for whom you're gonna trot out the term "presidential harassment" when there is talk of holding him accountable for anything? Yeah, I'm not one to try to help you out, Mitchie, but using that term in the same sentence with the Tic-Tac Tyrant may not be the best plan.
4. As for the Democrats taking steps to obtain President Putinpoodle's tax returns, that would not constitute "presidential harassment." That is perfectly within their purview as the branch of government charged with oversight. Releasing one's tax returns is something every presidential candidate has done for decades upon decades of election cycles. The fact that McConnell's Daddy won't release his is evidence of wrongdoing, supported by roughly 80,395,771,892 solid pieces of evidence of wrongdoing.
THIS is why the Dems would request his tax returns. THIS is why the Dems would conduct an investigation into election interference that had teeth. THIS is why the Dems should take steps to meaningfully protect the Mueller probe. NONE of those things would constitute "presidential harassment." That Republicans refused to do any of these things is proof of that other crime of which they should be deeply ashamed. "Presidential Kiss-ass-ment." And it has put our nation in the gravest of harm's way.
Don't let us down, Dems. The ball is in your court.