05 November 2020

How to pwn Moscow Mitch

Unless we get very lucky with the few remaining uncalled Senate races, it looks as if we will not get the Senate majority, though we should have at least 48 seats (a net gain of one).  This could be a serious problem, given the Republicans' propensity for obstruction.  However, Electoral-Vote blog today suggests an intriguing idea to work around this:

Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Richard Burr (R-NC) have all announced that they will not seek reelection in 2022. Biden could offer one or more of them cabinet positions. It just so happens that all three of their states have Democratic governors. In Pennsylvania and North Carolina, the governor appoints the new senator, who would surely be a Democrat. In Wisconsin, there is a special election, which a Democrat would have a decent shot at winning.

Picking off a couple of Republican senators and putting them in the cabinet would be a twofer for Biden. First, it could change control of the Senate. Second, it would please those voters who see bipartisanship as a goal unto itself. Needless to say Mitch McConnell would be beyond furious at such a move, but Toomey, Johnson, and Burr would be looking out for themselves, not for McConnell. Toomey is a former banker. He is not especially Trumpy and seems like a decent person. He likes to keep a bowl of Hershey bars (which are made in his state) well stocked for chocolate-loving senators. Making him secretary of the treasury would enrage many Democrats, but if the tradeoff was getting control of the Senate in return, Biden might do it. Johnson was a former businessman and might accept the position of secretary of commerce. Burr sold lawn equipment for 17 years before running for the House. There is no secretary of lawn equipment. Lawns are plants, so maybe secretary of agriculture? Or since lawns are often located near houses, how about secretary of housing and urban development. After all, the current secretary is Ben Carson, whose only qualification is that he used to live in a house. Burr is slightly toxic on account of some insider trading stuff earlier this year, but most people (1) don't know what insider trading is and (2) don't know that Burr did it. Burr might take the job to rehabiliate himself.

Could a desperate McConnell block a vote on their confirmation? Yes, but they have a countermove: resign from the Senate on Feb. 1. If the Senate were 52-48 and Toomey and Burr resigned and were instantly replaced by appointed Democrats, the Senate would be 50-50 and the new president of the Senate, Kamala Harris would have something to do all day. This scenario definitely falls under the category "hardball," which is not Biden's preferred way of operating. He might think that he can reason with McConnell and work together with him, but if he goes down that road, he will quickly discover that it leads to a dead end

I really wish Biden would go for this option. Unless we do improbably well in the remaining undecided Senate races, it's the only way to get a majority -- and even if we do, there are advantages to having a bigger majority.  Yes, some Democrats would dislike having Republicans in cabinet posts (even second-tier posts like these), but taking the Senate majority would be well worth it.

It would serve Moscow Mitch right to get out-hardballed by Biden. And I still don't believe Biden has any illusions about being able to work productively with Republicans, despite what he said during the campaign. He was right there in Obama’s administration for eight years. He's seen what they’re like.

And it would be an especially good move because it would appear bipartisan, thus appealing to the low-information kumbaya-warbling can't-we-all-just-get-along crowd, while in fact doing to McConnell's power what Joni Ernst is known for doing to hogs.

Would Republicans froth with rage and accuse Biden of playing dirty?  Of course, but who cares?  Outrage is their normal default state when any Democrat does pretty much anything, and after four years of cowardly enabling of Trump's atrocities, they're in no moral position to object to anything we need to do to fix it.  We got mad about Merrick Garland and all sort of other things, and the Republicans just went full steam ahead because they had the power to do so.  Time for us to take the same tack.

And frankly I find the impotent rage of enemies quite entertaining.


Blogger Kay said...

Wow! I'm so impressed with your political knowledge and appreciate your sharing your observations with us.

05 November, 2020 13:09  
Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

Brilliant! I hope that's exactly what happens!

05 November, 2020 19:16  
Blogger Mike said...

"Time for us to take the same tack."

05 November, 2020 20:30  
Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

I despise Moscow Mitch. Ugh.
That's one slimy MoFo right there. I can't believe he and Lindsey kept their seats.


06 November, 2020 03:14  
Blogger W. Hackwhacker said...

Infidel -- of the three, Burr makes some sense, perhaps as DNI given his role as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee (and his relatively even- handed approach, exemplified by that committee's report on the Russian efforts to help Trump, which went where the Mueller Report didn't). The big, big problem: he's under investigation for insider trading. But, I like this aggressive, thinking-outside-of-the-box attitude to foil McConnell if at all possible. I just don't think the chances of this particular threesome helping us will play out.

06 November, 2020 04:53  
Blogger bluzdude said...

Biden should put up one of those thimble-sized suggestion boxes for Mitch to use and then go on about his business. Republicans have no shame when it comes to exercising their power. It's time for us to do the same.

06 November, 2020 05:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you sure a Democratic senator could be appointed to replace a Republican one who resigns? Some if not many states require the governor to appoint a replacement of the same political party. A reader in Philadelphia

06 November, 2020 10:10  
Blogger Annie Asks You said...

As Biden has already expressed his willingness to bring one or two Rs into his admin, this isn’t an outlandish idea. Norm Ornstein mulled over the thought of Burr at CIA bc D Roy Cooper would appoint replacement. But I don’t think it meets the smell test to start draining the massive trumpian swamp by appointing a guy with an insider trading cloud hovering above.

Johnson? The Russian stooge who perpetuates the Hunter Biden conspiracy? That Johnson? I think not.

Toomey? I dunno. I think we’ll have enough trouble squeezing dollars past Mitch to put a Republican-thinking guy at Treasury.

I’d much rather have us be laser-focused on the two Georgia seats. Hope everyone’s ready to open wallets for those bc the money to defeat them will be seismic.

06 November, 2020 13:59  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Kay: Thanks! I do try.

Debra: I'm not sure Biden quite has the chutzpah for it, but here's hoping.

Mike: Yes. Enough of trying to play nice with these slime-buckets.

Sixpence: I was really hoping McGrath and Harrison would make it. Unfortunately, well, it's Kentucky and South Carolina.

Hackwhacker: As Electoral-Vote said, though, most of the public isn't that up to speed on these issues. And getting that Senate majority is worth a lot.

Bluzdude: The president does have a lot of clout. Maybe he will find a way to twist McConnell's arm on the obstruction issue.

Anon: Electoral-Vote is usually pretty expert on stuff like this. I think they would know what the applicable laws are in those states.

Annie: It's probably hard to find any Republican these days who doesn't have at least some swamp slime clinging to him. Again, it's worth putting up with a lot to get that Senate majority. It's true that the Georgia runoffs offer another route, but they're far from a sure thing -- and even if we win there, I'd like to see as big a majority as possible, so prying off a couple more seats would still be worth doing.

06 November, 2020 15:41  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Great ideas. Control of the senate is the key to getting legislation passed and most important kicking Moscow Mitch’s ass to the curb!

06 November, 2020 16:04  
Blogger Annie Asks You said...

Well, at least remove Russian Ron from the discussion, please.

06 November, 2020 16:52  
Blogger Tommykey said...

Interesting idea. Meanwhile, you might get a chuckle from my latest post about something I got in the mail from the Trump Cult.

06 November, 2020 22:37  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Shaw: I'd relish his defeat almost as much as Trump's.

Annie: The important thing is to get that Senate majority. If we have to do unsavory-but-legal things to achieve it, well, that's the reality of the situation. I'm not willing to sacrifice covid-19 relief, a public option, court expansion, DC statehood, and all the rest of it, just because somebody couldn't stomach making a side deal with one slimy character, if that's what it takes.

Tommykey: Cool.....

07 November, 2020 05:44  
Blogger yellowdoggranny said...

hope it works

07 November, 2020 11:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't know much about Pat Toomey. He's another Catholic right winger who loves socialism for him but not for you or me. He's another deficit hawk who wants to cut federal social programs after those big taxcuts he voted for. Mitch McConnell is very fond of him.

He's also one of the most extreme anti abortion, anti women's health senators we have. He's voted against funding Planned Parenthood, he supports banning safe, legal abortion and jailing doctors who provide this medical procedure. He voted in favor of shutting down the government over funding for Planned Parenthood. Of course, he's against Roe V. Wade and would vote to repeal.

He needs to be gone from government.

07 November, 2020 14:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if moscow mitch keeps the senate the precedents he has helpeed establish on the almost complete immunity of the executive branch and broad recogination of execitive priviledge will now come back to haunt him.
He will not be able to hobble the Biden admin with repeated requests for documents and sub poena's for executive branch employees since he has spent the last 4 years protecting demented donnie's administration from oversight.
The courts can't help either since they have established legal precedents supporting those specious claims.
Just think now, according to courts, any request for documents or testimony must be dependent upon active legislation. Biden can extend claims of executive priviledge to non government individuals being asked to testify. And the list goes on and on.
Recommend new legislation returning these standards to the "antebellum" status before demented donnies regime that will only go into effect on winner of the 2024 race.

07 November, 2020 15:44  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

JackieSue: One way or another, we've got to work around Moscow Mitch.

Anon 1: See my 2nd response to Annie above.

Anon 2: I hope so, but the cases of Garland and Coathanger Coney show that he doesn't respect precedents even when he himself made them up.

08 November, 2020 04:37  
Blogger Bohemian said...

The impotent rage of Enemies is Entertaining! Turtle Man needs to have his Mortality and Bad Karma catch up to him, along with the Tangerine Turd... it would be a Two-fer.

10 November, 2020 04:31  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Moscow Mitch has been so arrogant, it's almost as if the concept of schadenfreude was made with him in mind.

10 November, 2020 06:32  

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