Mitch McConnell Confirms GOP Are The Party Of White Male Privilege


Everyone is talking about the way Sen. Elizabeth Warren was treated last night by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but few have noted how the episode reflects some of the worst moments in the history of Congress.

During debate on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions last night, McConnell invoked Senate Rule XIX to stop Warren from reading a letter that Coretta Scott King, widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr, sent to the Senate committee that considered Jeff Sessions for a federal bench seat in 1986.

“I’ve been red-carded on Sen. Sessions. I’m out of the game of the Senate floor,” Warren told Rachel Maddow shortly afterwards in a phone interview.

In a long series of tweets last night, attorney James Grimmelmann explained the history of Rule XIX, which began as a means to stifle talk of abolition.

Grimmelmann points to this example from 1837. When John Quincy Adams engineered a challenge to the gag rule, southern senators tried to have him censured.

So it figures that McConnell would invoke the gag rule to stop Warren from reading the words of an African American woman regarding a Republican senator who wants to be Attorney General.

The optics could not be worse for Republicans. McConnell did not hold a vote to gag Sen. Jeff Merkley when he read Mrs. King’s letter, which was already part of the congressional record, later last night. Does gender explain the difference, or is McConnell now afraid of the backlash?

Either way, he comes off as a craven bully.

This is white male fragility at its finest.

Having transformed into the party of Donald Trump, Republicans are eager to elevate Jeff Sessions and restore the respectability that white supremacy enjoyed before the civil rights era. His fellow Republican senators have made a concerted effort to rehabilitate his reputation and distort his record.

Their intolerance for Elizabeth Warren reading Coretta Scott King makes perfect sense in that context.

“Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters,” King wrote in 1986. Coming from a woman, these words were clearly triggering for McConnell and 48 other Republican snowflakes, who then voted to make the United States Senate a ‘safe space.’

It’s the same political correctness that suffocated debate in 1837.

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