In case anyone was worried that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might be growing soft with age, new comments of his reported by The Hill should put your anxieties at rest. On Monday, McConnell told a crowd in Kentucky that he would shoot down any and all progressive policies proposed to Congress as long as he’s in power.
“If I’m still the majority leader in the Senate think of me as the Grim Reaper. None of that stuff is going to pass,” McConnell told constituents at an event in Owensboro, KY.
McConnell seemed to be specifically referring to the Green New Deal, the set of radical climate change policies proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“I guarantee you that if I’m the last man standing and I’m still the majority leader, it ain’t happening. I can promise you,” McConnell said.
In his comments, McConnell seemed to set up a strategy for 2020: focus on a perceived fear of socialism.
“Now, my friends, we’re having a legitimate debate about the virtues of socialism. And I don’t want you to think this is just a 28-year-old congresswoman from New York. This is much broader than that,” McConnell told constituents.
McConnell warned that Democratic votes of “present” on what he acknowledged was a “show vote” on the Green New Deal in the Senate last month showed that socialism is “a pervasive policy view on the other side.”
“I don’t want you to think this is just a couple of nut cases running around here on the fringe,” he added.
This isn’t the first time McConnell has revealed that attacking socialism is going to be a key strategy in 2020. Earlier in April, he told reporters that 2020 needs to include a “referendum on socialism.”
Of course, the GOP calling Democrats socialists is nothing new. It was a frequent line of attack against staunchly capitalist former president Barack Obama. The only difference now is that a few lawmakers, like Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, have actually expressed support for European-style social welfare policies.
Those policies, like Medicare for All, are generally extremely popular across the aisle. McConnell is going to have to hope that people don’t figure out what “socialism” actually means if he’s going to keep using it as a cudgel against the left.