On Wednesday, Mitch McConnell revealed that he has developed a severe brain injury, one that has crippled his ability to form new memories.
The revelation came when the Senate Majority Leader was asked to comment on the prospect of Democrats blocking Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick. When McConnell stepped up to the microphone, it had been less than 24 hours since Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination had expired after a record-setting 293 days of Republican obstruction.
But McConnell appeared to have no recollection of this fact.
“I think that’s something the American people simply will not tolerate,” he said, referring to any Democratic effort to prevent the confirmation of a new justice. “We’ll be looking forward to receiving a Supreme Court nomination and moving forward on it.”
As of this writing, the exact malady affecting the Senate Majority Leader’s temporal lobe remains unknown. But the fact that McConnell could not recall a 42-week-long Supreme Court blockade — that he himself had masterminded — testifies to the severity of his condition.
And there is no doubt that McConnell’s memory has, in fact, failed him. For not only did the American people tolerate his unprecedented act of obstruction — they rewarded his party with control of the presidency and both houses of Congress.
What’s more, McConnell’s blockade was far more radical than that which Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is currently proposing: McConnell refused to dignify president Obama’s high-court nominee with hearings; Schumer has merely suggested that Democrats would resist the confirmation of a pick who was on the right wing of American judicial opinion.
There is simply no credible explanation for McConnell’s behavior other than cognitive impairment. To make those remarks — in full awareness of his own recent conduct — the Majority Leader would have to be a mendacious cynic who boasts no higher principle than the will to power, and no stronger feeling for the American people than contempt for their intelligence.
Does that sound like the Mitch McConnell you remember?