Patterico's Pontifications

8/30/2023

Mitch McConnell Freezes Up Again

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:53 am



[guest post by Dana]

Yet another painful freeze-up from Mitch McConnell. This comes after a similar event last month, and before that, two falls, and one that left him with cracked ribs and a concussion:

Clearly, there is something seriously wrong here. McConnell, who is 81 years, is among a handful of aged politicians whose mishaps have become an issue of concern:

90-year-old Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) appeared confused and had to be coached to vote “aye” during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the $831 billion Defense Appropriations bill.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ((R-Ky.) suddenly appearing to freeze in mid-sentence during a weekly GOP leadership news conference and going silent for approximately 20 seconds before being walked away.

Beyond those two examples, we have the escalating worries swirling about 80-year-old President Joe Biden based upon his continued verbal and mental gaffes and miscues. They have sadly happened with such frequency that one need only google “Biden senior moments” to view dozens of them.

As a matter of fact, Democratic voters are becoming more vocal in their concerns about Biden being in the Oval Office for another four years:

In the poll, fully 77% said Biden is too old to be effective for four more years. Not only do 89% of Republicans say that, so do 69% of Democrats. That view is held across age groups, not just by young people, though older Democrats specifically are more supportive of his 2024 bid.

The AP-NORC survey went beyond posing questions and presenting choices. It also had a word association exercise, asking people to offer the first word or phrase that comes to mind at the mention of each man.

The answers underscored how age is a particular drag for Biden across party lines, even when people aren’t prompted to think about that, and how Trump largely escapes that only to draw disdain if not disgust on other fronts.

In those visceral responses, 26% mentioned Biden’s age and an additional 15% used words such as “slow” or “confused.” One Republican thought of “potato.” Among Democrats, Biden’s age was mentioned upfront by 28%. They preferred such terms over “president,” “leader,” “strong” or “capable.” One who approves of his performance nevertheless called him “senile.”

It’s interesting to note that, while physical/mental health is a factor in deciding whether to step down (or be expelled), so too is how to replace these aging and powerful politicians. Consider this with Mitch McConnell’s seat:

The governor of Kentucky is Democrat Andy Beshear. The Seventeenth Amendment tells us that if a senator leaves office due to death, resignation or expulsion, the governor of said state is empowered to appoint a replacement to complete the term or to hold office until a special election can take place.

Beshear obviously wouldn’t be inclined to appoint a Republican to fill McConnell’s seat…and McConnell isn’t up for re-election until 2026. Thus, straight politics appears to be the deciding factor here.

While party machinations and needs may add to an aged politician’s reluctance to step down when it’s obviously time to, I also think that the inevitable want/need for continued power, money, and influence can’t be ignored. Sadly, such is human nature. And at that level, the harder it would be to give up such perks and benefits. However, it’s important to hear from McConnell himself about his role in what he perceives to be a very critical moment in the GOP’s history:

“There are those who are trying to redefine what a Republican is — I’m not in that group,” he continued. “And so this is, I think, an important point for the future of the party, and given my place in my career at this point, this is the most important thing going on that I might be able to have some impact on.”

In the extensive interview, McConnell also discusses his concerns about NATO, Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and the fact that Republicans (newly elected, especially) are not concerned about Ukraine being defeated by Russia. This is where someone of McConnell’s age and experience is a great benefit to the Party.

Ultimately, however, the question really is:

At what point should human decency and compassion trump the political and ideological needs of those in power?

–Dana

Rudy Giuliani: Legally Liable In Harassed Election Workers’ Defamation Case

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:14 am



[guest post by Dana]

Holding Rudy Giuliani accountable:

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Rudy Giuliani is legally liable for defaming two Georgia election workers who became the subject of conspiracy theories related to the 2020 election that were amplified by Donald Trump in the final weeks of his presidency.

In an unsparing, 57-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell said Giuliani had flagrantly violated her orders to preserve and produce relevant evidence to the election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, resulting in a “default” judgment against him. She also ordered him to pay Freeman and Moss “punitive” damages for failing to fulfill his obligations.

From the order:

ORDERED that default judgment will be entered against defendant Rudolph W. Giuliani on his liability for plaintiffs’ defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy, and punitive damage claims, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 37(e)(2)(C) and 37(b)(2)(A)(vi);

As a reminder, this is what Shaye Moss said happened to her as a result of Giuliani (and Trump’s) reprehensible lies and vile harassment of her:

At the urging of her boss, Moss said she checked her Facebook messages and there “were just a lot of horrible things there.” They included “a lot of threats, wishing death upon me, telling me that I’ll be in jail with my mother and saying things like, ‘Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920.’”

“A lot of them were racist, a lot of them were just hateful,” Moss said.

She said her son also received threats and that at one point, people went to her grandmother’s house and tried to make a “citizen’s arrest.”

As a result of the harassment and for her safety, the FBI then instructed Ruby Freeman to leave her home. Here is a snapshot of her response to the events:

“It was horrible,” Freeman said. “I felt homeless. I can’t believe this person [Trump] has caused this much damage to me and my family, to have to leave my home.”

Freeman said she lost her reputation and a sense of security because Trump and Giuliani “decided to scapegoat me and my daughter to push their own lies about the election being stolen.”

“There is nowhere I feel safe, nowhere,” Freeman said. “Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you? The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American — not to target one. But he targeted me — Lady Ruby, a small-business owner, a mother, a proud American citizen who stand up to help Fulton County run an election in the middle of the pandemic.”

Judge Beryl Howell wrote:

“Donning a cloak of victimization may play well on a public stage to certain audiences, but in a court of law this performance has served only to subvert the normal process of discovery in a straight-forward defamation case, with the concomitant necessity of repeated court intervention.”

Additionally:

Howell said that aside from an initial document production of 193 pages, the information Giuliani had turned over consisted largely of “a single page of communications, blobs of indecipherable data” and “a sliver of the financial documents required to be produced.”

The order is here.

Only the best people…right.

–Dana


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