On her MSNBC TV show the other night, Joy Reid asked the Rev. William Barber, co-chair of The Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, if he thought that unseating Mitch McConnell would change the GOP's hard-right course. (She'd just interviewed Amy McGrath, McConnell's Democratic opponent.)
"This form of extremism that cloaks itself as Republicanism is a sick, septic form of selfishness and lust for power that has corroded all of them and you really have to have an entirely new majority."
Barber didn't mince words: "This form of extremism that cloaks itself as Republicanism is a sick, septic form of selfishness and lust for power that has corroded all of them and you really have to have an entirely new majority."
But he warned McGrath's party that Republicans "are for real," plainly implying that Democrats should play hardball, too.
Reid had McGrath on after the retired Marine jet pilot more than held her own in a TV debate with McConnell, who was first elected in 1984. Barber blasted McConnell's now famous chuckle when McGrath challenged, “The House passed a bill in May, and the Senate went on vacation! You just don’t do that, you negotiate.”
Barber called McConnell's derisive laughter "one of the most damnable forms of 'I'm so sick with the lust for power that I just don't care.'"
For the umpteenth time, McConnell blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for stalling a Covid relief bill, though her chamber passed the HEROES Act five months ago.
CNN's Jill Filipovic also lit into McConnell for laughing at McGrath: "There's nothing funny about the utter, unconscionable failures over which this Senate Majority Leader has presided. There's nothing funny about more Americans dead from Covid-19 than died in World War I, Vietnam, the Korean War, and the Iraq war combined. Or that while the US contributes just 4% percent of the world's population, it makes up 20% of the world's Covid deaths.
"But the point is not only that McConnell found something to laugh about in Covid deaths, although it was striking that chortling was the response he reached for. His laughter-as-answer to McGrath came off as something else, and a reaction that will be familiar to many women: Condescension and dismissiveness. You foolish girl ... You just don't understand how it works. (It's an illuminating bit of video, if you haven't yet watched.)"
“McConnell’s gleeful laugh when McGrath talks about his failures on COVID is...what pure evil looks like,” Hamill tweeted.
In a fund-raising email, McGrath pointed out that after he stopped laughing, McConnell claimed her "whole campaign can be summed up by these words: “She’s a Marine, she’s a mom, and I’ve been there too long.'”
She added, "I’d like to thank Mitch for a new campaign slogan."
With less than two weeks to go until election day, McGrath trails by nine in a just released Mason-Dixon poll. The numbers mirror "the clear grassroots support for Amy McGrath, and confirms that Kentucky families know Senator McConnell has been sacrificing the needs of the Commonwealth for his own political ambition," said a statement from Marisa McNee, Kentucky Democratic Party spokesperson.
"He's turned his back on Kentucky's workers and small businesses by continuing to delay another much needed round of COVID relief, going as far as telling the White House not to make a deal to help Kentuckians because Mitch has other priorities. Kentuckians are going to reject McConnell’s failed leadership and elect a true leader, Amy McGrath, in November."
All photos by Berry Craig.