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Mitch McConnell's disturbing chuckle

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Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell debated Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath, a former fighter pilot, over coronavirus relief and the Supreme Court.

Posted: Oct 14, 2020 12:41 PM
Updated: Oct 14, 2020 12:41 PM

Mitch McConnell appears to think this is some kind of joke.

At a televised debate Monday night, Amy McGrath, who is running against McConnell for a US Senate seat from Kentucky, noted again and again that a pandemic has plunged the country into an unrelenting crisis and McConnell's Republican-controlled Senate is refusing to do anything to alleviate the pain. In response, McConnell laughed. And laughed. And laughed.

And then he blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

More than 210,000 Americans are dead. At least 26 million people are collecting unemployment benefits, and many more than that are unemployed, underemployed, or in danger of losing their jobs.

More than 600,000 women left the workforce in September alone (compared with 78,000 men), according to government data.

And while the Republican controlled Senate, where McConnell is the majority leader, can get it together to hold lightning-speed confirmation hearings aimed at thrusting Amy Coney Barrett onto the Supreme Court before the November 3 election, they have shown no such ability to advance a new relief package for those hundreds of millions of Americans struggling — many with jobs and lives in ruins — as a deadly disease continues its rampage through their communities.

A relief bill is sitting on Mitch "I know how to make deals" McConnell's desk, and he's pushed it aside.

And there's really no charitable reading possible for McConnell's chuckling at a debate over the question of Covid relief.

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.)

As for the actual metrics of chaos that McGrath laid at his feet — the unemployed Americans, the dead Americans — McConnell couldn't even pretend to care. The effect was one of arrogance — not to mention stunningly cold and even sexist.

"She mentions she was in the Marines about every other sentence," McConnell said, derisively. "I think her entire campaign is: she's a Marine, she's a mom, and I've been there (in Washington) too long." Translation: She's just a Marine and just a mom; she doesn't know what she's doing, which is why she's questioning what I've done.

The defense McConnell offered for his do-nothing party is that the other side won't negotiate — even though House Democrats did indeed pass a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill early this month, which McConnell has rejected. And McConnell can manage to rally his troops to, as McGrath put it, "ram through a Supreme Court nominee right now, instead of negotiating, which is what he should have been doing all summer long to make that happen."

Despite being a member of the party of personal responsibility, McConnell refuses to accept accountability for the Senate's dereliction of duty on additional Covid relief for Americans. Instead, he blames Pelosi, who gets the bulk of his ire, and he heaps condescension on another woman — his political opponent, McGrath — for having the temerity to even ask.

Kentucky is currently facing a backlog of some 75,000 unresolved unemployment claims — state residents who are out of a job but unable to collect much-needed benefits. Drug deaths, obesity rates and cancer rates are all stunningly high. About 1 in 4 children in Kentucky lives in poverty — and that was before Covid-19 wiped out tens of thousands of Kentucky jobs.

The state saw a remarkable drop in the percentage of uninsured residents, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), going from 66% uninsured in 2010 to a mere 5.5% uninsured by 2019.

But now, with his state, and the country, trapped in the teeth of a pandemic, McConnell has forced confirmation hearings for a conservative Supreme Court nominee who many believe would join in a decision to obliterate the ACA in a case set to come before the court in just a few weeks.

Now the question is: Will Kentucky voters agree that this is all a laughing matter?

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Warmest day since November ahead Monday.
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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 666516

Reported Deaths: 12726
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion912711659
Lake48687890
Allen36102644
Hamilton32445398
St. Joseph30306514
Elkhart25510420
Vanderburgh21326382
Tippecanoe20220205
Johnson16466363
Porter16068281
Hendricks15944302
Clark12060182
Madison11799323
Vigo11685234
Monroe10419164
Delaware9891179
LaPorte9831199
Howard9112201
Kosciusko8597111
Bartholomew7522147
Hancock7462134
Warrick7451153
Floyd7263173
Wayne6661192
Grant6462158
Boone616691
Morgan6129128
Dubois5936112
Dearborn551270
Cass5485100
Marshall5451105
Henry542995
Noble513178
Jackson465567
Shelby463391
Lawrence4195113
Gibson405185
Harrison403265
Clinton397553
Montgomery391684
DeKalb387478
Miami358263
Knox357885
Whitley351238
Huntington349477
Steuben340055
Putnam333960
Wabash333176
Ripley327962
Adams325449
Jasper319143
White298152
Jefferson296274
Daviess285996
Fayette272756
Decatur271688
Greene262680
Posey261432
Wells259075
Scott251850
LaGrange242470
Clay241644
Randolph226077
Spencer219430
Jennings216744
Washington213027
Sullivan203739
Fountain202842
Starke189951
Owen183654
Fulton179737
Jay178728
Carroll176919
Perry174036
Orange171451
Rush165622
Vermillion161543
Franklin159935
Tipton149541
Parke140216
Pike128533
Blackford120627
Pulaski107644
Newton96832
Brown95340
Benton92413
Crawford92213
Martin80314
Warren75914
Switzerland7558
Union67510
Ohio54211
Unassigned0427

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