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Explaining Mitch McConnell’s distorted moral framework


[In an MSNBC appearance on April 8, 2022, Tim Miller discussed Mitch McConnell’s political-moral framework. This came in the wake of an interview in which Jonathan Swan asked the Senate majority leader where McConnell draws “moral red lines” and about the apparent contradiction between his Feb. 13, 2021 statement about Trump being responsible for the Jan. 6th insurrection and his subsequent statements saying he would support Trump if the Republican party nominates him again for president. Miller’s remarks are transcribed below.]

I want to, if you don’t mind, try to step back and try to explain Mitch McConnell and maybe look at his February 13 remarks in a little different context.

Look, throughout history, anyone in politics has to balance their values, their moral beliefs with what they believe to be politically expedient. And sometimes those things conflict, don’t they? It’s politics. Politics is not a poof, as they say. And sometimes people decide to do what is politically expedient over what they think is morally correct. No matter your party.

Look at Mitch’s predecessor, Harry Reid. When he lied on Mitt Romney’s tax returns, he wasn’t thinking about morals, he was thinking about what was politically expedient at the time. What Jonathan’s interview with Mitch revealed is that Mitch McConnell is a class difference from all those other politicians. Mitch McConnell is not at all trying to balance what moral values ​​he may or may not have with what is politically expedient.

What he believes is that whatever is politically expedient is moral. . . . What he said is actually not a contradiction because on February 13, what he thought was politically expedient for his party was to signal to swing voters, to signal to Remaining Republicans with a conscience that this party does not isn’t all thrown in with domestic terrorists, with the people responsible for the deaths on Capitol Hill.

Two weeks later, when the politics started to change, what he was doing was signaling to MAGA voters that they shouldn’t break the party, that they could stay with it – that in the end, he would do anything MAGA voters want him to do as he has for the past five years. And so for Mitch McConnell, his actions were consistent because his whole moral framework is all I need to do to advance my power and the power of my party right now is the moral thing.

And, why this interview is so important, why John’s interview is so important, is because Mitch is winning this argument right now. Throughout Republican Washington and many Republican voters, they live in this bubble where, in the post-Trump era, they no longer consider morality. They decided that owning the libraries is the most important thing, the highest and best goal.

And so by asking that question, Jonathan kind of pulled it off [McConnell] of this bubble and this moral framework in which he had to kind of reflect on this and answer a question: do I have a morality that replaces politics? And the answer was that it doesn’t matter to Mitch McConnell. You could just see it. You just see him shaking his head. He honestly couldn’t even understand Jonathan’s question. He was confused. Because for him, what is politically right is what is moral, and that was tested on January 6. He saw the dead at the Capitol and he still said, meh, I don’t care.