By Jim Hightower
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to share his long-repressed feelings about a traumatic event. “It was,” the Kentucky Republican confided, grim-faced, “the worst day of my political life.”
Was he talking about the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America? No.
McConnell was reflecting on the day 12 years ago when the Senate approved the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, imposing some limits on political donations by super-rich corporate interests.
While the vast majority of Americans enthusiastically supports such restrictions, the gentleman from Kentucky isn’t often sway by what The People want.
So this June, he shared the shame he felt that fateful day in a meeting he attended in Southern California.
It was a very sympathetic group: more than 100 right-wing billionaires convened by the Koch brothers to fund a plutocratic takeover of Congress in this year’s elections.
McConnell was the featured act at the three-day Koch-a-palooza held at the posh St. Regis Monarch Bay resort in Dana Point. There, he titillated the elites with the changes that would result from a GOP takeover of the Senate.
For one thing, he exulted, “we’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals.” Like what, you might ask? “Like raising the minimum wage,” explained the senator of a state with tens of thousands of minimum-wage workers desperately needing a raise.
Poor Mitch. For once, he was being honest, thinking his candor would not be heard outside this closed-door enclave of Koch-heads. But — oops — a recording of his comments was leaked to The Nation magazine.
Now, Kentucky voters are learning how put upon their nearly $200,000-a-year lawmaker feels for just having to talk about those “gosh darn proposals” to lift the roughly $15,000-a-year poverty pay of his minimum-wage constituents.
Keep talking, Mitch — such stuff is what makes politics the Greatest Show on Earth. Or is it the funniest? Or saddest? Kentucky voters will get to choose in November.
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.