• Nathan Max

'A Disgraceful Dereliction of Duty'


Steve Schmidt

Editor's Note: Steve Schmidt is one of the founding members of the Lincoln Project. He is a communications and public affairs strategist who has worked on several Republican campaigns, including John McCain's 2008 bid for the White House, and he is now a regular political contributor to MSNBC. On Thursday, Schmidt responded to reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was lobbying colleagues to stand against the Jan. 6 Commission as a personal favor to him over a series of 10 tweets. MaxNewsToday has assembled this thread and reprinted it as one easy-to-read op-ed for our ongoing segment, Schmidt Storm. It has been edited for grammar and clarity. Mitch McConnell is reported to be begging Republican senators, asking them for a personal favor, which is voting against the January 6th Commission. What conceivable reason could there be for the Senate Minority Leader to vote against finding out every detail about what happened? This is a disgraceful dereliction of duty. Should McConnell succeed in his effort to whitewash January 6th, we will have a generation of political violence and emboldened extremists. This is the clear lesson of history. It is indisputable. The exercise of political power for the public good requires the wisdom to embrace the qualities of restraint, resoluteness, defiance and occasionally the raw power of majority action sustained by majority opinion to defend the integrity of our highest values and fight for justice and the supremacy of the rule of law. This is such an occasion. Politics requires the discernment to know when to fight and when to deal. Some lines must be held and some blockades must be smashed. Mitch McConnell has run circles around Chuck Schumer for a long time. Senate Democrats should make clear that they will end the filibuster to pass a January 6th Commission, and that they will not allow the filibuster to stand in the way of voting rights legislation in the face of the industrial-scale disenfranchisement efforts being passed by authoritarian GQP legislatures all over the country. The American people are on the side of our democracy. What we need are political leaders who have the guts and clear-eyed realism to defend our democracy, and the wherewithal to make an argument. It is Mitch McConnell who is the radical here. It is his extremism that warrants the reaction proposed. The filibuster will not be struck down to pass legislation, per se, but rather in defense of the American Republic, which has been under sustained attack by the senior elected officials of the GOP since Trump lost the election. The importance of this vote is profound. Some battles are zero sum. It is time for Senate Democrats to make clear that they will not yield or blink, that there will 100 percent be a January 6th Commission, and that they will annihilate the filibuster to bring one about. Appeasing and accommodating Mitch McConnell's bad faith isn’t a strategy, it’s a pathology. This moment requires confrontation, and Joe Biden is running the country. Senate Democrats should act with toughness and resolve. McConnell understands power. That’s what this is about. He is terrified of Trump and doesn’t want to lose his job. Trump will attack Mitch McConnell in North Carolina as the Leader Rallies return. This is how Mitch is trying to make nice. He is trying to pay tribute to Trump by shredding his oath. Fight back.