Editorial Cartoon

The State Journal

Ironically, it’s the self-proclaimed “Grim Reaper,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — a man whose political strategy for the past several years has been to shroud House Democrats’ legislative priorities in the Republican-led Senate — who is calling for the country to “learn how to behave better and be able to disagree without anger.”

Elected in 1984, McConnell, who is the longest-serving GOP U.S. Senate leader in history, made the remark Monday after receiving the 2019 Distinguished Rural Kentuckian award at the annual meeting of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives in Louisville.

In his speech, the 77-year-old senator, who is also the top-ranking Republican in Congress, pointed to a lack of civility as the number one problem with the country today.

“We have a behavioral problem. People are acting out and it’s not, I don’t think, limited to one ideological place or another. You’ve got a lot of people engaging in bad behavior,” he said, vowing to steer political discourse away from angry tones.

While we agree with his assessment of the modern political scene, we call “foul” on McConnell, who is a practitioner of the politics he decries.

His remarks are akin to the pot calling the kettle black, and his reputation as a bare-knuckled politician precedes him.

“If that’s what he believes,” countered Marisa McNee, Kentucky Democratic Party spokeswoman, “that it is such a stain on our politics, the lack of civility, does he regret the way he has allowed his own campaign to behave?”

McConnell steered clear of hot-button topics such as the House impeachment inquiry but left the door open when asked whether President Trump was partially to blame for stoking tensions with his combative tweets.

“I think we have a civility problem and I didn’t confine it to just liberals,” he added. “I think it’s across the board.”

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