Lead photo via Flickr User Gabe Skidmore
Since he ascended to a position of power in the Senate, people have made fun of Mitch McConnell’s interesting, decidedly turtle-like appearance. In other words, he’s not, nor has he ever been, one for Calvin Klein underwear shoots. But compared to what might have been, Mitch McConnell is an incredibly — some would say miraculously — fit older man with more dexterity, acuity, and strength than by all rights he should have. That is because as a child, Mitch McConnell suffered from a debilitating physical ailment, Polio, an illness that could have easily confined him to an iron lung or even an early grave. But thanks in specific to the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, a nonprofit charity organization whose goals overlapped with a campaign called the March of Dimes, McConnell was saved and has been able to grow old, greedy, and misguided rather than frail, crippled, and miserable.
This story is important because as the highest ranking member of the Senate, Mitch McConnell has made it his business to make it more difficult for organizations like March of Dimes and others that literally saved McConnell’s life to do their jobs efficiently. Though the organization that charitably works to provide care is not governmental, its voice is heard by lobbyists, and any legislator has the responsibility to recognize the needs of such groups. McConnell even went so far as to refuse to meet with March of Dimes when it sought to give its input on the Republican “healthcare” bill that was recently put on ice until after the Senate’s July 4th holiday recess. By rejecting a dialogue with charities like the one that saved him, McConnell is illustrating his lack of any sort of consistent moral principles.
To wit, during the passage of Obamacare, which the Republicans had a month to look over and make more than 160 amendments to, McConnell railed against the lack of transparency in the process. He continued to criticize it while Republicans fiddled with the bill for eight months before it actually passed. In contrast, the replacement health care bill the Senate got from the House this year was vetted by two committees for a grand total of 48 hours before being pushed through to McConnell’s loving arms. Of course, a man who beat Polio (thanks to a charitable organization) only to become a legislator would know how important basic access to medicine is for Americans, especially children. He would hold up to his promises that medicare needs to be strengthened. Right?
McConnell outlined the Senate’s version of the bill last week. This bill, contrary to all rational thought, was even more ruthless, and more favorable not to the sick but to the richest Americans. The bill, in the words of no less a morally bankrupt individual than our current President of United States, was even “meaner” than the House bill. For a detailed account of exactly what changes have been made to the bill, Senator Chris Murphy’s Twitter feed is replete with photos of the bill with the relevant passages highlighted and annotated. Suffice it to say that it seems to be far from the product of someone who owes his health to charitable acts. But if you happen to have the fortitude to read it in full, it can be found here. Spoiler alert, it reads like a plan written by a millionaire to make sure his friends’ grandkids can have buildings named after them at LSU and Baylor one day.