Moscow Mitch?

I’m no fan of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. But this caricaturing of candidates has gone too far.

Donald Trump makes his points through repetition. The nicknames are a part of that.

Lyin’ James Comey. Low Energy Jeb. Low-IQ Maxine Waters. Crooked Hillary. Crazy Bernie. Sleepy Joe Biden.

And the worst: Pocahontas, for Senator Elizabeth Warren, an ethnic slur that should be as offensive to Native Americans as it is to the Democrats who support her.

I’m sure these nicknames are effective. But they’re the lowest of mud-slinging tactics. They take the politics of personal attack and turn it into a branding element.

Governing is complex and takes extended effort and intelligence. Campaigning has nuance. Calling your enemies by a simple name is a lot easier: it creates an impression without proof of anything. It appeals to the unthinking lizard brain, it doesn’t belong in our politics, and we should renounce it.

What about Moscow Mitch?

Mitch McConnell blocked dollars dedicated to stopping Russian election fraud. He backed efforts to lift sanctions on Russian company Rusal, which invested $200 million in his district.

If you want to question McConnell’s patriotism, have at it. If you want to paint him as the most partisan politician to have power in the modern era, let fly.

But once you start with the nicknames, you’ve sunk to the lizard-brain level. There’s no need for proof. It’s just tar and feathers. Just because Trump has led on this trend, do you really feel you need to follow?

“It’s just good clean fun,” I hear you protesting. “And that meme is awfully funny.”

If you really want to use any tactics to boost your own side in the argument — if you want to stoop to this level — I can’t stop you. But take a moment to consider where things will end up.

Any candidate, Democrat or Republican, that engages in this sort of name-calling in this election doesn’t deserve your respect. That’s not how we do things. Or at least, it shouldn’t be.

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  1. Re: Moscow Mitch, it’s way beyond the examples you gave. It’s money from Russian oligarch’s flowing into his pockets via the NRA and other dark money channels. If the USA had a real DOJ anymore (rather than the GOP’s personal law team), Mitch would be in court.

    It’s not good clean fun. The USA is currently in a “slowly boiling the frog” situation and Mitch is right in the middle of it. There are many books yet to be written about this…

    1. I agree with you, Andy. I take no enjoyment out of using #MoscowMitch. I feel he is holding our democratic process hostage, and seems to feel no shame and no responsibility for his actions that hurt Americans. He holds one of the most powerful positions in the world, and he uses that power ruthlessly.

      We are at a point where he, and his enablers, need shaking up. So, if billboards in his town point out potentially shady connections ( — if that’s what it takes to get an investigation started, or to bring awareness to voters and get him out of office — so be it.

  2. I’m reminded, though, of Adlai Stevenson, who, when a woman called out “Governor, you have the vote of every thinking person!” replied “That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!“

    I doubt Mr. Stevenson would have referred to McConnell as “Moscow Mitch,” but maybe this election we should be inclusive and go after some lizard-brain voters.