News with a Twist
Senate Minority Leader discusses his position in an exclusive one-on-one interview with Around the Block
Around the Block: Good evening Senator McConnell. Thank you for agreeing to this sit down. This is an exciting moment for Around the Block and our readers.
Senator McConnell: Well, thank you for inviting me. When my staff told me about your invitation, my first inclination was just to disregard it. But when they told me about the quality of Around the Black’s journalism, the fairness of your positions, your willingness to air both sides of an issue, I said, “By golly…I’ve got to meet this Tad Black so he can write a “fair and balanced story” (G-D, do I miss Roger Ailes) about why I think that corporate America should stay out of politics.” And I even asked my staff where do you get this thing, this Around the Black? So, they told me it was published on the interweb and that I could even subscribe. Well, I told them I didn’t want to waste my hard earned corporate donations on a subscription to some interweb, liberal, left-wing screed. But then they told me it was free so I told them to sign me on. I mean free is free. And then I read a few articles…let me tell you, the one about Cruz and Rubio being two rotten peas in a pod was a real hoot. I mean I can’t tell you how I despise that phony, Cruz. Did you know that he is the most hated man in the Senate. So I’m really excited about this interview. I mean…
Around the Block: Excuse me Senator McConnell, let me interrupt you, if you don’t mind. This is an interview, not a filibuster. And the topic is your statement that corporate America should stay out of politics. We can talk about the pros and cons of the filibuster in a follow up sit-down. And if you don’t mind the correction, and with all due respect, my name is Ted Block – B-L-O-C-K – not BLACK. And the name of my blog is Around the Block, not Around the Black.
Senator McConnell: Absolutely, Tad, Forgive me. I’ll have to chastise my staff for giving me the wrong information. I mean sometimes you just have to do everything yourself. It’s like the time I told my caucus that the single most important thing we ned to do is to make sure Obama is a one-term president. Well, you know, that didn’t work out so well, probably another staff FUBAR. But at least we were able to limit him to only two terms, that’s an accomplishment, and then defeat Hillary. Man, I might hate Bill more than Cruz. We all knew Trump is a fool, but I got the justices and the judges and we’ll probably overturn Roe v. Wade because of that crooked nincompoop. And then…Gosh darn, there I go again. I just can’t get this filibuster thing out of my system. Sorry, Tad. I’m ready for the interview now.
Around the Block: It’s Ted, senator, not Tad. But never mind that, we’re running short on time so let’s get right into it.
Senator, after the backlash over Georgia’s inaptly named “The Election Integrity Act of 2021” or, as some call it, “The Voter Suppression Act of 2021,” major Georgia-based corporations began calling out efforts to restrict voting access with a law they say would disproportionately disenfranchise people of color. And not only Georgia companies like Coca-Cola, UPS, Home Depot and Delta, but companies around the country including, Merck, Microsoft, Bank of America, Cisco, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, American Express among others. Major League Baseball even went so far as to move it’s All Star Game from Atlanta to Denver this year. What do you say about this unprecedented push back?
Senator McConnell: I say it’s STUPID! I say, STAY OUT OF POLITICS! I’m issuing a warning to these and any other companies that follow suit – this is not your business; this is our business!
Around the Block: But, with all due respect Senator, for decades you’ve been at the forefront of the effort to let corporations be as involved in politics as possible. You have filed lawsuits and amicus briefs to support corporations’ “free speech” in the form of political contributions. During Obama’s presidency, you fought to protect wealthy corporate donors from retribution over their political stances. You were quoted as saying in 2010 with the SCOTUS Citizens United ruling that said restricting corporate campaign donations is a violation of their First Amendment rights, it was my “best day ever.”
Senator McConnell: Did I say that? That’s pretty darn good. Well it was!
Around the Block: But now you’re calling companies’ political involvement “economic blackmail.” What’s the difference?
Senator McConnell: It is blackmail. But let me make one thing perfectly clear. This is not about political contributions. Political contributions are the life-blood of the American political system. Remember…and I tell contributors this all the time, particularly the mega donors…we don’t want your opinions. All we want is your money. Just shut up and pay. We’ll take it from there.
Around the Block: That sounds a little hypocritical to me, Senator. After all, you and your colleagues are sent to Congress to represent the interests of your constituents, to listen to them and to pass laws that are in their best interests.
Senator McConnell: There you go again, Tad. You’ve got it all backwards. We go to Washington to wield power. And then we spend all our time making sure we get re-elected and stay there to wield even more power. This isn’t about representation or the good of the country. It’s about jobs – our jobs!
Around the Block: It’s Ted. Oh, never mind. Frankly, Senator, I’m astonished that you’d say that for the record. It’s quite damning.
Senator McConnell: Well to be completely candid with you, I actually had my staff research your little Around the Black blog. They told me almost no one reads it, so I thought I’d have a little Kentucky fun with you. (Guffaw, guffaw, guffaw)
Around the Block: Understood. And thanks your your honesty. Maybe I should headline this interview “McConnell Comes Clean – Tell the Truth for the First Time!” That would be a real scoop.
But allow me to end with this, Senator. Just before you arrived for this interview, you seemed to back off from your original position when you said, “I didn’t say that very artfully yesterday. Companies are entitled to be involved in politics. My principal complaint is, they didn’t read the darn bill. … There are many states right now after the new Georgia law, that are much more restrictive than the new Georgia law.”
That sounds a little disingenuous. I mean, did you read the bill? Can you name one other state with more restrictive voting laws than Georgia’s?
Senator McConnell: Uh, well, hmm…Staff, staff, help me out here. Anyone? Anyone? Figures. I guess I’ll just have to get back to you on that one, Tad.
Around the Block: I look forward to that Senator. And thanks once again for sitting down one-on-one with Around the Block.
Remind me: What did you say my contribution had to be to get this interview? And which one of you PACs do I write the check to? One last thing – will this be an on-going contribution or can I opt out, unlike the Trump scam?