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Mitch McConnell: Frozen in Time, Literally

Mitch McConnell: Frozen in Time, Literally
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Can the GOP call Biden feeble while McConnell falls, freezes, and fumbles?

It is sad to watch elderly people start to go downhill. I watched a very close friend of mine, who was a confidante, start falling when he turned 81. It all started with a halting walk and got to the point that he shuffled. He refused to give in. The falls got more serious, and he eventually became incapacitated, and died before he turned 83. It was awful.

About 20 years ago, I also witnessed a business colleague, who was up in years, have a mini stroke. It was exactly like what happened to Mitch McConnell yesterday. He just froze. No one knew what to do; however, we did the right thing by calling an ambulance and sending him to the hospital. It saved his life.

We probably have all seen someone we know or love go through a decline as they have aged, and it’s so terribly unfortunate. As we all know by now, McConnell, the Senate minority leader, who has been in the chamber for almost 40 years, has been having some serious health issues that seem to be getting progressively worse.

Mitch McConnell freezes mid-speech at US

Reports surfaced today that his falls have been more frequent than what we’ve been told. Yes, there was the big fall at the Waldorf-Astoria in Washington in March, where he cracked ribs and suffered a concussion. He went through rehab and returned a couple months later to the Senate. But NBC News, and others said that McConnell also fell while in Finland this winter, and more recently, did a “face plant” according to an eyewitness, disembarking from an airplane.

A friend of mine who is a doctor, and who has dealt with elderly patients, and who did not want to be attributed in the column since he’s not familiar with McConnell’s health, did offer a no nonsense take about the Senator.

“What happened yesterday appears to resemble symptoms of a mini stroke (also known as transient ischemic attack), but we can't be sure; however, whatever it was, because of his age, and underlying medical problems, including his recent falls and hospitalization, he should have been evaluated at a medical facility immediately."

"These falls are not suddenly going to stop; in fact, they are likely to get worse if he doesn't take serious precautions. The fact that he has a residual neurologic deficit (limp) from polio only compounds the danger for him. Anyone at his age and with his conditions should take these risks very seriously as they can result in injuries that are much more critical than cracked ribs or concussions.”

I wrote a very strong commentary last month blaming the recent and horrific antigay Supreme Court decision squarely and wholly on McConnell. Through the nearly 40 years he’s been in the Senate, it was his dream to have a conservative court that trashed Roe v. Wade. What he did to Obama and the Merrick Garland nomination was criminal. And how he rammed Amy Coney-Barrett only a few weeks before the 2020 presidential election was scandalous.

He would run over his wife, Elaine Cho, who was Trump’s Transportation Secretary, to get what he wants. Stories abound about McConnell’s vindictiveness and his warped use of archaic Senate chamber rules to push his conservative agenda.

But, McConnell, as it turned out, may have pushed too far, and now he’s making a mistake by pushing himself equally hard. Roe backfired on him to the point where he lost his lofty job as majority leader. I wrote a column before the 2020 election that said it would happen, that Biden would win and McConnell would lose, all because women were lining up in droves to vote over Roe.

This summer were SCOTUS rulings on affirmative action, and the antigay website designer, and next year, possibly, will be SCOTUS overturning Obergefell v. Hodges, the same way they did with the other three, during the last week in June 2024; watch how much that pisses people off. How will we feel about Mitch McConnell then? Remember, there is no 6-3 majority without the witchcraft of Mitch.

Finally, Trump hates McConnell, and quite frankly so do all his acolytes in the House. As they tear President Biden down for being a doddering old man, have they lost that argument because McConnell is doddering in front of our very eyes? The MAGA crowd wants the Senate Minority Leader gone. They also want Biden gone. But every ad of Biden tripping over a sandbag will be matched by an ad of McConnell staring blankly at the press. The irony is that a 77-year-old man is feebly leading the ancient name calling.

McConnell is now in the way of his own party because of his health. His SCOTUS obsession turned into a nightmare, and now McConnell is falling apart in public. Is this what we call “karma is a bitch?” Do we revile McConnell? Do we feel sorry for him? Can we be seething and sympathetic at the same time? Or do we bite our lip and hope he holds on, since he is presumably the last bulwark from keeping the Republican Party from blowing up completely?

I’ve written this before, but my first boyfriend in Washington, D.C. 30 some years ago worked for Senator McConnell. In those days, we used to meet on discreet street corners, since he always said he didn’t know if he’d still have a job if McConnell knew he was gay. He also told me that they'd put lipstick on McConnell to make.him look like he had lips. I was never quite sure if he was joking — or not.

McConnell and his tart tongue have been around for a long time. Much too long. Reagan was president when McConnell elected to the Senate. It was a completely different time and era, but through it all, McConnell’s zeal for righteous conservatism hasn’t waned, i.e., his vehemently hostile attitude towards abortion, marriage equality and the proposed Equality Act, to name a few. The public, though, has changed and moved forward. The McConnell I knew 30+ years ago through my first relationship is exactly the same.

That’s McConnell’s biggest problem — the world and times have changed and passed him by. And it’s for that reason, not his health or his deviousness, that he should step down. As long as he’s there, he’s not only a danger to himself, but a danger to us as well.

There’s a metaphor in his falling and freezing. His cultural values are frozen in time, and he has tripped up America as it tries to stumble forward. McConnell needs to get out of his own way, and ours.

John Casey is the senior editor of The Advocate.

Views expressed in The Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.

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John Casey

John Casey is a senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the United Nations and with four large U.S. retailers.
John Casey is a senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the United Nations and with four large U.S. retailers.