Enough Already With ‘Moscow Mitch’


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally did it—she referred to Mitch McConnell by the worst political nickname running today, “Moscow Mitch.”

“We all want to invest in building our democracy and saving it from any enemies foreign and domestic, so we’ve sent our legislation to the Senate,” Pelosi said today at an event in Illinois, according to NBC News. “‘Moscow Mitch’ says that he is the ‘Grim Reaper” … that he’s going to bury all this legislation. Well, we have news for him. All this legislation is alive and well in the general public.”

She was speaking about gun bills the House has passed and sent to die in the Senate under McConnell’s leadership. Fine, a good point to make—the Senate is fucked, and McConnell has made it his life’s worked to keep it that way.

But this is a bridge too far, for me, not because using an unwanted nickname is impolite—readers of this blog know we have few qualms about that, except if it’s blatantly racist—but because it’s an exceedingly lame attempt to denigrate one of the most powerful men in the country. “Moscow Mitch”? That’s the absolute best you’ve got?

I’ve hated this moniker since the first moment I heard it. Here’s are some of the reasons why, in no particular order:

  • Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough, a man who used to have Donald Trump ham it up on his show with some frequency before he became president, apparently coined it. Bad enough already.
  • The aim is to imply that McConnell—an evil man, but nonetheless a very gifted lawmaker if he’s working for your side—is a Russian agent.
  • It embodies everything I hate about the great RUSSIA freakout from 2016 to the present—the notion that Republicans and others are working with the Russian government to undermine our elections, keep Trump in power, etc. etc. when McConnell and his party have been undermining elections quite effectively without Trump for years!
  • It’s meant as a counterbalance to Trump, who loves to give shitty nicknames to his adversaries. What if the Democrats’ counterattack was, I don’t know, fighting him tooth and nail on critical issues?
  • It’s kinda…not cool against ordinary Russians! “Moscow Mitch” is also intended to imply something uniquely sinister, corrupt, and criminal about those damn Russians. Gross!
  • And finally: McConnell’s up to far more nefarious shit in plain view! But “Packing the Judicial Branch With Federalist Society Idiots Who’ll Send the Nation’s Laws Back to the Stone Age Mitch” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

To all this I say: enough. Try harder, or (give up) this pointless game.

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