Miles across the country, Mitch McConnell dropped a pen he was holding, and the world reeled about him.
“Great heavens,” McConnell said, “I have made a great mistake, whose gravity until this very moment I had not realized!” He glanced around his office, the office of a mere lowly Senate majority leader, and rent his garments just slightly, since they were woven tightly enough to make any real rending difficult. “I have wasted my whole life!”
He sighed a great sigh and pushed several bills on gun reform he was personally preventing from coming to a vote this month off the desk in a gesture of pique. “The Senate is not good enough! Oh, what a fool I have been!“
From the cage full of gnawed bones in the corner in which he now lives rather than sitting on the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland whimpered. McConnell whirled on him in a rage. “Merrick, why did you not say something? Why did you let me waste these years taking the fight somewhere that was not directly to the source, when I could have caused so much pain and peril?”
Garland started to say something, but McConnell did not let him finish. In a fit, he trashed a plaque he had made for himself to commemorate confirming President Trump’s 107th judicial nominee, a record that will linger for decades after he is gone, and tore up another Senate procedural rule, making the process still more vulnerable to partisan stalling, just for good measure.
“I could have been making a real difference, Merrick!” McConnell shouted. “I could have had an impact! Here I was, like a nincompoop, turning a whole house of the legislature into the Party of No, dedicated to stalling the Obama administration’s agenda at every turn, when I could have actually caused pain and peril. What have I been doing all this time?“
He ripped off his flag pin and shredded yet another request to pass a bill to secure future elections or prevent campaigns from accepting foreign assistance, which he had been allowing to fester on his desk. “No, I am running for president, Merrick! I have been powerless and useless long enough!”
He stormed out of the office of the majority leader, which had never before seemed so small and powerless. Why, it barely mattered who occupied it! A final shudder of protest convulsed him as he resigned himself to the disheartening truth: If even someone like Beto O’Rourke would not stoop to free him from his mistake, he would be stuck there forever.
Read more from Alexandra Petri: