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Joe Henderson: Mitch McConnell’s sneaky move is how they roll in the swamp

If you don’t believe Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s move to cancel that body’s August recess was a snarky political stunt aimed at Democrats, hey, I’ve got some swamp land for sale.

It’s undrained but you’ll love it, believe me.

Still, it was unseemly and even a little whiny for Florida Democrat Bill Nelson to complain out loud that the edict is designed to keep him from campaigning at a critical time in his race against Rick Scott — even though it is.

It’s nonetheless a bad look to say so.

Nelson is one of 10 Senate Democrats up for re-election in states won by Donald Trump in 2016. There are 35 Senate seats up for grabs this fall and 24 are currently held by Democrats.

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I guess McConnell really likes being the Majority Leader and wants to make it as hard on the opposition party as possible.

“Mitch is using any excuse he can in order to hold those of us who want to be home campaigning, hold us here in Washington because we have to vote. That’s what he’s doing,” Nelson was quoted as saying in the Miami Herald.

“This is nothing but raw politics. He can do all of that stuff and, of course, I’ll be here voting, which is why the people sent me here, but at the end of the day that’s not going to do him any good.”

Nelson probably would have been better off saying nothing, except for the part about doing the work he was elected to do. And then flood the airwaves with TV showing him at work while Scott, who is the governor the last time I checked, is crisscrossing the state on campaign stops.

Interesting, but shortly after Scott took a jab at Nelson on Twitter, the Tampa Bay Times reported the Governor took off to San Francisco for a swanky fundraiser. 

Let’s get to west … I mean, get to work.

Scott’s TV ads have been relentlessly hammering Nelson as a career politician whose time has passed, while hoping no will notice that if elected to the Senate after serving two terms as Governor, Scott would fit the definition of a career politician.

But Nelson has begun fighting back and is reinforcing his strengths from places where Scott might be considered weak: the environment, gun violence, and women.

Last weekend, he spoke in Tampa at the Florida NOW conference, and he continues to work with Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio on things like hurricane preparation. Scott has thus far shown no ability to reach a hand across the aisle. 

So, McConnell wants to keep Democrats off the trail during prime campaign season on the flimsy excuse that they’ve bottled up many of Trump’s appointments, eh?

Obviously, McConnell forgot about his refusal to even hold a hearing on Barack Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

That’s life in the swamp, I guess.

Written By

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.

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