John Krull

John Krull

INDIANAPOLIS ­-- It's a pity when bad things happen to good people.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, is such a case. He has a new moniker he does not like.

Moscow Mitch.

The new name came after McConnell decided, on his own, to block all bipartisan attempts to prevent Russian interference in U.S. elections. Some digging revealed that Russian oligarchs with tight ties to the Russian government had invested $200 million in Kentucky in a deal brokered by some former McConnell aides and close associates. The oligarchs also contributed $3.5 million to a campaign fund run by McConnell.

As if a little thing like hundreds of millions of dollars could sway a man of McConnell's sterling character and reputation.

Even Democrats were quick to see how unfair the whole thing is.

"Cruel nicknames can be so hurtful -- and so destructive to a process that depends upon trust and respectful dialogue. We know you never would condone such conduct and would stand up to anyone who engages in such behavior," former Vice President "Creepy" Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee "Crooked" Hillary Clinton and former U.S. Sen. "Sleepy" Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, said in a joint statement.

Former President Barack Obama offered McConnell some wise counsel.

The former commander-in-chief said that the majority leader should provide additional documentation of his birth that proved "Moscow" was not part of his name. That might put the matter to rest.

"I remember there was this odd blowhard TV reality show star who kept insisting I wasn't a U.S. citizen long after government records proved I was. Majority Leader McConnell helped shut that guy up and send him packing. I wonder whatever became of that reality show blowhard?" Obama said.

Fortunately, McConnell has been able to rise above the ugliness.

With his silence he has made a powerful statement about his faith and commitment to principles of inclusion. Even corrupt billionaire oligarchs and murderous autocrats, his silence eloquently argues, deserve compassion and support as they express themselves by lying, cheating, stealing and killing.

But sometimes silence isn't enough.

Sometimes a man must show his character in more obvious ways.

Sen. McConnell has done that.

His campaign released a couple of charming photos.

The first features a series of headstones marking the things and people the Senate majority leader supposedly has "killed."

On one headstone is the name of Judge Merrick Garland. President Obama nominated Garland to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. McConnell invented a new rule about not having the Senate vote on Supreme Court nominees in an election year. Then, when a Republican was in the White House, he said the rule no longer applied.

Few things could demonstrate more completely McConnell's commitment to fair play and the rule of law than putting Garland's name on a headstone.

Another headstone features the name of Amy McGrath, who plans to run against McConnell in next year's Kentucky Senate election. She's a retired 20-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. A pilot, she's flown more than 85 combat missions, taking the fight to some of America's most dangerous enemies.

McConnell's photo was a touching display of his devotion to and respect for veterans and the U.S. military.

Another photo showed some grinning young men wearing "Team Mitch" t-shirts surrounding a life-size cardboard cutout of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York.

The photo did not make clear what the young McConnell supporters found more humorous -- assaulting a young woman or assaulting a member of the U.S. Congress. Maybe it was the fact that they were playacting a felony against a woman who is a member of Congress -- a twofer -- that cracked them up.

Either way, it demonstrated the tremendous levels of respect for both women and American institutions McConnell inspires.

But that's the way it is with Mitch McConnell.

One doesn't have to look far at all to see just how much integrity this man possesses.

Moscow Mitch.


It's a pity when bad things happen to such fine people.

John Krull is director of Franklin College's Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of

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