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Charles Homans, Mitch McConnell Got Everything He Wanted. But at What Cost ? The president whom the Senate Republican leader helped elect has turned out to be the one thing he can’t control. The New York Times Magazine, Jan. 22, 2019

At sunrise, there it was : a red-tailed hawk, its gyre widening over the United States Capitol building in the Creamsicle-colored light, like the world’s least subtle literary reference. It was still there by midafternoon, drifting on the thermals over the mostly depopulated National Mall, wheeling occasionally past the window in the hallway outside the office where the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, sat on the 20th day of what would soon become the longest government shutdown in American history.
That morning, Jan. 10, Washington’s principal chaos agent, the president of the United States, had given a typically accusatory and free-associative news conference on the White House lawn, reiterating his demand for $5 billion in funding for a wall along the Mexican border and his intention to continue the shutdown without it. Then he decamped to the border for some photo ops with Customs and Border Protection officials. Republican senators spent the lunch hour shuttling back and forth between Vice President Mike Pence and McConnell, sequestered in different quarters on the Capitol’s second floor. Now the last speeches of the day were being made, the reporters had mostly gone and McConnell sat in his office, reciting an unfamiliar tale : that of his own powerlessness.
“I’ve been in the meetings,” McConnell, dressed in a pinstripe suit and a banker collar, said. “It’s just that I don’t have the votes that can consummate the deal.” Those votes could come only at the behest of Trump or the new House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, he insisted — and, McConnell continued, “it seems to me the principals, the only people who can make this deal, as of the moment we’re having this discussion, seem to both think they have a winning hand.” Lire la suite

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