Mitch McConnell Explains Brexit Results With a Factually Questionable Soundbite

Soundbite over substance.

“Unelected bureaucrats,” may make for a good soundbite, but it has left us a bit confused.

It was the expression Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used in an interview Sunday with host George Stephanopoulos on This Week when he explained the Brexit results as: “What you saw in England, at least from what I read, is that people got tired of being dictated to by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.”

We would have appreciated more clarity on what exactly McConnell meant by “being dictated to.” If he meant having to deal with EU laws, well, those are passed by the European Parliament, whose 751 members are directly elected by voters every five years. In the most recent election, in 2014, 73 of those members represented the UK, tied with Italy and behind France and Germany for the largest number of seats, a proportional allotment based on population.

But those “unelected bureaucrats” are lurking everywhere. “We have a lot of that here in this country,” says McConnell. “A lot of the president’s bureaucrats expanding regulations in a way that slow our economy and make it difficult for us to have growth, even though we didn’t pass any legislation allowing them to do that.”

Surely he doesn’t mean the president’s cabinet as an example of this untamed lawlessness, considering its establishment dates back to the Constitution of the United States—Article II, Section 2, more specifically.

McConnell’s lines were minor players in the soundbite game. Even in this one interview they were eclipsed by another story:

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 10.34.23 AM

But it’s a compact example of the larger issue of what happens when politicians craft responses that minimize substance and maximize rhetorical and emotional reception. The Brexit vote itself is a perfect example, with the Leave campaign promises—monetary, xenophobic—now being laid bare as the empty, emotional ploys they were all this time.