Mitch McConnell’s Got to Go
Now more than ever, it’s time for some fresh blood and new ideas in the Republican Senate caucus.
Let’s get right down to business: Mitch McConnell’s got to go.
It’d be best if the 80-year-old senator stepped down as minority leader and allowed some fresh blood into the Republican leadership mix, but that appears highly unlikely. Instead, Nancy Pelosi-like, he seems committed to hanging onto power and content to blame his party’s failure to retake the Senate on a slate of candidates that wasn’t entirely to his liking.
If Mitch had his way, his Republican caucus would be chock-full of Donald Trump haters like Joe O'Dea, the Coloradoan who got his clock cleaned by 14 points by incumbent Michael Bennet, even though McConnell funneled millions in campaign advertising into O'Dea’s campaign at the expense of far closer races, such as that of Arizona’s Blake Masters and that of New Hampshire’s Don Bolduc, both of whom lost far more narrowly than O'Dea.
But that’s not the worst of McConnell’s sins. No, that would be his decision to pull campaign funding from the likes of Masters and Bolduc and instead spend it on the single worst Republican senator in the entire caucus, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, a RINO who voted against confirming Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and who votes with Joe Biden a sickening 67% of the time.
Sixty-seven percent of the time.
Worse yet, McConnell didn’t just funnel those much-needed millions to Alaska so that Murkowski could stave off a Democrat challenger. No, he did so to allow Murkowski to wage war on a fellow Republican — a solid conservative named Kelly Tshibaka, whom the state’s Republican Party supported over Murkowski and whom Alaska’s voters prefer over Murkowski.
Currently, in a rotten ranked-choice election that Murkowski engineered specifically to help her prevail over a more conservative challenger, she trails Tshibaka by 1.4%. But because of ranked-choice voting, she may well ultimately prevail due to her being preferred by most Democrats as their second choice.
Why on earth would Mitch McConnell weaponize Republican money against the preferred candidate of Alaska Republicans? Answer: Because he has Murkowski’s support as minority leader.
What could be scummier?
As Newt Gingrich told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham: “I think Mitch McConnell, more than any single person, cost us control of the Senate. He spent $4 million attacking Don Bolduc with despicable ads. … McConnell pulled out of Nevada three weeks before the election. … He pulled out of Arizona. Fact is, Mitch McConnell runs a Mitch McConnell PAC, and then raises the money as though he’s going to fight for control of the Senate. He’s fighting for Mitch McConnell, not for the Republican Party.”
And could McConnell possibly be any more of an albatross around the neck of the party? A brand-new Civiqs poll has McConnell’s unfavorable rating at 81% and his favorable rating at a jaw-slackening 7%.
Eighty-one and seven? We can only wonder: What might Vladimir Putin’s numbers be like among the American electorate? Or Xi Jinping’s? This much we do know: Both of them are within single digits of Mitch McConnell.
“Election defeats have consequences,” say the editorial page editors of The Wall Street Journal, “and Republicans on Capitol Hill are grumbling about their leaders again. Fair enough, but where are the alternative candidates and what would they do differently?”
Okay, we’ll bite: For starters, how about giving full-throated and unequivocal support to your entire slate of Senate candidates, regardless of whether they were endorsed by Donald Trump, and regardless of whether they said something that hurt your feelings?
“Social-media griping about the ‘establishment’ is grandstanding, not governance,” say the editors, who are clearly in the tank for Establishment Mitch. And it’s true that Republican support hasn’t coalesced around a particular successor to McConnell, but it most certainly will, given time. Instead, McConnell is eager to ram through a scheduled leadership vote tomorrow, before the 2022 election is even completed. (In case McConnell and his supporters had forgotten, there’s a crucial Senate seat yet to be decided in Georgia, and all his energies — and those of every Republican — should be focused on getting that 50th seat for Herschel Walker and the GOP.)
One Republican senator who seems superbly equipped for leadership is Arkansas’s Tom Cotton. He’s young, whip-smart, articulate, and staunchly conservative, but he’s also registered his support for McConnell. Here’s what he said this weekend:
I don’t see why we would delay the election, since all five or six of our leadership elections are uncontested. You know, the great wrestling champion Ric Flair used to say, to be the man, you got to beat the man. And so far, no one’s had the nerve to step forward and challenge Senator McConnell. So, I support Senator McConnell. I support the other slate of candidates for our leadership elections. I think it’s better that we move forward with these elections, so we can focus again on the Georgia runoff.
Elsewhere among Republicans, the anti-Mitch sentiment is building, and it includes Senator Marco Rubio, who called for postponing this week’s leadership vote, as well as Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Josh Hawley, Ron Johnson, Rick Scott, Cynthia Lummis, and others.
“Abandoning Blake Masters was indefensible,” said Cruz on his podcast. “Because Masters said he would vote against Mitch McConnell. And so Mitch would rather be leader than have a Republican majority.” He added, “If there’s a Republican who can win who’s not going to support Mitch, the truth of the matter is he’d rather the Democrat win.”
Mitch McConnell almost singlehandedly kept Merrick Garland off the Supreme Court during the Obama years, and for that all conservatives should be eternally grateful. He’s also largely to thank for confirming a slew of Trump-appointed judges and justices. But it’s time for new Republican leadership in the Senate. And it’s time for someone to step forward.
Updated with addition info about Mitch McConnell’s incompetence and vindictiveness.
Start a conversation using these share links: