If MAGA-backing Republicans are searching for that one silver-bullet-type proposal to galvanize conservatives across the country this year, they should initiate a “Dump Mitch McConnell” movement and then marvel as voters instantly wake up and smell the electoral coffee.
I’m not kidding. You know how it is when someone says something that you’re not really paying close attention to and then a moment later it registers and you think, “Hey, that’s a good idea”? This is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s safe to say there aren’t a whole lot of subjects that unite people and get them excited at the same time, but the prospect of hiring new leadership in the United States Senate would definitely do the trick for conservatives.
“Cocaine Mitch” or whatever you choose to call him these days, is the most unpopular politician in Washington. Whereas senile Joe Biden and cackling moron Kamala Harris aren’t exactly well-loved (at -13.3 and -17.0 respectively) in the Real Clear Politics Average (note: Donald Trump is holding fairly steady at -12.9, which makes him a smidge more well-thought of than his 2020 opponent), the longtime GOP establishmentarian from Kentucky is looking up at all of them with only 25.8 percent favorable and 57 percent seeing him unfavorably. For you math challenged folks, that’s -31.2 percent. Not good.
If McConnell had to face all of the Republican Party’s voters to earn the honor of leading the nation’s GOP senate contingent, he wouldn’t survive a primary, yet still he sits on his throne in the marble columned capitol building acting as though he owns a monopoly on how the entire party should conduct itself. Heck, even Kevin McCarthy in the House is nearly three times as well regarded as McConnell is (McCarthy’s rating is only -12.7, about the same as Trump’s).
Getting down to the nitty gritty, Mitch McConnell is basically Liz Cheney without the blond hairdo, but with enough common sense to keep his mouth mostly shut about Donald Trump. McConnell’s content-free strategy is threatening to bring down the GOP this year. With his refusal to positively and publicly tout Trump-endorsed senate candidates in numerous states (Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and Wisconsin, among others), Democrats have taken early polling leads in those locations and show signs of perhaps being able to sustain the advantages through early November.
This just shouldn’t be. In times past, McConnell was hailed as a procedural tactician who’d ingrained all of the nuances of senate tradition so as to do whatever it took to win against the Democrats, the only problem being that Mitch’s theoretical magical abilities rarely worked in practice. Mitch was also advertised as the only Republican standard bearer who could herd his ideologically disparate cats into a coherent group, but it’s about time that people like Senators Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Mitt Romney faced a little pressure to move right rather than always clogging things up for conservatives.
If Mitch McConnell can’t get it done, put someone in there with the right combative attitude and then watch the grassroots respond. Dump Mitch! The eternally on-point Scott McKay wrote at The American Spectator last week:
“Yes, we need a red wave this fall. Yes, all the fundamentals are still there to produce it. And yes, the candidates are good enough. What isn’t good enough is the leadership. Let’s not forget that neither Joe Biden nor Kamala Harris is the most unpopular politician in Washington. Nor is Chuck Schumer or even Nancy Pelosi. No, Morphine Mitch McConnell has that honor. And yet his framing of this election is as a referendum on whether he gets to make the decisions in the Senate?
“Maddeningly out of touch.
“But if the activists and voters on the ground will ignore the sandbagging comments of Mitch McConnell and get out the vote, then maybe, just maybe, he’ll wake up on Nov. 9 and start counting votes in his caucus and realize he doesn’t have a majority within it. Because Trump is right. We can’t get a new Senate leader fast enough. If we get one, we’ll go a long way toward having a Republican Party capable of leading the national revival we so badly need.”
Yes indeed, a national revival is precisely what America needs, and the first step in accomplishing it is to take out the trash, so to speak, at the highest levels of Republican establishment-land. Much has been written lately about the utter destruction of the Bush-era establishment when it comes to presidential politics, but why hasn’t a similar thing occurred in Congress?
Conservatives and Republicans like to chide Joe Biden for the fact he’s been in Washington since before Richard Nixon resigned, but so has Mitch McConnell. According to Wikipedia, “From 1968 to 1970, McConnell worked as chief legislative assistant to Senator Marlow Cook in Washington, D.C., managing a legislative department consisting of five members as well as assisting with speech writing and constituent services… “In October 1974, McConnell returned to Washington to fill a position as Deputy Assistant Attorney General under President Gerald Ford, where he worked alongside Robert Bork, Laurence Silberman, and Antonin Scalia. He also served as acting United States Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legislative Affairs under President Ford in 1975.”
McConnell went back to Kentucky for a few years when he was elected to a judgeship, then ran for and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984. The now eighty-year-old Mitch became the Republican senate leader in 2007 and has occupied the chair ever since. All of the Bush-era leadership needs to be pushed out, and McConnell is one of the last remaining holdouts. We’re starting to see signs of a new attitude in the House, though many argue that Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy can’t be trusted to wage the type of scorched earth fight against the emerging left that circumstances and the state of politics today require. McCarthy appears to have consolidated the most outspoken conservatives (such as Rep. Jim Jordan) behind the possibility of his speakership, however, which gives us hope that the Californian won’t be another John Boehner or Paul Ryan if presented with the chance to wield the Speaker’s gavel.
We don’t need a “leader” who’s there because no one else can gather the votes for party roles. Being viewed as a “good guy” only works in the Democrat party. If you don’t believe it, look at Joe Biden (he’s not a good guy, but that’s another story). But Democrats also favor leaders who are fierce partisans, the type of hired gun who won’t blink at the notion of employing deadly verbal political force at the drop of a throw-down.
Republicans need a Pelosi. Or a Chucky Schumer. Or a legislative-minded Donald trump, not a ruling class wussy who shrinks from calling people out in front of cameras and microphones.
History supplies clues as to the personality type to tap. Perhaps Republicans should elevate someone who isn’t liked by the caucus members. In military lore, often the most effective generals were those who were loathed by the men in the rank and file. World War II legend George Patton was nicknamed “Old Blood and Guts” by his men, for example, and it wasn’t because of their fondness for the man. But Patton also won victories while stomping on the military establishment every step of the way.
Likewise, Confederate Civil War General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson posthumously was depicted as a legendary leader loved and revered by the common soldier in the lost cause, but in life it wasn’t that way. Jackson was an eccentric former Virginia Military Institute professor who would unhesitatingly send his troops into extremely tough spots and didn’t appear to be personally affected by high casualties. Stonewall’s corps was almost completely decimated in the bloody cornfield at Antietam and Jackson would’ve sent more to their deaths if he’d had additional units available that day.
McConnell will not attain such lofty status in the annals of great leaders. There will be no noble statues of Mitch for future generations to gawk at and admire. If McConnell were emblazoned in bronze, no doubt his bespectacled mug would attract the greatest numbers of pigeons to leave foul-smelling evidence of their visit and patronage.
The citizenry isn’t likely to be as appreciative. McConnell will join a growing list of former U.S. leaders who will be remembered more for their failures than their occasional triumphs. In the business world, leaders must produce to keep stockholders happy – or they’ll be “retired” with a generous severance package. Only in politics could a loser like Mitch McConnell hang on for so long.
It's about time to throw the turtle a going away party. But we must “dump” him first.
If Anthony Fauci, who’s of comparable age and a Washington lifer like ol’ Mitch, can announce his retirement and send reverberations of joy across the fruited plain, why can’t McConnell do the same thing? Luckily for conservatives, we don’t have to wait until the current Republican leader opts to hang up his business suit. It would be just as good – and arguably more satisfying – to simply vote him out of his position. Start the movement now.
Note: For the record: McConnell did host a fundraiser for Georgia’s Herschel Walker and Pennsylvania’s Mehmet Oz last weekend, but all of the above points regarding the need for a new, aggressive leader are still on point.
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