Archive for the ‘Mitch McConnell’ Category

Mitch McConnell: Washington’s most important Republican and second-most consequential elected official

November 13, 2008

“I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.

Abraham Lincoln

Which is how discerning conservatives felt while waiting to see if, in Election Day’s second-most important voting, Kentuckians would grant a fifth term to Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate Republicans. They did, making him Washington’s most important Republican and second-most consequential elected official. This apotheosis has happened even though he is handicapped by, as National Review rather cruelly says, “an owlish, tight-lipped public demeanor reminiscent of George Will.”

Mitch McConnell

That disability is, however, a strength because it precludes an occupational hazard of senators — presidential ambition. Besides, McConnell, 66, is completely a man of the Senate. At 22, he was an intern for Sen. John Sherman Cooper and went from law school to the staff of Sen. Marlow Cook. Because McConnell has been so thoroughly marinated in the institution’s subtle mores and complex rules, he will wring maximum leverage from probably 43 Republican votes.

Which is why Democrats spared no expense in attempting to unhorse him, recruiting a rich opponent and supplementing his spending with $6 million from the national party. McConnell, to his great credit, had made himself vulnerable by opposing the “Millionaires’ Amendment” to the McCain-Feingold law restricting political speech. That amendment punished wealthy, self-financing candidates by allowing their opponents to spend much more than the law otherwise allows. Last summer, the Supreme Court struck down the amendment for the reasons McConnell opposed it, including this one: Government has no business fine-tuning electoral competition by equalizing candidates’ abilities to speak.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/1
2/AR2008111202543.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

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For Republicans: Could Have Been Worse

November 5, 2008

If Republicans are searching — Reagan-style — for the pony in the pile of manure, perhaps they can find it in this: The double-whammy wipeout many of them were expecting didn’t materialize on Election Night.
Yes, Barack Obama crushed John McCain in the presidential race. But Democrats seem destined to fall well short of the filibuster-proof, 60-vote majority they wanted in the Senate, and Republicans have won a slew of House races they were braced to lose. 

Jim VandeHei, Tim Grieve, Politico

While never quite predicting it, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chief Charles Schumer of New York said late last month that 60 was “possible.” In the House, Democratic operatives and leadership types had their hopes set on a 30-seat pickup and thought they might get to 40 if everything broke their way.

It didn’t.

The Senate road to 60 was supposed to run through Alaska, but the morning after found Republican Sen. Ted Stevens holding onto a slim lead over Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich — despite the fact that Stevens was convicted last week on seven federal felony counts.

Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman worried that his vote on the $700 billion bailout would cost him the election, but it hasn’t, yet; he claimed victory over Al Franken, but the margin was so small that a recount is mandated under state law. In Oregon, Gordon Smith — the quintessential endangered moderate Republican — may yet lose his seat, but he’s leading at the moment. Roger Wicker dodged the wave in Mississippi; Saxby Chambliss looks like a survivor in Georgia; and Mitch McConnell is not Tom Daschle.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., delivers remarks during an election ... 
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., delivers remarks during an election night rally in Phoenix Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Looking on at right is wife Cindy McCain.(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

On the House side, Alaska Rep. Don Young — left for dead by just about everyone, including his governor, Sarah Palin — somehow managed to win reelection. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) saw roughly a million dollars pour into her opponent’s campaign after she went McCarthy on Chris Matthews and urged the news media to investigate whether members of Congress were “pro-American”; she won anyway. Seemingly vulnerable Republican Reps. Lee Terry of Nebraska, John Shadegg of Arizona and Mario Diaz-Balart and Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida all won new terms in Congress.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/15318

Today’s Lead Editorial: Vets for Reality

July 21, 2007

One of this week’s more notable Washington events flew under the media radar save for “Hardball with Chris Matthews” and a few conservative Web sites.

Vets for Freedom, a “pro-mission” band of Iraq and Afghanistan military veterans, took to Capitol Hill to try to convince senators that the mission in Iraq is worth the effort. We applaud this group’s effort in the political war to support the real war. It’s a telling sign of the parlous state of the Iraq debate that a group like this, focused solely on sustaining the war policy and consisting of first-hand witnesses to the war, has to exist.

Most of the 25 or so who came to Washington are combat veterans, some of them wounded. Alongside them were the father of a Marine killed in action in Iraq and supportive veterans of all ages. They knocked at the office doors of Sens. John Warner, James Webb, Carl Levin, Barbara Boxer and dozens of others on the opposite side of this war debate. Most weren’t available. They also were met in person by two Iraq stalwarts, Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain. Nine senators showed up at an afternoon press conference, including Joe Lieberman and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Mr. Warner met the Vets in person. The meeting was reportedly icy, but the Virginia Republican deserves plaudits for granting them hearing. The usual Hill recourse to unscheduled groups with an unwelcome message is polite notice that the senator is a busy man (or woman), and he just can’t meet you right now.

Two of the group’s messages cannot be highlighted enough. The first is that Washington’s penchant for re-arguing the decision to enter Iraq is utterly irrelevant to the most important Iraq question right now. It is not enough to argue that al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq before the invasion. It’s surely there now, and people who turn their backs on Iraq could not also be serious about combating al Qaeda. The terrorists consider that country the prime current battleground. We cede it at our peril.

The second message is that the surge is a serious improvement over previous efforts in Iraq. It deserves a chance, and it is beyond hypocritical for Congress to undercut it. This Congress confirmed Gen. David Petraeus by an 81-0 margin to be commander in Iraq with a mandate to keep fighting. That they have gone wobbly before the surge is fully in effect says everything one needs to know about this Congress and nothing much about the general. “You can’t create D.C. timelines for what’s going on Baghdad,” the head of Vets for Freedom, Army National Guard First Lt. Pete Hegseth, told “Harball” on Wednesday. “As a soldier who has been there and seen what this strategy can do, [the surge] has the opportunity to bring about real change, finally,” he also said.

Here’s hoping a first-hand, personal approach to the Iraq debate can turn some heads which otherwise would not.