Yesterday rumors began to circulate that the Senate’s longtime Republican “leader” Mitch McConnell might be preparing to retire. McConnell has been out of the public eye for weeks, following a serious fall that hospitalized him, but he has not issued any public statements indicating his retirement was imminent.
Nevertheless, the Capitol Hill Indian signs seemed to indicate that a GOP leadership shake-up is in the offing.
The Spectator reported multiple sources confirmed that Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming, John Cornyn of Texas and John Thune of South Dakota are actively reaching out to fellow Republican senators in efforts to prepare for an anticipated leadership vote — a vote that would occur upon announcement that McConnell would be retiring from his duties as leader, and presumably the Senate itself.
The name of Senator Rick Scott of Florida, who challenged McConnell for Republican Leader after the 2022 election and received 10 votes in the final leadership election tally was noticeably absent from The Spectator’s reporting. However, after the carpet bombing he received from McConnell and his allies for saying all federal laws and programs should be sunsetted and reviewed (he was right by the way) Scott may be out of the picture.
Although there is no obvious heir apparent to McConnell – who has been Republican Leader since 2007 – both Senator John Cornyn of Texas and Senator John Thune of South Dakota have served as second-in-command to McConnell.
Apparently, that alone, at least according to DC’s chattering class, makes them qualified to succeed their mentor as Senate Republican Leader.
Pardon us for putting it this way, but we don’t see how playing Curly to Mitch McConnell’s Moe qualifies Cornyn or Thune to lead Senate Republicans.
McConnell, who is the longest serving Senate Party Leader in history, is credited with two major accomplishments – sending an endless stream of pork to Kentucky and managing the confirmation of hundreds of relatively conservative judges – including the bloodletting confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
However, in virtually every other measure of his tenure as the leader of Senate Republicans Mitch McConnell has been an abject failure in advancing the Republican agenda.
McConnell’s recalcitrance in getting President Trump’s nominees confirmed, his opposition to the MAGA agenda and his public feuding with Trump did vast damage to the country and to the Republican Party and the conservative cause.
Indeed, in his role in defeating conservative efforts to rein-in federal spending, investigate the various scandals and failures of the Obama and Biden administrations, secure the Southern Border, close the endless stream of both legal and illegal aliens flowing into the country, and enact any other significant part of the larger conservative agenda Mitch McConnell acted more like the controlled opposition than an advocate for policies that would lead to governing America according to conservative principles.
And Thune, Cornyn, and often Barrasso were right there with him every Omnibus Appropriation bill, every debt ceiling increase and phony show vote along the way.
We’re not sure who else might get in the race for Senate Republican Leader if Mitch McConnell is indeed so debilitated by his fall that he can’t continue as Senate Republican Leader or even complete his term, and we wish ill health on no one, even people like Mitch McConnell whom we detest – it’s bad Karma.
But, if there is going to be a Senate Republican leadership shake up, we hope a real conservative gets in the race, there are several solid conservative Senators with the record and personal qualities to make them a much better choice than Cornyn, Thune or Barrasso, they just have to throw their hat in the ring to earn our support.
Senate Republican leadership