Friday, July 19, 2013

The Unraveling of Mitch McConnell

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. . . this is the week that Mitch McConnell lost his iron grip on the Senate Republican caucus.
~ Michael Tomasky on Daily Beast

Mr. McConnell, minority leader of Senate Republicans, became even too obstructive for his own colleagues this week as they sought to end the endless GOP filibusters that have ground Washington to a halt.
It left Mr. McConnell, who so loves the filibuster he once filibustered himself, sidelined.
It is a stunning fall from power for Mr. McConnell, famous for marching his members in lock-step party discipline, and could leave him considerably weakened as he seeks a sixth Senate term, touting his power and influence.
~ Lexington Courier-Journal

From Roll Call
A meeting of Senate Republicans on Wednesday grew tense as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told his members he could have gotten a better deal on nominations than the one negotiated by rank-and-file Republicans.
McConnell’s tone, according to multiple sources, implied that he had been kept in the dark about the talks between some in his own ranks and Democrats. However, those same Republicans say they kept McConnell updated throughout their negotiating process.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., got so frustrated with McConnell’s presentation of events, that he called “bullshit” loud enough for the room to hear, nearly a half-dozen sources said. The heated exchange underscored the “buyer’s remorse” among some Republicans, especially leaders, one senior Republican said on background.

I’m really glad what happened yesterday at lunch, as far as my response, I’m glad that that occurred.
~ Senator Bob Corker, via Roll Call

As a rule, when senators are shouting "bullpucky" -- or perhaps a related word with a similar prefix -- at their own party's leader, it's not a good sign.
~ Maddow Blog

[The Filibuster Deal] will give more momentum to those who want to go to 51 votes, there's no doubt about that," McCain said, adding that the Senate's budget conferees could be told not to discuss the debt limit under a motion to instruct. "That's the way the regular order works around here. You just don't say, 'No, I object to going forward.'"
He also told The Huffington Post in a brief hallway interview last week that the same group of conservative senators had threatened to filibuster debate on gun control legislation. It's not just about regular order, McCain said, but also about how Americans view the Republican Party.
"They had planned, the same people, on filibustering the gun bill and not moving forward with it for debate, and finally it was enough of us that prevailed that we moved forward with debate," McCain said. "Think how the American people would have reacted if we hadn't even agreed to debate the gun bill?"
~ John McCain on Huffington Post

Mr. McConnell lost quite a bit of power . . . His caucus was forced to kneel to the Democrats, and for all his insistence that the filibuster remains a real weapon, he was unable to stop 17 Republicans from setting the weapon down. If these Republicans continue to allow votes on nominees, Mr. McConnell will not be able to block other people President Obama wants on his team. (Of course, that remains a big if, and Mr. McConnell will undoubtedly encourage obstruction.)
The most telling proof of defeat was in the words of three other Republican leaders who also voted against the deal and appeared with Mr. McConnell — John Thune, John Cornyn, and John Barrasso. Each of them said how glad he was to get past this whole messy nominations things so that they could get back to their preferred topic: “Obamacare.”
It’s a “train wreck,” Mr. Thune and Mr. Cornyn said. It’s “unraveling,” Mr. Barrasso said.
~ New York Times

. . . This is killing Mitch McConnell. He simply does not know what he is doing and is worn out. As are the hundreds of GOP strategists who have been shaped by his policies and singing along with Mitch for over two decades.
It's really the end of the road for Mitch. Help me, anyone, interpret what's going on any other way.
~ Ken Camarro on New York Times

The game is on in Kentucky for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Democratic Party.
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat and the only woman to hold statewide office in Kentucky, announced Monday that she will run for the U.S. Senate next year and challenge McConnell. Grimes, 34, is the Democratic Party's top candidate after actress-activist Ashley Judd decided in March she would not run.
~ USA Today

The Kentucky Senate race is now a tossup. Mitch McConnell is the most unpopular incumbent in the entire country. He is a relic of the past and a symbol of everything that is wrong with Washington. Kentuckians want a change.
~ Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)

Mr. McConnell is fairly unpopular in Kentucky. Public opinion surveys show that, on average, more Kentuckians disapprove than approve of the job he has done in the Senate. Roughly half of the respondents in the four recent partisan polls said they disapproved of Mr. McConnell’s performance.
~ Nate Silver, 538 Blog

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