The Hero of the Hour

 

Sen. Mitch McConnell.

The defeat of the omnibus spending bill in the senate yesterday represented, as Steve Manacek notes below, an enormous achievement–just enormous.  That achievement belongs to the senior senator from Kentucky.

To be sure, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina did stout service, threatening to demand a reading of the 1,924 omnibus spending monstrosity, while Sen. John McCain appeared on all the talk shows, urging Americans to take to email and Twitter to oppose the outrage.  (And it was good to see John McCain enjoying himself attacking Democrats instead of his fellow Republicans.)  But it was minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell who held the Republicans together–again.  McConnell lacks the sheer force of personality that made Lyndon Johnson so irresistible in the Senate, but he possesses high intelligence, utter mastery of the Senate’s arcane rules and customs, and–this is becoming increasingly clear–a determination to stand on principle.

As Kim Strassel writes in this morning’s Wall Street Journal:

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell accomplished a mini Christmas miracle. The Kentuckian devoted yesterday to making the arguments–both principled and political–to the Spending Nine [the nine Republicans tempted to support the spending bill].  He was ultimately persuasive enough….

And the lesson for Republicans (yet again)?  Unity and principle rule.  Mr. McConnell held his members against ObamaCare, and won an election.  He held them on taxes, and force President Obama to help the economy.  And this week, by holding together on something equally straightforward–a promise of sical responsibility–Republicans turned what could have been a black eye into a bitter humiliation for Mr. Reid [the Senate majority leader] and other supporters of an irresponsible spending blowout.

Since the presidency of John Kennedy–or, perhaps, even that of Franklin Roosevelt–the press has conditioned us to look to the White House for high drama.  Over the next couple of years, though, the highest drama will unfold on Capitol Hill.  And even if he has an undistinguished speaking voice and unprepossessing looks, I don’t care.  Mitch McConnell is my hero.

There are 11 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @GoodBerean

    Although McConnell definitely has some RINO in his lineage, he certainly was a conservative war horse in this instance. Hurrah!

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Member
    @

    The Democratic Party was successfully shifting the discussion about fiscal responsibility against the Republicans after the tax cut deal and then they propose this monstrosity? The Dems proposed an omnibus spending bill that unites the GOP and allows us to regain some of the mantle of responsibility. I thought it was our party that was suppose to shoot itself in the foot.

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    @

    Peter, I recall that at the Rico Soiree in San Francisco, I was expressing my disdain for McConnell. You very gently suggested that he’d done yeoman’s work in holding Senate GOP members in line and he might not be as ineffective as I feared.

    Yup. You were right.

    It was the standing on principle part that I was worried about. McConnell is either a more principled guy than I thought – or he’s a pragmatist who’s discovered that standing on principle works.

    By the way, who were the “spending nine”?

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    @MorituriTe
    Peter Robinson I’m telling you, I’m ready to build a Mitch McConnell statue in my own front yard.

    Give me a call, Peter, and I’ll take the first shift, guarding Bronze Mitch from your neighbors.

    One of the great pleasures in life is to be proved wrong about a person one holds in low esteem. If such a person can so far exceed our expectations, perhaps the world does hold more admirable people than we previously imagined. It is a cause for hope, and celebration.

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  5. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PeterRobinson
    Kenneth: Peter, I recall that at the Rico Soiree in San Francisco, I was expressing my disdain for McConnell. You very gently suggested that he’d done yeoman’s work in holding Senate GOP members in line and he might not be as ineffective as I feared.

    Yup. You were right.

    · Dec 17 at 12:05pm

    Kenneth, all I want for Christmas is a postcard from you saying, simply, “You were right and I was wrong.” I’ll frame it, then hang it where my kids will be able to see it. (Daniel, if you’d like to send a postcard of your won, feel free.)

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  6. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Peter Robinson

    Kenneth: Peter, I recall that at the Rico Soiree in San Francisco, I was expressing my disdain for McConnell. You very gently suggested that he’d done yeoman’s work in holding Senate GOP members in line and he might not be as ineffective as I feared.

    Yup. You were right.

    · Dec 17 at 12:05pm

    Kenneth, all I want for Christmas is a postcard from you saying, simply, “You were right and I was wrong.” I’ll frame it, then hang it where my kids will be able to see it. (Daniel, if you’d like to send a postcard of your won, feel free.) · Dec 17 at 12:47pm

    Email me an address. Peter

    • #6
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    @DuaneOyen

    McConnell won me over when he told Harry Reid at this time in 2008 that Harry could count on full support from the Republicans to the same extent that Harry cooperated when Bush was president.

    I have been pretty supportive of McConnell here in the past; he is not, nor has he ever been, a RINO. We need to stop using those terms on people who are conservative, but not as Ayn Rand or Ron Paul as the TEA Party caucus thinks they should be. McConnell has a lifetime ACU ranking of 90% (89.66). Why isn’t that good enough?

    In Minnesota, there are some bloggers who like to call Pawlenty a RINO because he has to govern realistically in a Blue-Purple state. Reality: you can’t run Minnesota like it was Utah- and you can’t manage a caucus that includes the Maine twins as though it was the Utah state senate. Sometimes you must choose between actual government and pleasing headlines.

    With the complexities of Congressional rules you simply can’t get all you want. Harry Reid had a supermajority, and thanks in large part to McConnell, didn’t get much beyond ObamaCare and the “stimulus”.

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    @Todd

    Good for him, but for me, it’s still “trust but verify”.

    And perhaps Christine O’donnell deserves some credit as well. From Kevin Williamson at NRO: “Say what you like about Christine O’Donnell and her incompetent nut-cluster of a campaign, she showed the Republican establishment that the Tea Party, and the fiscally discontent at large, are willing to run a kamikaze candidate against any RINO target of opportunity.”

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    @PeterRobinson
    Pat in Obamaland: I thought it was our party that was suppose to shoot itself in the foot. · Dec 17 at 10:47am

    Edited on Dec 17 at 10:48 am

    Yes! That’s what Republicans do so often, I’ve been expecting it myself. What a high, high pleasure finally to see them aim at the other side. I’m telling you, I’m ready to build a Mitch McConnell statue in my own front yard.

    • #9
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    @GADean

    As you say this was a great accomplishment. They will be back, however, with even more clever ploys and stratagems… Especially as we approach the debt limit. Let’s hope this is just the first of many such victories.

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    @PaulARahe

    Everyone should sing ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas as rendered by John McCormack at The Weekly Standard.

    • #11

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