Senate Minority Leader (and ex-Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell recently reconfirmed his Ride-Or-Die status regarding former President Trump. It wasn’t the most surprising move, even after Mitch actually stood on the Senate floor and condemned Trump’s failed MAGA coup, but if anyone was curious, Mitch is still very much most interested in protecting his own legacy. That’s why a new report from The Intercept is particularly interesting: it details how Mitch is pushing hard for certain legislation to move through the Kentucky Senate, and if successful, Mitch would be able to essentially dictate his immediate successor in the event of his death.
That tells us a few things, including a confirmation of how nervous Republicans are about losing their majority status in the Senate. Every body counts in that place, and losing another GOP seat would shift the balance of power even more to the left than its current nonexistent margin (currently, Democrats hold 48 seats, and Republicans hold 50 seats with 2 Independents who caucus with the Dems, so and VP Kamala Harris serves as tie-breaker). Also, it tells us that Mitch (age 79) is at least slightly concerned about his health, although he insisted that he was “just fine” in late 2020 when photos of his bruised and discolored hands made the rounds.
In any event, the Intercept article emphasizes that Mitch is aiming to preserve his legacy, and that’s part of why he’s already complied his own desired list of successors. The legislation that Mitch is pushing places the power to name his replacement in the state GOP’s hands and takes it away from Kentucky Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. Here’s more about the state bill, which was brought by Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers and co-sponsored by Republican state Sen. Tom Buford, about the scheming process going down in Kentucky:
“Leader McConnell has discussed the legislation with [Senate] President Stivers and is fully supportive of the measure,” a spokesperson for McConnell confirmed.
Multiple sources say it is McConnell who is pushing this bill, but the claimed reasons for why he is pushing the legislation vary from health concerns to the makeup of the upper chamber….
Other Republicans in the Kentucky Legislature, who asked not to be identified over fear of reprisal from their party, see this move as less about McConnell’s health and more about hand-selecting his replacement and giving that successor the benefit of incumbency. One frustrated Republican elected official, who declined to be named for the same reason, referred to the bill as McConnell’s “escape hatch.”
In another twist, Republican state Sen. Tom Buford has insisted (to the Intercept) that although the timing looks strange (he believes that McConnell is in good health, along with Sen. Rand Paul), there’s “no specific reason why now.” Yet Buford does state that part of the legislation’s impetus involved the 2017 attack on Paul by his neighbor, who left the senator with several broken ribs and a chunk of missing lung. In any event, it’s very safe to say that McConnell will do anything possible to make sure there’s no Democratic butt in his seat anytime soon, if ever.
(Via The Intercept)