Mitch McConnell Signals the GOP Will Do Nothing Against Sotomayor

One must wonder what Mitch McConnell paid or did to have the Washington Post’s Perry Bacon, Jr. write this total fluff piece on Mitch McConnell.

When he was fighting campaign finance reform a decade ago,  Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was dubbed Darth Vader by his critics. He embraced the nickname, even announcing “Darth Vader has arrived” at a news conference.

Well, when the article starts out with a gross distortion of the facts, we can only conclude that McConnell is desperate to hang on to power and distract from his failures as the Senate Republican Leader.

What gross distortion?

“Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was dubbed Darth Vader by his critics,” writes Perry Bacon, Jr. today.

“The Kentucky curmudgeon who dubbed himself the Darth Vader of campaign-finance reform is whipped, and he knows it,” wrote Jonathan Alter in Newsweek on April 9, 2001.

“Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who aptly describes himself as the “Darth Vader” of the campaign finance debate,” wrote the Kansas City Star on April 8, 2001.

“The antipathy is well known between Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the self-described Darth Vader of campaign finance reform, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who recently likened his presidential campaign to the adventures of Luke Skywalker,” wrote Mary Lynn Jones in the Hill on February 16, 2000.

Yes, Common Cause gave Mitch McConnell the designation once, but it says more about McConnell that he had to embrace and recycle the nickname for anyone to pick it up and use it “against” him.

Now Perry Bacon, Jr. in his fluff piece, recycles it to make McConnell seem more than the limp wristed leader he has been lately.

McConnell has persuaded his Senate colleagues to pick targeted, potentially winnable fights against the Democrats, such as the party’s current push to make sure health-care reform does not include a government-run insurance option.

In other words, McConnell does not want the GOP to make much of a show on Sotomayor. You don’t have to read the rest of the article to understand why this article is even showing up.

If you will remember from a few weeks ago, Manny Miranda, who heads an organization of conservatives who are organized to help defeat the Sotomayor nomination, sent Mitch McConnell a letter demanding the GOP not kowtow to Obama on the nomination.

A staffer for McConnell attended the Grover Norquist Wednesday meeting, an off the record meeting, and took that information back to McConnell’s leadership office where it makes it into the Politico. In the process, McConnell felt the need to bash Miranda — a loyal conservative activist.

McConnell helped orchestrate one of the Republicans’ most convincing victories of the year: a 90 to 6 vote rejecting Obama’s plan to start closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and to move some of the detainees to U.S. soil. McConnell delivered the same speech on the Senate floor day after day during April and May, attacking the proposal and saying Obama had no idea how to implement it.

In other words, a majority of Democrats supported the same proposal — some Republican victory.

The longtime senator, elected in 1984, has actively recruited moderate candidates, such as Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, even though McConnell himself is one of the Senate’s most conservative members. He has repeatedly warned that the party must be tolerant of those who might hold more liberal views on some issues.

Here’s the catch — McConnell votes on all the socially conservative issues if they make it to the floor. But if you ask the conservative Senators, they will tell you that McConnell’s staff works overtime making sure conservative issues never make it to the floor. Likewise, McConnel, at every opportunity, works to undermine fiscal conservatives. With the exception of tax cuts, McConnell does not just not care, he actively works to undermine the issues.

McConnell portrays himself as an ally of the president when he agrees with him, such as Obama’s strategy for the war in Afghanistan, but he doesn’t mind being cast as an obstructionist, as he was a decade ago.

And there you have it — if you like Mitch McConnell, it is because you like his support of the war. And you probably, like me, remember him fondly from the campaign finance reform battle. But he lost that one.

And while McConnell has been leader of the Senate GOP, we’ve gone from 55 seats to 40 seats.

But that’s okay, McConnell is, in his mind, Darth Vader — the man who oversaw the loss of two Death Stars and in the end betrayed his own side.

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