Connect with us


Mitch McConnell stepping down

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced yesterday that, after the Election of 2024, he would step down as Republican Leader.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email



Sen. Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader and senior Senator from Kentucky (emphasis on senior), announced yesterday that he is stepping down from Senate leadership. Moreover he will likely not seek reelection to the Senate in 2026. Legacy media organs are making much of his being the longest-serving Party Floor Leader in the history of the Senate. But his (so far) voluntary laying-down of leadership affords a time to reflect on the mixed results of his tenure. It also affords the last chance for Republicans to retake the Senate – hopefully this time with an uncompromising Leader.

Mitch McConnell makes electrifying announcement

Christina Laila at The Gateway Pundit broke the news of the impending announcement at 11:40 a.m. EST yesterday. Commentator Benny Johnson also broke the news on X:

Then at 3:32 p.m. EST, the Associated Press carried the formal announcement. Mitch McConnell entered the well of the Senate to make the announcement everyone expected him to make.

One of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter. So I stand before you today … to say that this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. However, I’ll complete my job. My colleagues have given me until we select a new leader in November and they take the helm next January.

Madeline Hubbard at Just the News carried a further quote:

Father Time remains undefeated. I am no longer the young man sitting in the back, hoping colleagues would remember my name. It is time for the next generation of leadership.

Henry Rodgers at The Daily Caller quoted him further as saying he would serve out his current Senate term, “albeit from a different seat in this chamber.” Unlike the Roman Senate, United States Senators who are not currently in leadership do not have permanent “front bench” privileges. McConnell, who entered the Senate in 1985, has served as Floor Leader since 2007. Mary Margaret Olohan at The Daily Signal had more of his speech.


Why is he stepping down?

His aides insisted that Mitch McConnell is not stepping down by reason of his health. That might or might not be true, in whole or in part. The Senator took a fall in March of last year and suffered a concussion. Speculation was rife then that he might retire. Later last year he suffered two apparent strokes, in July and again in August.

A Capitol Hill physician then diagnosed “small seizures due to dehydration.” McConnell’s junior partner, Sen. Rand Paul, who is a physician himself, repudiated that diagnosis. He told reporters, “It looks like a focal neurological event,” meaning a stroke. After that he faced pressure to step down, or even leave the Senate, then and there.

But the politics of his conference had already begun to tell against him, and he acknowledged that.

And with good reason. The only commentator with a kind word for him was Erick-Woods Erickson, who once backed the challenge by Gov. Matt Bevin (R-Ky.) to McConnell’s Senate seat. (Apparently Erickson lost his jobs at Fox News and RedState over that episode.) Erickson credits McConnell with keeping Merrick Garland off the Supreme Court after the death (murder?) of Antonin Scalia. He further asserts that no other Floor Leader could have kept the Senate Republican Conference together to advance nominees Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. With, he says, the following results:

The end of Roe v. Wade, a 6-3 United States Supreme Court, a Republican appointed majority in six of the Courts of Appeal, near parity in several more, the end of most gun control legislation, blocking the Paris Accord and climate change legislation, the Trump tax cuts, the death of the individual mandate, and an aggressive culling of regulations imposed by the Obama Administration at the end of his term.

The cons

Erickson went on to offer this commentary, that weakens his argument:


I’d rather have a center-right United States Senate that has to deal with a Susan Collins [RINO-Maine] or a Lisa Murkowski [RINO-Alaska] in the majority than have a progressive Senate run by Chuck Schumer. And McConnell worked very hard to deliver that and, frankly, probably would have preserved it further had Donald Trump not convinced 427,205 Republicans in Georgia not to go vote in runoffs in January of 2021. As much as I would prefer Washington do nothing, Washington is always going to do something. I often disagreed with much of what McConnell was willing to allow Washington to do, but often he was willing to allow advances through backroom deals that accomplished, in other ways, things conservatives wanted.

Lay aside for a moment that Erick-Woods Erickson will not get it through his thick head that Democrats stole the Election of 2020. (As Tucker Carlson explains, according to Mike LaChance at TGP.)

The problem is that we now have a progressive Senate with Chuck Schumer at the helm. For that blame Mitch McConnell, who didn’t want to risk a MAGA Conference deposing him as Leader. The worse problem is that those “backroom deals” now include support for a corrupt region, that can call itself a country only because Nikita Khrushchev wanted another vote in the United Nations General Assembly, that hosted biological weapons development laboratories, with American funding, and American direction, and American staffs. A region that, furthermore, hosts twelve bases for the Central Intelligence Agency, who really are a Dark Force. (That accusation was always the Soviet Union’s broken-clock position.)

Furthermore, Mitch McConnell refuses to secure the southern border.

So now Texas is building military forces and infrastructure to do it themselves – or maybe prepare for a secession war. Erick-Woods Erickson said Mitch McConnell doesn’t care. He obviously doesn’t care about the border. (And if Texas does move toward secession, Mitch McConnell can blame himself as well as Resident Biden.)

After Mitch McConnell, who’s next?

Dick Morris, in yesterday’s “Lunch Alert,” thumped McConnell for keeping Republicans in a permanent minority in the Senate. Likewise he hailed the step-down as an opportunity for Republicans – MAGA Republicans – to make the Senate their own. This, says Morris, can happen immediately. By announcing his step-down, Mitch McConnell effectively ends whatever influence he has over the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), its current chairman, is a definite MAGA Republican – and was MAGA before MAGA “became a thing.” In 2016 he backed McConnell’s decision not to bring up Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination for a vote. In the Obama years (during two of which he was Montana’s At-large Representative), he rejected climate-change panic. Likewise, he wants to abolish the Department of Education and make education a State and local affair only.


All these things make him a good candidate for Floor Leader. But even now, Morris hopes Daines will continue to support MAGA Senate candidates – in an election that will see Democrats defending more than their usual share of Senate seats. (Among them: that of Sen. Jon Tester, his senior and Democratic partner in Montana.)

But Daines faces three competitors, all of whom have the advantage of seniority.Politico calls them the Three Johns:John Thune (R-S.D.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) Cornyn and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton traded barbs yesterday.

Ken Paxton does not face prison. He recently survived an impeachment attempt – and has scores to settle as a result.

What happens if Mitch can’t serve out his term?

Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell did pledge to serve out his term. The words he chose during his speech suggest that he will not seek reelection in 2026.

Without question, his political differences with Trump and most of his Conference decided him in retiring as Leader. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who challenged him for the leadership position a year and a half ago, made that point:


But suppose he suffers a stroke, or a heart attack, or other attack, that kills him? Who then replaces him in the Senate?

Kentucky Law provides that in case of the expulsion of a U.S. Senator from Kentucky from office, or of his death or resignation, that Senator’s Party Executive Committee would then specify three candidates, from among whom the governor must choose an Interim Senator. McConnell himself suggested that change in the law in 2021. Kentucky’s legislature passed it over the vehement veto of Gov. Andy Beshear (D-Ky.). The governor has since vowed that he would appoint whomever he d____d well pleased as Interim Senator, given the opportunity, and dared Republicans to sue him in federal court if they so chose.

Perhaps that’s why McConnell does not resign from the Senate altogether. Activist (and former Delaware Senate candidate) Lauren Witzke definitely doesn’t want him to “hang on” as Leader through the election.

She might have a point, if Dick Morris is wrong and McConnell retains his influence over the NRSC. But his step-down as Leader is still a step in the right direction.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
+ posts

Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

Click to comment
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Would love your thoughts, please comment.x