John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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For America or For Obama?

Posted on August 2, 2013
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Mitch McConnell is the most conservative Minority Leader in the history of Senate, bar none.

He is public enemy number one to President Barack Obama.

He is the one person who said his principle goal was to make Mr. Obama a one-term President.

McConnell has deftly led to the Senate Republicans to a place where they have a decent shot at taking back the Upper Chamber, as long as they don’t go too far off the rails.

But for outside conservative activists and for some newly minted Senators who believe that they have already figure out everything and that there is nothing more to learn, that experience means nothing and that all that is really necessary to get your way in the Senate is healthy sense of self-regard, fortitude and some choice sound-bites, Mitch McConnell is some sort of sell-out traitor.

For America, a group of paleo-conservatives from the 19th Century, has released an ad, calling the Leader a “chicken” because he thinks shutting the government down unless Obamacare is repealed is a losing political strategy.

I understand why Obamacare is a threat to our national economy, and I want to see it dismantled as much as the next guy.

But there are ways to complete that mission without shutting the government down, which inevitably will hurt vulnerable Republicans, energize Democrats, and swing swing-voters to the President’s side of the debate.

Some of these same characters who call McConnell a Chicken are supporting a Tea Party challenger in a primary fight against the leader.

I am all for democracy and if somebody wants to run against any politician, hey it’s a free country.  Feel free to go at it.

But movement conservatives who want to knock off the most conservative Minority leader in the history of the Senate, bar none, should have their head examined.

Mr. McConnell faces a tough general election fight, once he gets through the primary.

The primary contest is going to inevitably push McConnell further to the right, making it harder for him to seize votes in Kentucky’s mid-section in a general election.

Should McConnell lose the primary fight, I can see a pretty decent scenario wear the Tea Party favorite loses in the general election.

There is ample history for such a scenario.  Indiana, Nevada, Missouri, all should give pause to those who think that Kentucky will automatically stay red.

I assume McConnell will win.

My frustration with the “For America” crowd is that by distracting McConnell with a stupid right-wing challenge, by calling him a “chicken, and by funding his primary opponent, the Leader won’t be able to help his colleagues.

He won’t be able to use his considerable political skill in helping the NRSC win elections in Louisiana, Arkansas, Alaska and Montana.  Instead, he will be forced to stick to his knitting in Kentucky and as a result, Republicans could lose some opportunities to take back the Senate.

The other frustration is that by attacking McConnell from the right, they make it impossible for him to do his job as leader.  They freeze him in place, limit his ability to cut deals to keep the government open, make it more difficult for him to use his considerable ability to make the Senate work.

“For America” should be renamed “For Obama” or “For Harry Reid”.   By attacking Mitch McConnell, the most conservative minority leader in the history of the Senate, they are doing dirty work on behalf of the President and the Senate Majority Leader.  It ‘s a real shame.