Tuesday, February 08, 2022


There are two Mitch McConnell stories right now that I think are related. Here's one:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell disagreed Tuesday with the Republican National Committee’s recent censure of two GOP lawmakers, as well as its characterization of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

“We all were here. We saw what happened. It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election, from one administration to the next. That’s what it was,” McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters at his weekly news conference....

McConnell also said Tuesday that the RNC shouldn’t be “in the business of picking and choosing Republicans who ought to be supported,” adding that the national committee’s role is to back all members of the party.

“The issue is whether or not the RNC should be, sort of, singling out members of our party who may have different views from the majority. That’s not the job of the RNC,” he said.
And here's the other:
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that he will not run for the U.S. Senate, rebuffing an aggressive recruitment push from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans who saw the term-limited governor as the GOP’s best chance to win in the deep-blue state.

Hogan announced his decision during an unrelated afternoon press conference in the state Capitol, explaining that he could not finish his term as governor effectively and run for the Senate at the same time....

Hogan, a fierce critic of former President Donald Trump, had indicated he was unlikely to run all along. But given his popularity, the 65-year-old Republican governor would have instantly become a legitimate contender against Democratic incumbent Sen. Chris Van Hollen — even in a state Trump lost by 32 percentage points in 2020.
I'm not sure why Hogan didn't run. Maybe he really does want to concentrate on his day job in his last year in office. Maybe, after being a chief executive for two terms, he doesn't want to be just one of a hundred senators. Maybe he's more interested in the suicide-mission presidential run he's said to be comtemplating. (Quite a few supposedly intelligent politcal journalists believe Hogan would be a credible candidate in a Republican presidential primary, which is insane.)

But it might be that Hogan simply didn't want to run as part of a GOP field that will be expected to speak worshipfully of Trump and skeptically about American election integrity. Being the kind of Republican who doesn't talk like that hasn't hurt him in Maryland -- he has a job approval rating of 69% among the state's Republicans, though he's actually more popular among Democrats, 78% of whom approve of the job he's doing (which is why he might be able to win a Senate race in a very blue state).

McConnell doesn't care about Hogan's deviations from conservative dogma -- Mitch just wants bodies in the seats so he can be majority leader again (and eventually rubber-stamp a lot of tax cuts and judicial appointments for a Republican president). McConnell wants a majority, however he can get it. Maybe he thinks Trump is costing him.

This is McConnell's second failure to recruit a popular Northeastern governor.
The governor’s decision, while not totally unexpected, marks a second significant recruiting setback in the Republican Party’s broader fight to seize the Senate majority. In November, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, another popular, moderate Republican, stunned McConnell’s team by announcing he would seek reelection as governor instead of launching a widely expected Senate bid.
Sununu was outpolling Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan, while the remaining Republicans in the field aren't. As PBS noted, Sununu "says he doesn’t want to contribute to the paralysis over policy. He believes most Senate Republicans intend to do nothing but block the Democrats’ agenda." That makes it seem as if he didn't want to be the kind of senator McConnell wanted him to be -- McConnell will absoultely want his senators to make Biden look ineffectual in the yers leading up to 2024.

But McConnell badly wanted Hogan to run. He badly wants to win tough Senate races in New Hampshire, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Arizona. He might believe that Trump is the main obstacle to victory because he's the main motivator of Democratic voters who might otherwise be demoralized this year. And now McConnell won't have a chance to steal a seat in Maryland. Poor baby.

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