Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hilarious. He recently employed, to great effect, the method my mother used to drill into my head regarding how to deal with bullies — “apathy hurts worse than anger” — over Steve Bannon’s failed attempt to have Roy Moore elected in Alabama.
Now, in a new interview with The Washington Examiner, McConnell explains his decision to use his super PAC “to block insurgent Republicans and help his party withstand the headwinds from President Trump’s low approval ratings.”
McConnell on Bannon & co:
“Those political geniuses managed to elect a Democrat in the reddest state in America. I rest my case.” https://t.co/MGQ0pNSPVt
— Al Weaver (@alweaver22) December 22, 2017
Being trapped by flawed candidates is McConnell’s biggest concern. Lousy nominees cost the GOP winnable races in 2010 and 2012, not to mention a special election this month in Alabama that saw retired Judge Roy Moore become the first Republican to lose a Senate race in that ruby-red state in 25 years.
McConnell made clear that he and his super PAC, Senate Leadership Fund, would intervene in 2018 to protect incumbents and pick sides in open primaries to quash nationalist firebrand Steve Bannon’s promised insurrection against so-called establishment candidates, and box out candidates like Moore.
“I and my allies will make every effort to make sure we have a nominee on the November ballot who can appeal to a general election audience,” McConnell said.
McConnell — continuously pointed at by Bannon and his fans as an “establishment” conservative who is part of the swamp — was blamed by some who disliked the controversial Alabama republican for Moore’s entry into the race at all. They say McConnell’s backing of incumbent Luther Strange and a heavy-hand in the primary gave rise to the flawed Moore as a candidate.
McConnell, who said he had no choice but [to] back Strange because he was the incumbent, flatly rejected that criticism and its underlying premise.
“I’m not going to be an issue in a single race in America,” he said. “I can assure you the support of the Senate Leadership Fund is not a negative. You can ask a lot of incumbents around here whether they believe it was important to their success, and it was. And, it will be there again in 2018.”
Oh, and as for the super PAC McConnell says will be there to protect incumbents against Bannon-esque nationalists, here’s what it tweeted out the day after Moore lost:
The Bannon Effect. pic.twitter.com/jVc55MP5vL
— Senate Leadership Fund (@Senate_Fund) December 14, 2017