New York Times congressional reporter Carl Hulse damned with faint praise Republican majority leader and Democrat “antagonist” Sen. Mitch McConnell in his “On Washington” column Tuesday, “McConnell Bets That Impasse on Court Now Helps G.O.P. Later.” Hulse characterized McConnell as “so crafty” while loosely wondering “what’s in his head?” as “far right politicians” praise McConnell for his stance on blocking any Supreme Court nominee from President Obama. That led Hulse to his favorite theme: Republicans losing elections, as McConnell’s conservative stance may mean “Senate Republicans could pay a big price in November and beyond.”
Senator Mitch McConnell has long antagonized Democrats with his tactics. Now he just has them perplexed, wondering why he would unilaterally block a Supreme Court nominee and potentially put vulnerable Republicans at risk with control of the Senate at stake in November.
Mr. McConnell, so crafty that he devised a way for Republicans to raise the federal debt limit by voting against it, has his reasons. So, what’s in his head?
First, Mr. McConnell, who strove for years to become majority leader, would consider it malpractice to wave through an Obama administration nominee who would reconfigure the ideological balance of the court. The conservative court is the Republican bulwark against the march of social and demographic change, and he is not about to let President Obama, who has less than a year remaining in office, appoint a third justice if he can prevent it.