🇺🇸 McConnell’s Murky Future

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The Flag

Good morning, and happy Friday. The ‘world’s loneliest lion’ has returned to his natural habitat after he was abandoned in a private zoo in Armenia for five years. Now, 15-year-old lion Ruben has been taken into the home of his ancestors in South Africa.

Plus, the identity of a mystery thief responsible for eating $3,800 worth of plants from an Australian nursery was revealed when the culprit, a koala, gorged himself too much to flee.

Also, tired of sky-high plane ticket prices? Take your fall vacation to the open road.


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CONGRESS

McConnell’s Murky Future

On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) addressed concerns regarding his health and fitness after inexplicably freezing for a second time last week during a press conference.

Reporting from the Left: Mitch McConnell Says He's Not Going Anywhere (Huff Post)

Reporting from the Right: McConnell dodges questions on his health in first press conference back in Washington (Washington Times)

From The Flag: The long-serving senator told reporters he plans to “finish my term as leader and I’m going to finish my Senate term.” McConnell pointed to a letter released by the Capitol’s attending physician, Dr. Brian Monahan, determining McConnell did not suffer from a seizure or stroke. However, many from his own party are contemplating whether he should step down. Here’s what both sides are saying.


LEFT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Republican Leaders Unsure About McConnell’s Competence

  • The second public incident where the Senate minority leader has appeared to freeze up is something he needs to address more fully.

  • The gravest threat to McConnell is coming from within his party, as some appear ready to unseat one of their most effective party leaders.

  • Republicans are finding it increasingly difficult to criticize Biden and other aging or ailing Democratic leaders given McConnell’s incidences.

Mitch McConnell is not OK Hayes Brown, MSNBC: “When it happened last month, neither McConnell nor anyone around him offered any explanation beyond a report from aides that he’d felt ‘lightheaded.’ They gave no indication that the 81-year-old Senate Republican leader had seen a doctor after the Senate GOP leadership’s weekly news conference, where he’d had to be led away from the cameras. We’re told that he went right back to work that evening. His not taking time off was meant to be a sign of strength, a signal that the octogenarian would, as he later said through a spokesperson, continue to serve as the Senate Republican leader throughout the current term of Congress. Instead, his refusal to address the issue has brought attention to how difficult it is for Americans to talk openly about aging and the effects it can have. … As it stands, though, we don’t have enough information to assess what McConnell has been going through, including whether or how it could affect his ability to govern. The lack of information from McConnell and his staff has contributed to intense speculation. “

2 reasons Republicans are done with McConnell Paul Waldman, The Washington Post: “At a moment when the primary GOP argument against President Biden is that he’s too old to serve a second term, some believe they can win points by saying they pushed out their own aging lion. More importantly, McConnell’s most dramatic feats of partisanship are in the past, and a party still in former president Donald Trump’s thrall is ready to be rid of him. National Review has called on McConnell to step down. Fox News’s Laura Ingraham said it’s ‘stunning and frankly irresponsible’ that McConnell’s GOP colleagues haven’t pressed him to retire. Former South Carolina governor, and current GOP presidential candidate, Nikki Haley said of McConnell and other aging members of Congress, ‘At what point do they get it’s time to leave?’ So far, elected Republicans are standing behind him — but that might not last.”

One more opinion piece from the Left: McConnell’s freezes complicate Republican attacks on Biden’s age Scott Wong, Liz Brown-Kaiser, and Sahil Kapur, NBC News


RIGHT-LEANING SENTIMENT

McConnell Should Step Down

  • McConnell should step down from his leadership role in the Senate, exercising the same pragmatism he’s shown across his storied career.

  • Valid arguments can be made to allow McConnell to keep his seat in the Senate, but they do not require him to remain as minority leader.

  • According to Republican Senator Josh Hawley, McConnell should “absolutely” not remain the GOP minority leader.

Mitch McConnell Needs to Step Aside The Editors, National Review: “Mitch McConnell is truly a legend of the U.S. Senate. He’s been one of the most effective leaders in memory, he deeply understands and cares about the institution, and he’s had an outsized influence on his party for decades now. … But the time has come for the Kentucky senator, after his long, impressive run, to make the decision to step aside from leadership. … McConnell has now frozen up during two recent press availabilities. … To the layman, the incidents looked more concerning than that. Regardless, this obviously is not normal and affects his ability to function as the leading representative of his caucus. … The details can be left to McConnell, who deserves a large measure of deference. A leadership transition doesn’t need to happen urgently, but the wheels should be turning. … Prudence and realism have been hallmarks of his leadership and now are called for in considering his own future.”

Keep the seat, leave the leadership, Senator McConnell Ben Domench, Hot Air: “Many Republicans point out that McConnell needs to stay in his seat to prevent Kentucky’s Democratic governor Andy Beshear, currently being challenged by McConnell ally Daniel Cameron, from naming a replacement. But that is a reason for McConnell to stay in the Senate, not one that requires him to stay on as its minority leader. The truth is that McConnell is not so dramatically reduced in his capacity that he needs to step down as a senator. He shows far greater capacity than current Senate Democrats Dianne Feinstein or John Fetterman, nor does he have the health struggles of the likes of Thad Cochran or Johnny Isakson in their final years. But continuing on as minority leader headed into a critical election year is a different question entirely.”

One more opinion piece from the Right: Josh Hawley: Mitch McConnell Should ‘Absolutely’ Not Remain Senate GOP Leader Wendell Husebø, Breitbart


FLAG THIS

Majority of Americans Believe McConnell Is “Severely Limited”

In a poll conducted by the Economist/YouGov immediately following McConnell’s second freeze, it was found that a growing majority of Americans think Senator McConnel’s health and age “severely limit” his ability to do his job

Nearly 6 in 10 respondents expressed this view, including 58 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of Republicans. A total of 15 percent said McConnell’s health and age had “little effect” on his job, while 4 percent said it had “no effect” (The Hill).


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