Just over six months after winning back control of the U.S. Senate in the 2014 midterm elections, Mitch McConnell’s GOP majority is proving to be more dysfunctional than ever. During the 2014 election season, Kentucky GOP Senator Mitch McConnell promised that if his party were given control of the U.S. Senate, he would instill more discipline, and allow bills to undergo a “strong and robust” bipartisan amendment process. However, the Senate fell into disarray over the Memorial Day weekend, with Senators rushing off to catch flights while much critical Senate business remained unfinished.
McConnell has been perplexed by his inability to control members of his own party. The Senate Majority Leader has not even been able to reign in fellow Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. The junior Senator from Kentucky refused to grant an extension to the government’s phone data collection program for even a single day. Unable to outmaneuver the junior Senator from his own state, McConnell had to settle for requesting that the Senate vote next Sunday, in order to prevent the phone data collection provisions from expiring.
Jennifer Steinhauer and Jonathan Weisman at The New York Times noted the irony of McConnell’s conundrum. They observed:
As senators raced for the airport on Saturday after a six-week session that ended in disarray, they left behind a wreck of promises made by Mr. McConnell on how a renewed Senate would operate. Mr. McConnell has found himself vexed by Democratic delaying tactics he honed in the minority, five presidential aspirants with their own agendas and a new crop of conservative firebrands demanding their say.
It was easy on the campaign trail for McConnell to argue that a Republican majority could govern better than Harry Reid and the Democrats. However, McConnell has been unable to demonstrate that the Republicans can govern in practice. Talk is cheap, but when it comes to action, McConnell has been confounded by the personal agendas of grandstanding members of his own party. He has also been thwarted by Democrats turning the tactics he used while he was Minority Leader against him, now that he is in the majority.
Voters are learning that Mitch McConnell is unable to successfully lead the U.S. Senate as Majority Leader. In 2016, they will have the opportunity to remove him from the Majority Leader position, by voting Democrats back into the Senate majority. Given McConnell’s poor performance as Senate Majority Leader, voters should capitalize on the chance to oust him from that position, and to put the Democrats back in charge.