John Boehner’s surprise Friday resignation announcement was applauded by right-wing conservatives who had long sought to push Speaker Boehner out of his leadership position in Congress. Purging Boehner from the top leadership position in the U.S. House strengthened the tea party’s grip on the Republican Party.
However, tea party Republicans may not be finished yet. In the three days since Boehner’s announcement, calls for removing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from the Senate leadership have become louder and more strident as well.
For example, a Monday morning article from the influential conservative magazine National Review, titled “Show Mitch McConnell the Door”, insisted that McConnell should force a government shutdown over funding for Planned Parenthood and then pin the blame on President Obama. The author of the piece, Christian Whiton, goes on to argue that because McConnell is not effective at fighting Obama, he should vacate his leadership position in the Senate, and let a more confrontational Republican take over.
The National Review piece comes just two days after RNC Vice Chairman and Louisiana GOP Chair Roger Villere posted on Facebook “McConnell need to resign!” Villere is the longest serving state Republican chairperson in the country.
The forces that swept Boehner out of power, will have a tougher time removing McConnell. Senate Republicans aren’t quite as fickle as their colleagues in the House, and leadership struggles in the Senate are typically less frequent and less intense. Nevertheless, the right-wing’s growing impatience could pose a threat to the Senate Majority Leader.
An NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted from September 20th to 24th, 2015, found that 72 percent of GOP primary voters were dissatisfied with McConnell and Boehner as their party’s leaders. Speaker Boehner was no doubt aware of his unpopularity when he decided to call it quits.
While Senate Majority Leader McConnell will stubbornly try to hold on, the intensity of Republican opposition towards the Kentucky Senator may eventually prove too much for him to stomach. McConnell probably isn’t headed out the leadership door yet, but he might already have one eye on the exit.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.