When Mitch McConnell becomes the next majority leader of the United States Senate he will have achieved a life long dream. Not only will he deserve the job, but he should enjoy the credit for having created the majority that will elect him.
Mitch McConnell is a master of the political process. It was he who made the 2014 mid-term elections a referendum on Barack Obama which ended up being the force beneath the ground swell of discontented voters who swept republicans into office in greater numbers than anytime since the reign of FDR converted so many to the democratic party where they have remained ever since.
Not only did Mitch substantially outperform the polls which nearly all predicted that a win in Kentucky, by either candidate, would be within the margin of error. Not only did he exhibit great poise and leadership in his acceptance speech in contrast to what even liberal pundits are saying about how ungracious his opponent was in defeat. But Mitch McConnell helped orchestrate the national conversation we all have been having for the last few years which conversation became the sentiment which was then mobilized into the movement that has now demanded that someone turn the direction we are heading around. And as reward for all of those things Mitch McConnell won not only his race, but an incredible, historic obligation.
It is he who told America that there is a better way forward than the path our current president and his troops in the Senate and the House have been marching us down. It is he, McConnell, who has promised to repeal Obamacare "root and branch". It is he who has promised to get the Congress working again, to bring matters to a vote, to pass a budget and to improve the prosperity of our country. These are huge tasks, and they are now his burden.
I once had the chance to meet Karl Rove when I was a candidate for office and asked his advice. He actually grabbed me by my necktie, pulled me close and gave me his wise insight. He looked me right in the eye and said, "remember, if you win this, you asked for it." McConnell has really asked for it.
Not only will he have the burden of a victor on his shoulders as well as the burden of defining his own legacy on his mind, but the architect of the republican party in Kentucky will have the fate of the republican party of America in his hands.
It was McConnell who motivated and moved the electorate by his carefully planned campaign talking points which were repeated with great discipline by the candidates that he, the NRSC, and other influential republicans all working together helped to put into place by winning primaries for those candidates who they deemed could eventually and did win November.
To accomplish this these so-called mainstream republicans had to go out and defeat the kind of fringe candidates that had been buoyed through primaries by the seething discontent of many republicans who had left the fold, formed splinter groups and ran as much against the GOP as they said they would against the democrats. That hadn't worked out so well and so the adults in the room had to bring order back to the process. They did, and they won.
But that doesn't mean McConnell will get the unanimous support of every one of his republican members. Grandstanders like Ted Cruz and presidential hopefuls like Rand Paul will certainly take shots at their own party and its leaders in order to get the kind of attention they crave and to appeal to those fragile parts of their own coalitions they perceive to be necessary to their own political survival.
And Mitch will have to weather the criticism of many others elected under the GOP banner who came to Congress just to be troublemakers and who will not be able to control their rhetoric because it has become indistiguishable from their identity.
But perhaps the greater battle Mitch has won is the obligation to direct the battle to save the republican party. While Rand Paul goes about trying to build a new kind of GOP in much the same patchwork quilt manner that the democrats have done for years, Mitch can look out over the groundswell of support given to his candidates and see that a much more congruent mindset joins the republicans and democrats and independents alike who joined their votes to give the GOP the victory they achieved.
While many would be right to say that the outcome was a repudiation of Barack Obama and his agenda, it was also at the same time, and by virtue of that repudiation, a collective agreement that if the republicans say they really can turn the country around, now is their chance to put up, or shut up.
As crass as it is when LBJ pushed so hard to create his "great society" he admitted that he had a political motivation behind him when he stated "
And those who know this is what is at stake and who want him to fail in that quest will bring incredible forces and resources to the battlefield in order to prevent him from succeeding.