Friday, November 8, 2013

Peggy Noonan Interviews Mitch McConnell

Peggy Noonan interviewed Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in today's Wall Street Journal.  I don't recall seeing a Noonan column quite like it; this is not so much a column as a true interview, even a transcript of an interview.

To those who look forward to Noonan's prose -- the lady can turn a phrase -- today's piece probably disappoints.  This is all McConnell, with almost none of Noonan's clever commentary.  That is itself striking, not just for Noonan's self-restraint, but for the respect it shows for McConnell.  Even McConnell's enemies acknowledge his brilliance as a political tactician.  Noonan's made some mistakes over the years; she was swept away in the Obama fairy tale.  Nonetheless, she still has the ability to capture the mood of an electorate and translate that into rhetoric. By sitting and taking notes, transcribing McConnell's insights, seems to me to be an acknowledgement that she had an opportunity to learn from a very skilled politician.  So she listened.

McConnell discusses the shut-down, reaffirming that it will not happen again. He makes the point that the Defund Obamacare effort in the Senate was a waste of time, destined to fail because as a matter of math, Republicans lacked the votes.

He promises that he will be the Republican nominee, never uttering the name of his primary opponent.

Perhaps his harshest words are for the Senate Conservative Fund:

The fund "has elected more Democrats than the Democratic Senatorial Committee over the last three cycles." The group is targeting Mr. McConnell with ads slamming his leadership during the shutdown. "Right now they're on the air in obvious coordination withHarry Reid's super PAC—Harry Reid's!—in the same markets, at roughly the same amount, at the same time."
McConnell is careful to distinguish between  the Tea Party leaders and its followers.  The latter, McConnell says, are angry, and rightfully so.  What McConnell does not say is that people don't think clearly when angry; they make mistakes.  The issue, McConnell reiterates, is not opposition to Obamacare.  On that point, conservatives are united.  The issue is winning enough elections to repeal it.  
Quoting Buckley, McConnell says that Republicans should run the most conservative candidates who can win.   In Kentucky,that is clearly McConnell

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