Senator Mitch McConnell has based his entire tenure as Senate Minority Leader on the proposition of blocking legislation, of making President Obama a “One Term President.” With the re-election of Obama, it is clear that Mitch McConnell has failed, utterly and absolutely. His six years as Senate Minority Leader has been one of the most abysmal of any minority party. Through his failure to engage with the majority, he has effectively turned the Republicans into what the public view as “the party of no,” a do-nothing Congress. His positions have painted the Republican party as anti-women, anti-LGBT, anti-minority, the party of rich, white men only. If he stays in his position as Senate Minority Leader, 2014 will be a Republican bloodbath.
In order to prevent this, MoveOn has put up this petition calling for him to resign his leadership position and have Maine’s senior senator, Susan Collins, take up the mantle. This is the message they advance with the petition:
We, the undersigned, believe that one of the major reasons the Republican Party lost the 2012 election was their general lack of respect for women. While it will take many years for Republicans to overcome the sour taste they have left in the American electorate’s mouth, we believe there is something they can do immediately to begin to heal the problems they have with women. The first step in this process would be to not place Mitch McConnell back into the Senate Minority Leader Position. Instead, they should select Susan Collins of Maine for this position. Susan Collins has been a Senate Republican since being elected in 1996. She has cast over 5,000 votes in the Senate. More importantly, she has supported issues important to women. She has supported the re-authorization of the CHIP program. She has called for limits on pollution which is important because it is causing many children to develop asthma. And she voted for important middle class tax cuts in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus).
While good qualifications, there are far more pressing reasons why Susan Collins would make a better minority leader in the Senate.
- Currently holds the record for most continuous votes taken
- Positions on LGBT rights are in the mainstream
- Strong pro-business without being anti-worker
- Good at balancing the needs of the environment with business demands
- Pro-American focus on trade, including enacting punishments against countries which engage in currency manipulation
- Against the Citizens United decision
From a historical standpoint, she is a mainstream Republican. More importantly, she is a symbol. Mitch McConnell is a symbol of the “ole boys club” era of politics, which has resulted in the Republican party being out-of-touch with mainstream America. With Susan Collins in the position, the main arguments against the Republican Party, how it has become the party of the rich white male, can be addressed in the public eye. In addition, she is a shrewd negotiator, able to get provisions and amendments inserted into bills presented by the other party. That is a talent sorely lacking in the Republican side of the Senate today.
If the GOP does not do something big and quick, come 2014 there may not be enough of a party left to be considered a national party. A Republican party as a regional party may be the only thing left for them otherwise.