By: Keith Kappes
Carter County Times
It was just over a month ago that I wrote in this space about the national press corps swooping down on Kentucky’s senior U. S. senator after an incident during a press conference on Capitol Hill.
Sadly, a momentary inability to speak happened again last week and this time the in-state media joined the fray after the incident in Covington. His state director, Robbin Taylor, came to his aid, but this “freeze” was a few seconds longer than the first.
To no one’s surprise, news commentators and political operatives quickly restarted earlier speculation that the longest serving leader in Senate history was in a health crisis and likely would be giving up his seat in the upper chamber or his leadership role.
Soon thereafter, a physician said McConnell was fit for duty and that his speech difficulties were not unusual for someone recovering from a concussion. The senator was hospitalized earlier this year after a fall at a Washington hotel.
Earlier, McConnell’s office said he intends to serve out his current two-year term as Senate Republican leader. His Senate seat is up in 2026. McConnell, 81, was first elected in 1984.
Like sharks seeing blood in the water, the media circled closer and began theorizing on likely successors in the Republican Senate caucus. Pundits began spouting what amounted to McConnell’s political obituary with commentaries on his wins and losses on major issues during his seven terms in office.
Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, re-issued his earlier statement that he would not speculate on who he might appoint to succeed McConnell because that seat is not vacant.
When it does come time to compile Mitch’s political scorecard, Kentucky voters should remember him as undoubtedly the most productive senator in our state’s history in terms of federal programs and projects brought home to the Bluegrass State.
As a Democrat, I like him personally and appreciate what he has done for Kentucky but have often disagreed with his stubborn yet effective partisanship on important matters like Supreme Court appointments.
And, as a student of politics, I believe he is the most brilliant political strategist in American history.
(Contact Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org).