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Rodger Payne highlights a contradiction between Mitch McConnell’s roles as GOP leader and US Senator from Kentucky:

Dick Cheney’s memoir apparently verifies an interesting political point from George W. Bush’s memoir. Last November, I noted that the former President claimed that Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had approached him in 2006 prior to the congressional elections in order to urge withdrawal of some US troops from Iraq. This might save the Republican majority, argued the Majority Leader, even though McConnell was publicly taking the position that the US should remain in Iraq for vital security reasons. After the election, of course, Bush famously increased the US deployment in Iraq (“the surge”).

A local columnist in Louisville has identified a key passage in Cheney’s memoir that apparently confirms Bush’s account, based on the former Veep’s recollection of a July 2007 dinner he hosted (p. 462):

Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walked over to me. Mitch had been one of the most concerned of the Republicans. He was up for reelection and had suggested to the president that he needed to begin a withdrawal in order to avoid massive defection of Republican senators.

I dunno; this is something I have trouble getting irritated about.  Mitch appears to have taken a different position in his capacity as high ranking member of the Republican Party than he did as Senator from Kentucky. This obviously stemmed from an a desire to defend his own status, but probably also from the conviction that continued GOP control of Congress was the best thing for his constituents (however he may have defined them).  It’s interesting, because while of course we have to highlight this sort of thing when it comes to light, the phenomenon of politicians lying to protect the health of their parties surprises exactly no one.  If Mitch had felt differently about the effect of Iraq on the 2006 election he would have been a moron instead of a liar, which is hardly more reassuring.  I suppose the ideal is that Mitch would have forthrightly and publicly broken with the President over Iraq (HAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!), but it’s not even clear that Mitch supported a drawdown on the merits of the policy, rather than on an evaluation of partisan advantage.

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