The Mitch McConnell Factor

Although the jury is still out on the all-important Russ Feingold Senate race in Wisconsin, Chatterbox is gleeful over the beating that the soft-money-loving Mitch McConnell is taking in his role as the chairman of the anything-for-a-buck Republican Senate campaign committee. McConnell conducted this campaign as if it were a personal vendetta against anyone who ever dreamed of supporting the McCain-Feingold campaign reform bill. So far, by Chatterbox’s quick reckoning, the supporters of banning soft money have picked up two votes (New York and North Carolina), while McConnell’s stewardship of the campaign committee is leading the Republicans towards a major setback in Mitch’s own Kentucky. Not only is Republican Jim Bunning running no better than neck-and-neck in his efforts to pick up the Senate seat vacated by retiring Democrat Wendell Ford, but the Democrats have already won a hotly contested open House seat in northern Kentucky. At this rate, Mitch’s name will be mud in GOP circles by dawn, which, trust Chatterbox, couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Walter Shapiro