March 27th, 2009
02:40 PM ET
11 years ago

Senate GOP plots comeback

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Sen. Mitch McConnell also said he doesn't mind the 'party of no' label congressional Democrats and the White House try to pin on Republican."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Despite crushing defeats in the last two elections, Senate Republicans have new "energy and enthusiasm" aimed at winning back the majority, says their leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Why the turnaround?

"President Bush had become extremely unpopular, and politically he was sort of a millstone around our necks in both '06 and '08," McConnell said in a roundtable with reporters Friday. "We now have the opportunity to be on offense, offer our own ideas and we will win some."

Many of those ideas get presented as amendments to Democratic bills which, though usually defeated, can still draw attention to GOP policy alternatives and often force Democrats to take difficult votes.

"They become the way you chart the course for a comeback," McConnell said. "Which in this country, always happens at some point."

"The pendulum swings," he said.

Interestingly, McConnell said many of the clever ideas for amendments come from conservative think tanks and other Republican thinkers off Capitol Hill.

"Newt Gingrich, for example, has an idea a minute. Many of those are quite good. Many of those become amendments," he said.

McConnell also said he doesn't mind the "party of no" label congressional Democrats and the White House try to pin on Republicans.

"I don't feel anyone should be apologetic for opposing a bad idea," McConnell said. "I'm not fearful of an effort to demonize dissent," he said.

Filed under: GOP • Mitch McConnell • Senate
soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. Expat American

    One thing that the GOP could possibly do to bolster their numbers again is to distance themselves a bit from Rush, Coulter, Palin and co. and get back to the basic Republican and (true) Conservative values again.

    I admire Reagan but Obama gave me a new outlook. Parties don’t matter to me. Clams ($$) matter to me!

    March 27, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  2. Pel

    My good Senator McConnell, I love your imagination and I hope you as one of the sub leaders (Rush is the leader) of the Repug Party continue with the strategy you are now pursuing and I hope Newt get more involved in the fray with you. The more you talk and present your so call empty ideas to the public the more the public see you are just a book cover with empty pages or if there are any pages they only say reduce the taxes for the rich, the rich, the rich.

    March 27, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. Republican Gost

    Every time I see a Republican on any of the TV channel I have to change the channel, Republican has one big idea "NO NO NO and NO" the American people finally they have said no to Republican.

    March 27, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. Deb

    I suppose they have a budget now or are we still working off of a blueprint?

    March 27, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Sandy

    Yeah, they'll try a comeback with the same old ideas – offshore drilling, bigger tax cuts for the wealthy, send more of our jobs overseas, import more cheap labor, and hand out more million dollar bonuses to their big exec friends. And in the meantime, they will try to force family values and religion dow our throats while we can clearly see they are not practicing what they preach (Palin).

    The country has been down that road, and hopefully, learned its lesson.

    No thanks.

    March 27, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. capnmike

    We are the People of the United States of America...and George W. Bush, and his gang of crooked buddies, were a millstone around OUR necks.

    March 27, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. SouthernMan

    Who is Mitch McConnell and why should anyone pay attention to his fantasies? If Republicans want to win elections they need to recruit a new batch of candidates and throw away the incumbents.

    March 27, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. Rob in Detroit Mi.

    Oh! yeah i read the blue folder , it took 5 sec. ha,ha,ha,
    please somebody lock these republicans up.

    March 27, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. Alex

    Hmmm, what has McConnell been doing with that finger??

    I'm looking at you, Lindsey Graham!

    March 27, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  10. jay

    Come back where. May be in cuba!

    March 27, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. Chris from NY

    That might be true but not because the Republicans have some new good ideas but because of the cyclic nature of politics. If it happens it happens. We lived through the ninety's when the Republicans gained under Clinton and went on to rty and strangle his message. They did succeed in a short while but the guy came out from the office of the Presidency with a better legacy than their President Bush ever did.

    March 27, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. Shawn

    Jon in CA wrote: "The FACT is – democrats lead by Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are lurching the country to the far left ..."

    The FACT is, the country has moved to the left. See Obama's landslide victory and 64% approval rating. Thanks Bush & extremist Republicans! At least they accomplished *something*.

    Every day that right wingers whine and cry is another day we're on the right track towards restoring America's strength and prosperity. I see it was another good day.

    March 27, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. Larry

    Republicans live in a world of fantasy ...

    March 27, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. ron

    The republicans party says one thing then they put bush in White house. They use scare tactics to scare people into voting them in. Then try to lead with absolutely no plan. Remember this is the party that wanted mccain & palin to run the country. How they ran there campaign is how they would have run the country. palin would have been out buying clothes while the country burned.

    March 27, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. You Don't Got The Bookeeper ... You Got Nothing!

    If former President Bush was a millstone around the neck of the GOP, he has been replaced by the BIG VOID of ideas. The Republicans have ZERO substance.

    For example, that so called "budget" they rolled out yesterday had no revenues, no costs, no programs identified, no deficit or surplus projections. IT HAD NOTHING.

    That's the problem with the GOP ... They repeatedly have NOTHING.

    They must be trying to lower expectations so they can be judged a success if they can just string two coherent sentences together.

    March 27, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. Sue

    Mitch McConnell says that Bush is a millstone around the Republicans' necks. They put him there. During his first six years as president, the congressional majority rubber stamped almost anything he asked for. They have no one to blame but themselves.

    March 27, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  17. Moderate Democrat

    So now that he's out of office, they turn on Bush as well. The whole time he was in office, they voted overwhelmingly FOR his policies. But now they denounce those very policies.

    You can't have it both ways, you all voted along with the very thing you are saying was bad. That is self admitted that you all sucked. Further more, nothing has changed. You all still have no ideas, no budget (and don't give me the crap of "oh, we got us a "roadmap" with no specifics. After eight fricking years. thats what we did. Ruined the country and made a road map of how to undo what we did...PS: We suggest doing the same stuff that got us into this mess").

    Now go away for good, you screwed our country and you are filled with domestic terrorists in your party. The party of patriotic, america loving people are now in power. Get used to it!

    March 27, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  18. Steph

    No ideas. No up-and-coming stars. No original thoughts. No leaders (at least no elected ones). The G nO P has become such a joke!

    March 27, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  19. Kevin

    Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky stated that "President Bush had become extremely unpopular, and politically he was sort of a millstone around our necks in both '06 and '08." I have to wonder how much corn he got out of the mill when it was grinding in his favor when the Republicans had control. For them to try and make a comeback is laughable, and with gutless Wonder"Boy" Steele kowtowing to the talking head of Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Beck, add to the fact that they want to try and run Palin in 2012 is downright comical, if not insulting to those that remember the 2008 election. I've said it before in my previous comment, and I'll say it again:This isn't "The Empire Strike Back", okay? You jokers have caused so much damage that you will be hard pressed to get any votes in 2010, which doesn't look promising, and after 12 years of Republican rule, I am even less than forgiving.

    March 27, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. Dan, TX

    GOP go to RIP. You aren't conservative. Conservatives don't want the government to interfere in people's lives. But the GOP supports preventing women from having abortions and block providing life-saving funds for people starving to death. They can go to war in Iraq to support democracy but not demand to go to war to stop genocide.

    March 27, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. No Incumbents 2010

    Alfred E. Neumann March 27th, 2009 3:21 pm ET

    A winning strategy for the GOP might be to get out of the way and let the Democratic Party self destruct.

    Well Said!

    March 27, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. Thomas, Baton Rouge, LA

    Keep it up.
    Until you recognize that your vaunted "smaller government" is a myth, and actually consider the term "governing", you are doomed to repeat your failures.

    And pin all your hopes on Bobby Jindal. A college graduate who can't tell the difference between science and creationism.

    March 27, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. Boisepoet

    Sorry Mitch, but the PARTY of NO also means NO NEW IDEAS.
    In case you haven't noticed, you don't offer anything different than those ideas tried under the Bush presidency. They didn't work then, and were in fact disasterous, why do you think they will work now?

    March 27, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. Simmy

    Sen. McConnell, are you Mr. Steele's twin brother? The two of you talk alike. Not all Americans are as naive as your supporters. Some individuals enjoy the art of analyzing thoughts; separating fact from fallacy and fiction. Playing the slight of hand, propaganda politics that Hitler embraced, will not sway savvy people. Good luck, with your old establishment self.

    March 27, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  25. marlene

    To the Republican party: Please give us someone with new ideas who is not old, white and southern. Or just give us someone with new ideas, or something other than, cut taxes, freeze spending, & support the free market (ie the rich guys). Marlene in Mich

    March 27, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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