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. HEIDI

    Give me a break. The Republicans aren't the party of Lincoln and haven't been since he died. They care nothing for this country or the Americans who live in it.

    March 27, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. Charles

    As the worst president in history, George W. Bush was a millstone around the nation's neck. Unfortunately for the Republicans, their leaders in congress are cut from the same log. They are looking in all the wrong places to rebuild their party. They will lose more seats in 2010.

    March 27, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. No Incumbents 2010

    President Obama, House Leader Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Republican Strategy for Victory in 2010 and 2012.

    March 27, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. SD,Michigan

    First explain how Geithner's attempt at more regulatory power that you call "a power grab" (leading to dictatorship according to Gingrich) is any worse or different than: ..."stops throwing good money after bad into failing institutions and places insolvent ones into temporary receivership" -(excerpt from the Republican's blueprint/budget) , which is, in fact, Nationalization. You can shun the N word all you want, that's what it means, and is.
    So, which way, Republicans? Make up your mind.

    March 27, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. Unemployed

    WOW. The highest-ranking publicly-elected GOP leader admits that Bush sucks. At least McConnell can be honest about one thing.

    March 27, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. D Ban

    What is the priority for republicans working towards rebuilding this country or winning elections......when I start hearing real ideas and plans from this group then I will listen until then all they offer is white noise of objection

    March 27, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. Vic

    The Republicans must understand that merely opposing an idea of the other party is not the problem. Until they understand and completely accept that people of this country are sick and tired of demeaning and personal, cutting criticism aimed at those who oppose their politics, they will continue to slide down, down, down. To translate, it should be clear by now that the time when utterances by Limbaugh, Coulter, Ingraham were considered cute is gone, gone, gone. Note that Newt is careful to put his emphatic political thoughts out there without a hint of sarcasm.

    March 27, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. kevin


    A come back with the same old poeple and outdated ideas.

    The GOP base is corporate cabal of theives using Christianity as thier cove and voter bait.

    The GOP will lose even worse in 2012 becuase the GOP base refuses to let go of thier controll over the party, even though the majority of the republican voters like moderate candiddates.

    March 27, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    They contributed greatly to what Bush was able to do, and now they think we will readily forget their complicity and partnership. Just as Scooter became the fall guy for Chaney, they want G. W. to be the fall guy for the whole republican party debacle. NOT IN THEIR DREAMS. They were exposed and we saw how undeserving they are of our trust. It will take some time and some new leaders for us to give the republicans another chance at governance.

    March 27, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. mtv

    SAADDD if all the effort in making a comeback was put into helping the President turn around the Economy...........the recession would be over.

    March 27, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  11. republicans hate america

    generation x has come of age and generation y is right behind. the GOP are done. enough said.

    March 27, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. republicans hate america

    If the rush limbaugh party wants little government why do they want to be in power so badly.

    March 27, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  13. shawn

    If you are going to oppose the president's policies thats fine, but when conservative Democrats are making more headway in changing legislation than the Republicans you have to wonder if blanket opposition and non-cooperation are really helpful at all. I for one think the Republicans are spiteful, ridiculous children that don't do their jobs. Get back to work and be constructive instead of hoping America and her institutions fail. What kind of Americans sit around on their butts while the country burns around them? I think the Republicans need to find other jobs and leave the work to conservative Democrats. At least they do their jobs.

    March 27, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  14. Boytjie

    Didn't the Republicans support Bush 100%? So they are responsible for the millstone around their necks.

    March 27, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. tyree

    The Republicians have to become more moderate. That's the key for any future comeback. There party has been hijacked by the far right.

    March 27, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  16. roysh

    NOW Bush is 'a millstone around their necks'????

    For EIGHT years he was your leader, you coddled and defended him, you nominated him, you put him up for President, he won. NOW he is a millstone?!!? Wow, how soon you forget your own.

    Sarah Palin IS a real Republican...she ALREADY regards the rest of the Republican party as a millstone around HER neck and she lost the election!

    March 27, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. Tek

    I find anything that his man has to say about taxation hypocritical. Perhaps he could answer why his state pays state tax? Growing up in a state without state tax, then moving to one that has it, hearing any republican and particularly him discuss taxes curdles my blood.

    March 27, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. Lisa P

    Seems to me that McConnell is raising the wrong finger in that photo 😉

    March 27, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  19. Paul

    Gee, Mitch, maybe Bush wouldn't have been such a problem for your party if any of you had, you know, disagreed with even one of his policies for eight years..

    March 27, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  20. Geez

    If this nation elect the same incompetent party that led us into this economic mess ...God help us!

    March 27, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    @ Alfred E. Neuman, who suggested "A winning strategy for the GOP might be to get out of the way and let the Democratic Party self destruct."

    Perhaps. It's not a bad idea, but I suppose that it is quite telling that the GOP is too afraid to put all its eggs in that basket. In other words, it's not likely to work and they know it and they're terrified that the opposite is, in fact, what will happen: that the Dems will actually succeed.

    March 27, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  22. Frances

    Many GOP wants Obama to fail i.e. Jindal saying it depends on what he is trying to do. Well, he is trying to get this country out of the mess 8-years of neglect has left us. They cannot have it both ways wanting Obama to fail while the country succeeds. They go hand-in-hand. Then you have wackos like Michelle Bachmann congresswoman from Minnesota introducing a bill to keep the dollar as U.S. currency. WOW! Where is her mind? She, in October, wanted an investigation of the Obamas and Congress to see who was pro-America and anti-America. Then the GOP comes up with a 19-page outline of their budget with absolutely no numbers. Many on Capital Hill outraged at the major corporations while at the same time, they are taking contributions from these very corporations. Hippocrites. GOP out of touch.

    March 27, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  23. Len in Washington

    "Bush was a millstone around our necks...."

    Now that millstone has been removed but your "NO to Everything" campaign has put you in an excellent position to cut your own throats.
    No millstone required.

    Good work.

    March 27, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  24. pat

    GOP don't have any leaders, they all follow one another in a circle, going nowhere fast.

    March 27, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  25. Jeanne from Arizona

    GOP: Get rid of Boener, Mitchell,Cantor, Jindahl. Find some moderate conseratives in your party that are willing to compromise and work with the Democrats to do your friggin jobs. We are dying out here literally and figuratively and we have a bunch of people who are so out of touch that they can't even put together a decent alternative budget and tell the American people what's in it. Just the same old s-, details to come. The details are we are losing our savings, houses, jobs while you all play your game. THIS IS NOT A GAME PEOPLE, THIS IS OUR LIVES OUT HERE. GET IT TOGETHER.!!!!!!!!!

    March 27, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
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