'Taxation without full representation': Kentucky journalist questions McConnell’s 'mental fortitude'
United States Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) was first elected in 1984 and Kentuckians have reelected him seven consecutive times in the nearly four decades since. But McConnell is now in his eighties, and one Kentucky journalist is concerned that McConnell's age indicates that the time has arrived for McConnell to step aside.
Opinion columnist Carl Gibson writes in Tuesday's Louisville Courier Journal that McConnell's recent health scares — like his mid-press conference freeze in July and repeated stumbles at events — are signals that McConnell has lost his ability to fulfill his role.
"As Senate Minority Leader, McConnell is paid an annual salary of $193,400. This is fair pay for a job as demanding as representing the interests of more than 4.5 million Kentuckians," says Gibson. "But if Kentucky's senior U.S. senator can't be present, alert, lucid and healthy enough to do the job, then that arguably amounts to taxation without full representation. It's also fair to question McConnell's mental fortitude given that he's one of the 'Gang of Eight' routinely briefed on the most classified U.S. intelligence the government possesses."
While Gibson admits that he is "a Democrat," his goal is not to "simply to pick on McConnell or to score partisan points." Gibson believes that his call for McConnell to resign mirrors Californians "making a similar argument about 90-year-old Senator Dianne Feinstein (D), who was absent for three months with shingles and encephalitis and recently had to have her staff instruct her to 'just say aye' on an $823 billion defense spending bill. Google searches for 'gerontocracy' (rule by the elderly) recently spiked according to Google Trends."
Despite having partisan disagreements toward McConnell, Gibson nonetheless credits him for having "undoubtedly delivered for Kentuckians, most often in the form of federal earmarks (i.e. pork projects)" that were "snuck into must-pass appropriations bills."
Gibson also states that Republicans "have nothing to fear" about Governor Andy Bashear (D) picking a Democrat to take McConnell's place because "Kentucky's Republican legislative supermajority passed a law in 2021 requiring that any replacement senator come from the same party as the outgoing incumbent."
Gibson concludes that "there's no shame in retiring at age 81, and the sooner McConnell does it, the better."
Gibson's full editorial is available at this link.
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