Rule Five Murder Turtle Friday

It’s official: As of November, “Cocaine Mitch” McConnell will step down as the Republican Senate Leader and, while he’s remaining in the Senate (presumably) he is stepping back from leadership duties. If you ask me, this is good; he’s been slipping a little in the last few months, and it’s frankly time for some new blood.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he’s stepping down as the upper chamber’s GOP leader after November’s elections, ending a 17-year run that made him the longest-serving party leader in Senate history and often the most powerful Republican in Washington.

McConnell, who turned 82 last week, announced his decision on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

“I always imagined a moment when I have total clarity and peace about the sunset of my work. A moment when I’m certain I have helped preserve the ideals I so strongly believe,” he said. “That day arrived today.”

In emotional remarks, McConnell reflected on his 40 years in the Senate, saying that when he was first elected to the chamber in 1984 he “never could have imagined” becoming the longest-serving senator to represent Kentucky in the state’s history.

“To serve Kentucky in the Senate has been the honor of my life, to lead my Republican colleagues has been the highest privilege,” he said, before announcing that this would be his last term as the Senate GOP leader.

Honestly, at 82, he should not be seeking re-election, but that’s another issue.

In his floor speech, McConnell said he plans to remain in his post until his party selects a new leader, who would be elected in November and take the helm in 2025. He said he plans to stay in the Senate to “finish the job” that the people of Kentucky elected him to do, suggesting that he’ll remain in the chamber until his term expires in 2026.

“Father time remains undefeated. I’m no longer the young man sitting in the back hoping colleagues would remember my name,” McConnell said. “It’s time for the next generation of leadership.”

The leader said he has “full confidence” in his conference to choose his replacement, though he did not endorse a successor.

“I still have enough gas in my tank to thoroughly disappoint my critics and I intend to do so with all the enthusiasm which they have become accustomed,” he said.

As far as a successor, if I had my druthers, I’d love to see Rand Paul (one of the few pols I actually like) in that slot. But at this point, it’s up in the air, and the Senate Republicans have some time to dope all that out.

While Mitch McConnell could be a damnably effective political knife-fighter when he put his mind to it, I’m damned certain that Trump, Resurgent was part of his decision to step away from leadership. McConnell and Trump have been at odds before and likely would have been again, and it’s become damned obvious that Trump is going to be the GOP standard-bearer in this fall’s election, for better or worse.

But for all of Mitch McConnell’s swamp creature status – and make no mistake about that, he is part of the Swamp – I will forever be grateful to him for one thing:

Merrick Garland will never sit on the Supreme Court.

For that, Senator Mitch “Murder Turtle” McConnell, I thank you.