A role for Sen. McConnell to play

I’ll probably get some angry mail for this, but I’m a little disappointed in the Senate Republican leader lately. By any sober assessment, he’s really been sitting on the sidelines of the current debt-ceiling negotiations. Rumor was, a few weeks ago, House and Senate GOP staff were swapping mixed signals between the two leaders’ offices over what deals would be acceptable to the other chamber.

It’s hard enough to negotiate with Democrats. I can’t imagine first figuring out what Sen. McConnell needs to have in order to move forward with his support.

I’d like to see the minority leader take a more forceful role in the talks in the coming weeks. The press corps is certainly willing to give him an audience whenever he speaks. But simply appearing on Fox News Sunday shows doesn’t quite rise to the level that others such as Speaker Boehner and President Obama have elevated themselves to.

A lot hangs in the balance. Many believe the Senate is on the verge of switching to Republican control. Yet if McConnell can’t seem to create a unified voice coming out of his party, that could seriously hamper his electoral chances come next November.

I get it — the Senate is full of 100 individual, often lone voices. But all the more reason for McConnell to try and coordinate as many as he can now. The potential fallout if he does not is evident. You can bet Democrats will skewer Senate Republicans if Sen. Reid starts forcing the rank and file to take difficult votes.

I don’t like the way this is shaping up in the Senate. There is less of a Tea Party influence, and more of a good old-fashioned missed opportunity on the part of the Kentucky senator.

Watch in the coming weeks if McConnell steps up more. He certainly possesses the political gravitas and respect of his colleagues. Now it’s time to see him off the sidelines and into the “game” a bit more on these debt discussions.

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