McConnell hires blogger

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is helping fellow Republicans to take their embrace of the Internet to the next level, hiring conservative blogger Jon Henke to serve as new media director for all GOP conference members.

Henke, who briefly advised former Sen. George Allen’s (R-Va.) reelection campaign on outreach to the blogosphere, co-writes the popular libertarian-leaning blog QandO.net. His new position will involve monitoring and interacting with new media outlets across the ideological spectrum, in addition to advising Senate Republicans on blog outreach, McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said.

Henke’s unique position indicates that McConnell “clearly sees [new] media as an important part of our communications efforts,” Stewart said. Many lawmakers have started up their own blogs in recent months, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). Stewart said Henke would be available to help interested Republicans set up Web journals of their own.

“As I have written before, ‘I’m never more interested in, and excited about, the Republican Party than when they are the opposition party.’ This is that time,” Henke wrote in a Monday post on his blog announcing the move.

Henke has written skeptically in the past about Republican decision-making, most recently in a Nov. 14 post about the GOP leadership elections that said reelected House GOP Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) “may not be The Problem, but it’s not at all clear that he’s The Solution” and added that the party “must have new leadership that doesn’t bear the blame for past transgressions.”