I received this Op-ed letter from Brad Parke of Knott County.
Kentucky Has Unique Opportunity to Shape National Political Agenda
Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows
If we learned anything from this year’s mid-term elections, it was that the American public is fed up with Washington. Although results indicate the tide seems to be flowing towards Republicans, this election was more a referendum on the ineptitude of many incumbents. However, particular to us Kentuckians, the election positioned two members from Kentucky’s Congressional delegation in Washington to significantly influence our nation’s political agenda over the next two-years.
Mitch McConnell, recently re-elected as Minority Leader of the US Senate, will likely stall or significantly influence much of President Obama’s agenda. McConnell, who now has 46 GOP Senators in his caucus, will no doubt attempt to filibuster any legislation further expanding the size of government, while working tirelessly to repeal health-care reform. You can expect Obama will maintain much closer communication with McConnell over the next two-years of his administration if he hopes to accomplish anything on his domestic agenda.
Meanwhile, Kentucky Senate-elect, Rand Paul, heads to Washington promising to transform the way things work on Capitol Hill. Although historically freshmen Senators have not exerted a significant amount of influence, don’t expect this to be the case with Paul. Senator-elect Paul defied all odds in both the primary and general elections in Kentucky, and expect him to do the same once in Washington. In fact, Paul’s impact is already being felt with the recent announcement by McConnell to agree to a budget earmark moratorium by Republicans. This is evidence that Paul, along with other TEA party members, is already shifting the dynamics in Congress, prior to even taking their respective offices.
It will be fascinating to watch our two Kentucky Senators influence both policy and the political landscape over the next two years, from different positions on the playing field. More importantly, it will be noteworthy to observe how the veteran establishment Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, interacts with the often outspoken, but still freshman Senator Rand Paul. Both men will play a crucial role in the development of legislation in the US Senate, while potentially exerting significant influence over whomever the GOP picks to run against Obama in 2012. Meanwhile, expect McConnell to utilize his extensive knowledge of US Senate procedures to strategically guide GOP sponsored legislation and force conservative Democrats into some hard votes prior to next election. If successful, it is possible McConnell may find himself as the Majority Leader of the US Senate, following the next election cycle. Regardless, expect both men will work together to shift the course in Washington. As Charles Dudley Warner once stated “Politics makes strange bedfellows.”
Brad Parke, 25, of Knott County, is a student at the Appalachian School of Law.
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