Dem 51
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Frozen Turtle--Again

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) fell and bumped his head earlier this year. Then, a month ago, he froze for 20 seconds while speaking at the podium. Yesterday, it happened again in midsentence while addressing the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. He appears to be considerably thinner and frailer than ever before as well. It is now abundantly clear that something is seriously wrong with him. The last time this happened, neurologists who were questioned by reporters thought it could be a TIA (ministroke).

McConnell hasn't said whether he has consulted a neurologist, but it is hard to imagine that he won't do that immediately now. He is up for reelection in 2026. These two frozen-turtle incidents strongly suggest that he won't run in 2026 as he would be 88 at the end of another term. He knows very well how Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is being propped up by her staff and really doesn't want to go out like that.

This is not his first brush with illness. At age 2, he contracted polio but survived it. He said his family almost went broke due to the costs of dealing with his illness. Nevertheless, he opposed the Affordable Care Act, even though he knows full well what an illness can do to a family's finances and plans.

Discussions about his leaving the Senate midterm have been hush-hush up to now. That may change very soon. A bitter and difficult election is coming up and the question is whether McConnell can handle it. He would dearly love to capture the Senate, but if he is in no condition to lead the fight, his sense of party loyalty might cause him to abruptly retire now. His seat won't be in danger if he does, however. Kentucky law states that if there is a Senate vacancy, the party of the departing senator must give the governor—Andy Beshear (D-KY), in this case—a list of three qualified candidates to choose from. Kentucky has five Republican U.S. representatives, multiple statewide Republican officeholders, and 31 Republican state senators. The state party will be able to find three qualified Republicans, although there might be a lot of in-fighting about which ones make the list.

The reactions are pouring in. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) tweeted: "Severe aging health issues and/or mental health incompetence in our nation's leaders MUST be addressed." It was accompanied by a video clip of McConnell freezing. She's a real sweetie. It's remarkable that it took her ex-husband 27 years to figure out who she really was and divorce her. In contrast, Joe Biden, gentleman that he is, said that McConnell is a friend from the 20-odd years they were in the Senate together and he called him in the afternoon. Unlike Biden, we were never in the Senate, but we second his wish that McConnell have a speedy recovery. (V)

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