GEORGETOWN, Ky. — Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says the American people are fed up with the Democratic majority in Washington and appear prepared to send in fresh GOP troops to provide political balance.
McConnell spoke Monday to small business leaders at a local chamber of commerce luncheon in Georgetown, telling them that the political climate is cold toward the Democratic Party that controls the executive and legislative branches.
"It appears to me that if the election were held today, there would be a midcourse correction," McConnell said. "I'm not here today to spike the ball in the end zone, to use a sports metaphor, but I do think that the American people are, I don't want to overstate this, close to appalled by the level of government that we have today and would like to see it stopped."
McConnell called Washington a boom town, saying that federal government has added 250,000 jobs in the past year and half while the private sector has lost some 3 million.
Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon charged that it was the actions of Republicans, not Democrats, that triggered the economic recession and resulting job losses.
"Voters are still appalled at the eight years of the Cheney-Bush agenda that brought us record deficits and out-of-control spending, he said. "And for six years, the Republican congress never did anything to check the behavior of those in the Bush administration."
In recent days, McConnell has been traveling Kentucky campaigning on behalf of Republican Rand Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon who is seeking to replace retiring Sen. Jim Bunning. Paul faces Democrat Jack Conway in one of the closest-watched races in the nation.
McConnell didn't mention the Kentucky race in his speech to the Georgetown business group, and he largely avoided partisan rhetoric, sounding instead professorial in his remarks. Last weekend, he made a series of stops in western Kentucky where he called on voters to send in the cavalry by electing GOP candidates, including Paul.
Early polls have given Paul the edge in the Kentucky race. McConnell said the mood of the electorate appears to make Republicans the favorites in a number of other states as well.
McConnell said his sense is that voters want more balance politically, because they're concerned about one party "having too much power." Besides the White House, Democrats control both the House and Senate.
Big wins for the GOP in November, McConnell said, would likely grab the attention of President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, perhaps even turning Obama "into a born again moderate."
Logsdon said McConnell need not get his hopes up.
"Voters are not going to so easily forget who got us into this mess, as the Republicans hope, and I think they'll give Democrats credit for pursuing policies to get us out of this economic crisis," he said.