Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
(image by Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
By mounting a crusade to repeal Obamacare, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has betrayed the residents of Kentucky -- so says the former Republican senator from the Bluegrass State who gave McConnell his first job in politics.
In 1968, the year after McConnell graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law, Marlow Cook, a moderate Republican running for an open US Senate seat in Kentucky, hired McConnell as his campaign's state youth chairman. McConnell, who had previously served two internships in Washington for Kentucky politicians, "fit in very well" with the campaign, Cook recalls, because he had been state president of the Young Ripon Society, an organization of moderate GOPers. And after Cook won the Senate seat, he offered McConnell a job as a legislative aide. McConnell moved to Washington with Cook, and as a top staffer in Cook's office he helped the senator with one of Cook's chief priorities: passing the Equal Rights Amendment. Cook was the lead Republican in the upper chamber pushing the ERA, a proposed constitutional amendment guaranteeing equal rights for women. McConnell, Cook recounts, "worked and worked hard" to gain support for the measure and counter opposition--both inside and outside the Senate. "Phyllis Schlafly was one of the people we had to contend with, and he did," Cook notes, referring to the prominent conservative who led the anti-ERA effort. (In those days, McConnell also was skeptical about the Vietnam War and inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement.)