From The New Republic: A blast from a now-unimaginable past

Thanks to Daniel Hurt for sending us this.

EDITOR'S NOTE: “At some point along the way, Mitch McConnell decided that his own longevity in Washington trumped all — that he would even be willing to feed the public disillusionment with its elected leaders if it would increase his and his party’s odds of success at the polls. In the contest of cynical striving versus earnest service, Mitch McConnell has already won.” -- Alec MacGillis, The Cynic: The Political Education of Mitch McConnell.


After a failed attempt to run for the House of Representatives (he was tossed from the ballot for failing residency requirements), Mitch McConnell’s first real campaign was for judge-executive of Jefferson County, containing (at the time) Louisville and its suburbs. It was 1977, and he was 35. The images collected here offer a portal into a lost political world: a faraway, enchanted realm in which Mitch McConnell sought elected office as a moderate man of the people. If it were possible to travel back in time and preserve this Mitch McConnell in amber and reanimate him intact, as the original imagineers of Jurassic Park did, today’s Republican Party might have become something quite dramatically different than the cynical manufactory of obstruction and scorched earth that it’s morphed into on the watch of the real-world McConnell.

In the 1960s, McConnell was a liberal Republican, a perfectly normal thing to be at that time. He was even pro-choice (which, again, would have been the natural position of any moderate, non-Catholic Republican at the time). By 1980, Reagan was McConnell’s fourth choice for the Republican nomination for president. But after Reagan’s victory, it became clear which side had won the internecine war over what the GOP was going to be from now on. So McConnell simply became a Reagan Republican.

Read more here.