McConnell and Paul in Stronger Positions Following Debt Ceiling/Shutdown Fight?

Oct 16, 2013

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)

With a deal to end the debt ceiling debate and ongoing government shutdown apparently in place, a well-respected political column lists both of Kentucky’s Republican Senators as “winners” following the extended drama.

The Washington Post’s political column, “The Fix”, says both Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul come out of the battle stronger than when it began. Post reporter Chris Cillizza says Paul benefited from appearing moderate compared to another Tea Party-backed Republican Senator, Ted Cruz. Both Cruz and Paul are believed to be strongly considering 2016 presidential runs, and both would try to capture much of the same electorate.

Cillizza says that by not leading the charge against the GOP establishment, Paul could come across as a kind of hybrid Tea Party candidate with at least some establishment backing.

Senator McConnell is once again being seen as one of the preeminent dealmakers in Washington, playing a central role at the end to come up with a deal after staying in the background during much of the debate.

McConnell is taking heat from his GOP Senate primary challenger, Matt Bevin, who accused McConnell of “selling out conservatives” with the deal. The fact McConnell was willing to make a deal with his Democratic counterpart in the Senate, Harry Reid, could mean McConnell is less worried about his primary challenger than many had previously thought.