What's Going on With Mitch McConnell?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has recently become the Republican Party's leading truth teller.

OK, it's not a hugely competitive field, but he started by directly blaming Donald Trump for inciting the Capitol riot, something most of his fellow Republican senators have not been willing to do.

Then he made two additional comments this week that have placed him head and shoulders above his colleagues in acknowledging the danger the GOP is in as it looks to the future.

He praised Rep. Liz Cheney as "a leader with deep convictions and courage," after her recent vote, with nine other House Republicans, to impeach Trump for the second time. Republicans in the House, meanwhile, are meeting to discuss ousting Cheney from GOP leadership.

Now McConnell is condemning "loony lies and conspiracy theories," such as those issuing from Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (though he avoided naming her), including questioning whether 9/11 happened and her assertions that some mass shootings were staged. McConnell called them a "cancer for the Republican Party." Someone has to stand up and say these things, and who better than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell?

But what's got into Mitch? Probably two things, according to Richard Bond, a former Republican National Committee Chairman. Firstly, freedom from the shackles of the Trump presidency and, secondly, his astute political calculation that he has a now-or-never opportunity to lead the GOP away from the toxicity of Trump and QAnon crazies like Greene.

McConnell has even hinted that he is open to convicting Trump in next week's Senate impeachment trial, depending on the evidence presented by the House impeachment managers. (He did, however, vote last week along with 44 GOP senators to keep alive an effort to dismiss the Senate impeachment trial on constitutional grounds.)

Unlike most of his colleagues, though, McConnell knows that the GOP is at a tipping point. Republicans can continue to embrace Trump's toxicity and big-lie tactics and continue to coddle extremists. Or, they can, like the fictional newscaster Howard Beale in Network, declare that they are mad as hell, are not going to take it anymore, and are going to change their ways and reclaim their party.