Republican Leader

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“Mitch McConnell, as Republican leader in the Senate, is now one of the most important political figures in Washington and may be the most influential Kentuckian in national affairs since Henry Clay. This raises a question: how did this cautious, soft-spoken, but very shrewd conservative get there? It’s a great story and John David Dyche tells it brilliantly. Republican Leader is enormously engaging, insightful, and fun to read.”
Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard

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“The most powerful man in the Republican Party”
The Economist

As GOP leader in the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell is the highest-ranking Republican in America. But surprisingly little is known about this skilled and powerful politician who commands the opposition to President Barack Obama and the Democrats. Now, fellow Kentuckian and political commentator John David Dyche offers an engrossing inside look at Senator McConnell’s unlikely rise to the top ranks of the American government—and at why he has become, in the words of the leading news organization Politico, “the lone GOP senator who can stand in the way of an unfettered liberal agenda in Washington, and a key go-to man to rehabilitate his party.”

Based on dozens of interviews with McConnell’s colleagues, friends, and rivals—and with the senator himself—Republican Leader recounts McConnell’s story from his childhood in the Democratic Deep South, through his political coming of age in the civil rights and Goldwater eras, through his ascendance during the Reagan and Gingrich revolutions, and up through the Bush administration to the present. Dyche reveals:

  • The young McConnell’s long struggle with polio, which left the child’s leg partially paralyzed—but shaped a steely character
  • The secrets to the tight-lipped, pragmatic senator’s repeated success in the face of long odds and continual ridicule from opponents and the media alike
  • How some of McConnell’s fiercest fights have been with a prominent member of his own party—John McCain
  • How McConnell, the longest-serving senator in Kentucky history, crafted a strong statewide GOP structure in his Democrat-dominated state
  • How McConnell’s increasing conservatism has at times come in conflict with his cold-eyed political realism
  • The senator’s hard-nosed approach to politics: “If someone flicks a pebble at you,” he says, “hurl a boulder back”

Through his in-depth research, John David Dyche has pulled back the curtain on one of America’s most influential but least understood politicians. Republican Leader provides a fascinating look into the values, opportunities, and successes, as well as the setbacks and compromises, that placed Mitch McConnell in his critical position in our government.

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