Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) speaks during a news conference after the weekly senate policy luncheons on Capitol Hill, Apr. 29, 2014.
Photo by Gabriella Demczuk/New York Times/Redux

McConnell’s old boss tells tale of a moderate Mitch


Sen. Marlow Cook, a moderate Kentucky Republican who employed a young Mitch McConnell, says he’s “amazed” the Kentucky senator became so conservative.

Cook—who gave McConnell a job shortly after he graduated—slammed the Senate Minority Leader for his staunch conservatism in an interview with Mother Jones.

McConnell “fit very well” with Cook’s moderate campaign for office and once Cook had been elected, McConnell helped him with legislation like the Equal Rights Amendment, where Cook was the leading Senate Republican pushing for constitutional protection of women’s rights. McConnell contended with conservatives who opposed the ERA, like Phyllis Schlafly, according to Cook.

“I am absolutely amazed he became a conservative,” Cook, 87, told Mother Jones.

Cook went on to say he is particularly outraged by McConnell’s opposition to Obamacare, a law that has been extremely successful in Kentucky.  

“If he had any knowledge of the lack of health and medical facilities in the hills of Kentucky,” Cook told Mother Jones, “he’d know it’s a problem we need to solve. For Mitch McConnell to decide the new health program is not good for Kentucky—it tells me he’s not looking out for his own constituency.”

“I don’t know what Mitch is doing,” Cook says. “If he thinks this whole thing should be killed, it’s an awful crap shoot. Instead of stopping [Obamacare], they should be correcting the things in the bill that need correcting. But to say it should be killed? I know what the real, real conservative Republicans want. They would love to get rid of Medicare. They would love to get rid of Social Security.”

Despite considering himself a Republican, Cook endorsed John Kerry for President in 2004, the publication noted.

McConnell’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Kentucky and Mitch McConnell

McConnell’s old boss tells tale of a moderate Mitch