“MEET THE NEW BOSS”….Bill Frist is leaving the Senate after the 2006 election in order to spend full time on his run for the presidency. So who will replace him? It turns out it’s literally no contest: if Republicans hold onto the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky already has the votes sewn up to be the next Majority Leader of the Senate.

If you’re a fan of bipartisan comity, this is bad news. As Zack Roth and Cliff Schecter report in the current issue of the Monthly, McConnell is to the Senate what Tom DeLay was to the House:

McConnell?s political persona ? with its focus on bare-knuckled partisanship and support for a money-driven legislative system ? embodies the very qualities that have helped reverse Republican political fortunes so dramatically over the last year and a half, and have led directly to a series of government scandals and slipups. In uniting around Mitch McConnell, Republicans are, in effect, doubling down on the governing style that got them, and us, into this mess in the first place.

….If Republicans do hold onto the Senate?and they might not ? McConnell will likely have a smaller majority than Frist has enjoyed. A leader hoping to get legislation passed would probably respond by being more conciliatory toward the minority ? but Republicans didn?t pick McConnell because of his talent for conciliation. ?I think he?ll be more likely to pick a fight,? says the Heritage Foundation?s Darling. With a confrontational Republican leader, a narrow Senate majority, and an unpopular, lame duck president, the next two years don?t figure to see much landmark legislation passed. Instead, if the past is any guide, Majority Leader McConnell will focus only on measures that support Republican power or drive a wedge between Democrats, and will do everything possible to keep campaign dollars flowing to the GOP. But if and when that happens, don?t blame McConnell. He?ll only be doing what he was elected to do.

Read the whole thing if you want to know what we’re all in for if the GOP retains control of the Senate this year. It ain’t pretty.