One of my union brothers could hardly believe that Sen. Mitch McConnell’s bogus “Election Violation Notice” collected a quintet of awards from Campaigns and Elections magazine, including “best direct mail piece for 2014.”
The mailer's purpose was to scare supporters of Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, McConnell's opponent. It was a deliberate deception designed to make recipients think they were somehow breaking the law. Inside, it listed “fraudulent information” being spread by “the federal candidate” Grimes.
“Advertising is legalized lying,” H.G. Wells famously observed. That goes double for political advertising.
Of course, politicians pay campaign advertising firms handsomely for crafting hit pieces like Team Mitch’s mailer, which looked like it came from the government.
“It’s not if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” we dutifully tell our kids in little league.
In grownup politics, winning is all that counts. If you have to lie and cheat, so be it. If you’re a gun-for-hire in political advertising, the better you are at lying and cheating, the more awards you win.
The McConnell ad, a joint venture with the Kentucky Republican Party, claimed five Reed Awards. I gather they’re Oscars for political ads judged to be the most effective, campaigns, no matter how contemptible the ads are.
Virtue may be its own reward elsewhere. Gutter politics wins the prizes atCampaign and Elections. “Best mail piece for a bare-knuckled street fight” was one of the categories the McConnell mailer won. Just the category’s name speaks volumes about the state of American politics.
But why stop with honors for cheating and playing dirty in politics?
Why not hand out trophies for the best bean baller in baseball or, in football, for players who put the most opposing players out of the game with cheap shots?
But, hey, Kentucky is a basketball state. So how about giving trophies for shoving the most players into the seats while they go airborne for a layup?
Anyway, McConnell’s mailer came in an official-looking envelope with a Frankfort return address. The piece warned the recipient: “THE INFORMATION ENCLOSED CONTAINS FACTS RELATED TO A POSSIBLE FRAUD BEING PERPETRATED ON CITIZENS ACROSS KENTUCKY.”
Jonathan Hurst, Grimes’ campaign manager, called the mailer “despicable” and a blatant attempt at voter suppression.
That it was.
But I’d bet the farm that Hurst’s complaint – and Grimes’ vain attempt to stop the mailer in court -- triggered high fives and gales of laughter on Team Mitch, whose guy beat Grimes by more than 15 percentage points.
Okay, throughout American history, truth has often been the first casualty in political campaigns, no matter the era or the party.
Supporters of Federalist President John Adams shrieked that if the “infidel” Democratic Republican Thomas Jefferson were elected president in 1800, "murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced.”
The Jeffersonians shot back that Adams sent a U.S. Navy ship to England to procure two prostitutes, one for himself and the other for his running mate.
However, as far as I can tell, there were no awards for such falsehoods spread by party hacks and by the partisan press in early America.
In any event, it is too bad that McConnell seems to have learned nothing about politics from his purported mentor, Sen. John Sherman Cooper. In his salad days, McConnell was a Cooper intern.
Cooper, a moderate to liberal Republican, eschewed “bare-knuckled street fight” politics, even in the 1954 senate race, probably the toughest battle of his political career. His foe was the formidable Alben Barkley, a former senate majority leader Harry Truman’s vice president.
In his campaign, the senator “…wouldn’t permit the use of rumored contract scandals against Barkley,” Robert Schulman quoted Cooper’s sister in John Sherman Cooper: The Global Kentuckian.
You can’t bet the farm McConnell would have blown a bundle on ads elevating even the most baseless of rumors to “fact.”
Cooper fought fairly and lost. I can almost hear the “nice guys finish last” sneer from Team Mitch.
Even so, Cooper bounced back. He won reelection in 1956 and stayed in the Senate until 1973. Dubbed “the Global Kentuckian,” Cooper was also a diplomat, serving as U.S. ambassador to India in 1955-1956 and to East Germany in 1974-1976.
Above all, Cooper was a principled politician. His refusal to demonize and smear his political foes is a big part of his legacy. He died in 1991 and went down in history as a statesman in the truest sense of the word.
I doubt history will be as kind to McConnell, and rightly so.
“John Sherman Cooper would be appalled at Mitch McConnell,” said Dr. Duane Bolin, a Murray State University historian and author. “McConnell’s bottom line is simply to stay in office and enrich himself and the billionaires who support him. I don’t think he believes in anything.”
Shortly before I talked to my union brother, I got an email from another one of my friends, a university librarian-historian. He had seen the KET interview with McConnell at Ashland, Sen. Henry Clay’s preserved Lexington home.
A 19th century state legislator, congressman, senator, secretary of state, three time presidential candidate and broker of three compromises to save the Union, Clay is Kentucky’s greatest ever statesman. (President Abraham Lincoln is our greatest native son, but he made his political splash in Illinois.)
“Mitch was bragging about his historical knowledge of Henry Clay and the great respect he had for the man and his politics,” my buddy wrote. “I could only chuckle - the Great Divider commenting on the Great Compromiser.”
“Some black political leaders think Democratic candidates who distanced themselves from President Barack Obama sapped enthusiasm among African-Americans in states where they anchor the party's base,” writes Bill Barrow of the Associated Press.
He cited Sen. Kay Hagan’s narrow defeat in North Carolina, Michelle Nunn’s near-landslide loss in Georgia, and the plight of Mary Landrieu, who faces a tough runoff election in Louisiana next month.
In Kentucky, Democratic hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes also fled from the president. Sen. Mitch McConnell handily defeated her.
Barrow added that a larger turnout among African Americans by itself wouldn’t have added up to Democratic triumphs in Georgia or Louisiana because 3 out of 4 white Georgians voted against Nunn and more than 4 out of 5 Louisiana whites voted against Landrieu.
Grimes likely would have come up short, too. But I’ve heard some Kentucky Democrats wonder if Grimes depressed the African America turnout to some extent by keeping the president at arm’s length and especially by refusing to say if she voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012.
In any event, Linda Wilkins-Daniels, an officer in the North Carolina Democratic Party's Black Caucus, told Barrow that Democratic candidates missed an opportunity to use the president to tell a success story and to make political hay off differences with Republicans on issues like the minimum wage, financial regulation, student loans and health care.
I asked Dorothy Barkley what she’d say if Sen. Mitch McConnell showed up at her door in Paducah. “I’d tell him, ‘Granddaddy was a yellow dog Democrat, and I can see right through what you are doing by using his name,’” the feisty septuagenarian replied.
Her granddaddy was Alben W. Barkley of Paducah, Harry Truman’s vice president and the only Kentuckian to serve as senate majority leader. But McConnell, who often praises Barkley for his leadership, is almost certain to become the second one when the new GOP-majority senate convenes in a few weeks.
McConnell handily won another term, but not with Barkley's vote. She cast her ballot for “that nice young woman,” Alison Lundergan Grimes, Team Mitch's Democratic challenger.
Dubbed “The Veep,” Alben Barkley had been majority leader in the 1930s and 1940s under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and The Man from Missouri, who became president when FDR died in 1945.
Truman tapped Barkley as his running mate in 1948. Barkley was reelected to the senate in 1954 but died in office in 1956. He was 78.
McConnell likes being compared to Barkley, who was a congressman before he was a senator.
No matter, a stint as majority leader would be the only thing McConnell would have in common with Barkley, according to The Veep's granddaughter. “I remember my granddaddy well. I was 13 when he died.”
Last summer, Barkley, 71, got so perturbed about McConnell gushing over her grandparent that she dashed off a letter to the editor of the Paducah Sun, her hometown newspaper. The Sun endorsed McConnell.
Barkley wrote that she appreciated “Sen. Mitch McConnell’s pleasant words about my grandfather.” But she cautioned that “Alben Barkley was a ‘yellow dog’ Democrat.”
“I don’t know how many people know what that means anymore,” she wondered. For the uninitiated, it translates as a Democrat so devout he would vote for a “yellow dog” if the pooch were on the Democratic ticket.
Anyway, Barkley said the Veep “would have seen right through” McConnell’s “kind words.” She urged Sun readers, “Let’s get a new face in Washington, D.C., a Democrat.”
Barkley’s record backs up what his descendant says about him.
McConnell is a conservative whose bane is “big government.” Barkley didn’t duck the liberal label. He ardently supported FDR’s Depression-fighting New Deal program of massive federal action to put people back to work and to boost the economy. Too, Barkley was on board with Truman's "Fair Deal," which the president hoped would continue New Deal liberalism.
McConnell is partial to filibusters but not to unions. Barkley disdained the former and championed the latter.
While their political perspectives are as different as chalk and cheese, so are their political styles.
McConnell is prone to bare-knucks politics. “His glower has usually been enough to dissuade those who consider crossing him,” Jason Zingerle wrote in Politico.
Barkley preferred winning hearts and minds through humor and charm. While McConnell routinely demonizes Democrats, Barkley didn't talk like Republicans were hell-bound heathens.
In addition, Barkley practiced the politics of give-and-take. He didn't think "compromise" was a dirty word.
“I have been a loyal, regular Democrat all during my career,” he wrote in That Reminds Me, his folksy 1954 autobiography. “….However, that has never precluded me from recognizing a lot of good things emanating from the opposition. In the period when I was in Congress and the Democrats were in the minority I supported measures I thought were beneficial for the people, regardless of which side of the aisle they came from.”
Also, McConnell is less than Barkley-like on the stump. The Veep was a master at homespun campaign oratory. His story bag was bottomless.
Though Barkley became a politician in Paducah, where “Angles,” his brick antebellum home, still stands, Dorothy Barkley credits her ancestor’s celebrated wit and bonhomie (probably not a word the down-to-earth Barkley frequently used) to his rural Graves County origins.
The Veep was born in 1877 in a long-since disappeared two-story log cabin in the long-gone farming community of Wheel, about 20 miles from Paducah. “Graves County is where he got his sense of humor and his savviness,” Barkley said.
I’m one of those “liberal national Democrats” that conservative Kentucky Democrats sometimes scorn.
I know some Kentuckians of my persuasion are less than enthusiastic about Team Switch. They say Alison Lundergan Grimes is merely the anti-McConnell.
I beg to disagree.
This union card-carrying Hubert Humphrey Democrat is voting for Grimes. As far as I can tell, so are all of my left-leaning buddies here in deep western Kentucky, where I was born, reared and still live.
Anyway, when Grimes revealed her not-exactly-liberal policy agenda early in her campaign, blogger Joe Sonka suggested it might “cause enough Kentucky liberals to totally check out from the race and sit at home next November and drag away thousands of potential votes in Louisville and Lexington to affect the outcome in a close race.”
Talk is cheap. Words to purportedly patriotic tunes can ring hollow too when they are sung by a guy who skipped military service in wartime yet bases his whole show biz persona on very public professions of love for God and country.
I mean Lee Greenwood. The country music star is famous for crooning “God Bless the U.S.A.” The tune was “voted the most recognizable patriotic song in America,” according to his website.
The Grammy Award-winning Greenwood, 72, sang his signature song at a free concert on behalf of the Mitch McConnell campaign Tuesday night on a farm near Murray. McConnell stood next to Greenwood as the popular recording artist belted out “God Bless the U.S.A.”
About 200 people, including First District U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, showed up.
McConnell and Greenwood (Whitfield, too) share hard right Republican politics with a God-and-country slant.
Reporters are still bird-dogging Sen. Mitch McConnell over a story in The Hill that said his campaign offered to pay volunteers to help boost “an enthusiastic atmosphere” at his campaign rallies.
The other day, Louisville’s WAVE TV ran a news story featuring McConnell’s response to the continuing controversy. Predictably, the senate majority leader wannabe tried to fluff it all off.
But what got my attention was how the WAVE story ended: “McConnell also faced a question…about whether if he became majority leader he would push legislation to offer privatized accounts for Social Security. McConnell said he wasn’t going to say what his agenda would be” [Italics mine].
Alison Lundergan Grimes is this union card-carrying, 63-year-old Social Security recipient’s candidate.
Yet if I were a retiree on the fence wavering between Team Mitch and Team Switch, I’d give what McConnell said – or, rather didn’t say – some serious, if not prayerful, consideration before I voted a week from Tuesday.
In any event, this lifelong Kentuckian and out-to-pasture community college teacher is grateful to be getting Social Security. I want Uncle Sam to keep running the program.
Right-wing scare tactics about Social Security going broke are baloney. They are calculated to undermine public confidence in one of the best federal programs, thus helping pave the way for Republicans like McConnell to privatize Social Security.
Former president Bill Clinton, stumping for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in Paducah, revealed his version of how Sen. Mitch McConnell is trying to con voters by tying her to President Barack Obama.
“Now here’s what the real message is,” Clinton told about 1,800 Grimes partisans who jammed the McCracken County High School gym.
Grinning broadly and standing before a huge American flag reminiscent of the opening scene from the movie Patton, he pretended to be the senate majority leader wannabe: “I know you don’t like the president.
“This is your last chance to vote against him because he’s gonna be gone in two years and you know you want to pop him one more time.
“You know you do.”
The Big Dog paused to let the laughter and applause subside.
The Hill Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined comment on the news that he's offering all-expenses-paid trips for volunteers to provide "enthusiasm" during stops on his bus tour.
"I'm not sure I know what to say about that," he told CBS affiliate WVNS, directing the reporter to campaign adviser Josh Holmes.
The Hill reported this week that a Kentucky Republican Party operative emailed supporters in early October offering all-expenses-paid trips to join the senator's tour and "contribute to an enthusiastic atmosphere" at events.
The new Bluegrass Poll seems to prove Team Switch’s contention that the last Bluegrass Poll wasn’t an “outlier,” pollster-speak for a survey that’s the exception, not the rule.
Released Monday, the survey had Sen. Mitch McConnell up 43-42 over Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. The previous Bluegrass Poll put Grimes out front, 46-44. Both surveys were well within the margin of error.
The new poll “confirms yet again that the 15-month campaign plan from which we have never wavered has Alison poised for a narrow but decisive victory on November 4th,” said a Monday statement from Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst.
He added, “Since the last Bluegrass poll, Mitch McConnell and his allies have outspent our side by nearly $3 million, lying about Alison and her record, and they have nothing but a statistical dead heat (and the further cementing of McConnell’s mid-40’s ceiling) to show for it.
“McConnell and his allies have spent a whopping $50 million trashing Grimes and yet today we stand deadlocked just 15 days out.”
The survey of 655 likely voters also had Libertarian David Patterson with five percent.
“The poll shows that McConnell is in the fight of his political life despite being the most powerful Republican in the Senate and likely to take over as the Senate majority leader if he wins re-election and the GOP can win control of the Senate,” wrote Joseph Gerth in the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Bluegrass State’s largest newspaper.
Team Switch dismissed the previous Bluegrass Poll an “outlier.” So did some Washington pundits and political science professors in Kentucky and elsewhere.
Hurst countered that the current poll “confirms what we learned in the previous Bluegrass poll—that there has been a fundamental shift in the race since late August when McConnell led by 4 points, represented by a substantial swing to Grimes that has her tied or enjoying a slight lead.
“Even the right-wing Gravis poll last week showed Alison gaining 7 points since their September 16th survey, with huge pickups amongst the key independent demographic.”
Hurst charged that Team Mitch “is still pushing bad data in hopes of feeding a media narrative that the race is slipping away. That may be working with some DC outlets, but once again, the disconnect between Beltway punditry and the reality on the ground is vast.
“McConnell’s two latest data points do nothing but prove that this race is tied for the incumbent, at best. To wit: the Fox News poll touted by Republicans in early October had McConnell up four points, but as FiveThirtyEight noted of that poll, controlling for the GOP-leaning house effect of Fox polling, the actual result would be McConnell +0.4% — a pure coin flip.”
Hurst also took exception to the numbers in the recently-released Republican-leaning Rasmussen poll, which put McConnell on top 52 to 44.
The liberal Daily Kos website derides Rasmussen as “the House of Ras.” Hurst claimed the Rasmussen survey “was riddled with so many errors and flawed assumptions it’s barely worth rebutting.”
Hurst’s statement also said that “McConnell’s numbers remain dangerously low for an incumbent” though “McConnell partisans will point to a year’s worth of public polling showing the majority having McConnell in the lead.” Those numbers don’t matter, he added, “given that the fundamental shift shows Alison pulling into the lead or tied and McConnell stuck in neutral with momentum on our side.”
In addition, Hurst said Team Switch “remains in an extremely strong financial position…The campaign recently released yet another record-breaking 3rd quarter fundraising haul, announcing nearly $4.4 million cash-on-hand for the sprint down the stretch. That amount is more than any Democrat holds in any competitive 2014 U.S. Senate race that remains in play.”
The news that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee evidently isn’t going to buy any more TV ads for Alison Lundergan Grimes has sent the celebrity pundits scurrying to their word processors to compose obituaries for Team Switch.
“Democrats are pulling out of the Kentucky Senate race. Here’s why that’s important,” trumpeted a headline on “The Fix,” Chris Cillizza’s Washington Post column (at least it was the headline on the Internet.
“The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has stopped its TV advertising for the final three weeks in the Kentucky Senate race,” Cillizza wrote. “That decision effectively leaves Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes on her own and is rightly read as a sign that national Democrats believe the race is effectively over.”
Grimes, the Democrat who is after Sen. Mitch McConnell’s job, was up 46-44 over the senate majority leader wannabe in the last Bluegrass Poll. So Cillizza’s musing made me think of what Mark Twain supposedly said about reports of his death being more than a tad exaggerated.
Anyway, after reading Cillizza’s musing, this old reporter sought comment from Charly Norton, Grimes’s press secretary, I emailed her. “We remain confident and poised to win,” she emailed right back.
Campaign flaks get paid to say things like that.
Go ahead and call it home cooking if you wish, but here's how a Democratic party pro sizes it up: -- a DSCC “pullout” is not quite right. The DSCC isn’t -- for now anyway – buying ads beyond what the group already paid for. But the DSCC’s effort in the state is more than buying TV ads.
Check out Guy Cecil’s $300,000 (Exec. Dir. of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee) Tweet.
Just signed a $300,000 wire for the KY Get Out The Vote operation for @AlisonForKY. That's an interesting view of "pulling out of the race"
The election will boil down to turnout. Team Switch is confident they have built a mega-horsepower statewide grassroots, get-out-the-vote organization that’s hitting on all eight cylinders.
Team Switch has $4.4 million in cash on hand and posted record-breaking fundraising totals on Tuesday: a cool $4.9 million.
Last – maybe first – is that Bluegrass Poll. Team Switch is especially happy with Grimes’s numbers among independents.
True confession time: I’m rooting for Team Switch. Nonetheless, I generally don’t bet on politics or sporting events and I leave the prognosticating to media stars like Cillizza.
But before golden October declines into somber November and election day, I would wager on a couple of things:
Team Mitch doesn’t think their guy has the election in the jug.
Whichever team wins, the vote will be uncomfortable close.
Norton’s rejoinder to the big league pundits reminds me of the immortal Bluto Blutarsky who famously declared: “Over? Did you say ‘over’? Nothing is over until we decide it is!’” (If you don’t know Bluto, Google him, or let me google that for you.)
Anyway, right now Team Switch is still on the field and clinging to a two point lead in one of the most highly regarded polls in Kentucky. She was four points down in the previous Bluegrass poll.
Admittedly, I don’t think Grimes helped herself by not revealing who she voted for in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. At her TV debate with McConnell, she still wouldn’t say. I wish she had all along.
Yet the fact that she he hasn’t – and apparently won’t -- doesn’t seem to be hurting her with the base, or at least among union families like mine, who are a big chunk of her base.
This lifelong Kentuckian who doesn’t think “liberal” is a dirty word and who voted for Obama both times he ran isn’t holding Grimes’s non-disclosure against her. None of my union buddies who voted for Obama are either.
Also, I didn’t detect any flagging ardor on Grimes’ part in her war of words with the captain of Team Mitch. It could be argued convincingly that she won on points.
Too, big-name Democrats are still heading to Kentucky to stump for her. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio came the other day.
Both Clintons have been here, Hillary is supposed to be back tonight. I hear Bill is due back next week.
No matter what the punditocracy is pontificating, to the captain and the rest of Team Switch I say, “Illegitimi non carborundum, y’all.” You can Google that one, too.
In Monday night's KET debate, Sen. Mitch McConnell bristled at Alison Lundergan Grimes’s intimation that he became a millionaire by cashing in on his job.
No way, he shot back at the Democrat who wants his job. The senator protested that Grimes knows he and his spouse got rich as "a result of an inheritance that my wife got when her mother passed away."
Joe Raese was even more candid four years ago: “I made my money the old-fashioned way, I inherited it. I think that’s a great thing to do.”
Joe who? He’s the Republican another Joe, a Democrat named Manchin, beat in the 2010 West Virginia senate race. Raese’s remarks apparently didn’t play in Parkersburg, Philippi and elsewhere in the Mountain State.
I wouldn’t bet the farm that McConnell’s true confession will play in Paducah, Pikeville or anyplace else in the Bluegrass State.
McConnell says success awaits anybody who has initiative and works hard. George Babbitt called it “pep.”
In McConnell’s Babbitt world, unions and government help for people who need help – help like a boost in the minimum wage – kill jobs and destroy self-reliance.
“Americans take pride in solving problems for themselves,” McConnell once said. “And if we fail, we get back up and try again. It’s what we do. It’s who we are.”
So arise and get peppy. But it's easier work just talking about self-reliance while living it up on an inherited fortune.
Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan doesn’t care if Alison Lundergan Grimes, the labor-endorsed Democrat who wants Sen. Mitch McConnell’s job, voted for President Barack Obama or not.
“This election is about Grimes versus McConnell,” Londrigan said. “He is the arch enemy of workers, and we need to be focused on that.”
Londrigan found agreement aplenty in the mostly union crowd at Saturday’s “Stand Up and Fight Back” labor rally in Paducah.
Veteran city union leader Larry Sanderson got up the rally to boost support for five local labor-endorsed Democrats for the state legislature. He said the crowd size “was at least 2,500.” The gathering was one of the largest union rallies in western Kentucky in a long time, said Sanderson, a retired UA international representative.
The weather was cool, but Grimes showed up to a warm welcome. The crowd’s faith in labor’s senate candidate seemed unshaken by the controversy she sparked by declining to tell The Louisville Courier-Journal editorial board whom she voted for in 2008 when Obama was elected president and in 2012 when he won a second term.
Charles Dempsey, a United Auto Workers retiree from Benton, didn’t mince words. “She’s a Democrat. Who the hell did they think she voted for?”
Team Mitch’s website claims, “As the next majority leader, Senator McConnell will fight to protect Medicare for all Kentucky seniors.”
I’ll believe that when hogs fly and kids don’t shoot hoops in Kentucky anymore – nah, not even then.
I’m a 64-year-old union retiree on Social Security. I’ll go on Medicare a little over a month after the election.
On Nov. 4, I’m voting for Alison Lundergan Grimes for a number of reasons, not the least of which is her pledge to safeguard Social Security and Medicare.
McConnell’s vow that he’ll protect Medicare reminds me of the proverbial fox who promised to protect the hen house – and smiled, revealing chicken feathers stuck between his teeth.
“I will never support means-testing for Social Security,” Grimes said. “Instead, I will look for ways to spend smarter and focus on reducing waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare system, improve coordination of care between doctors, hospitals and patients and allow Medicare to better negotiate prescription drug prices.”
It looks like the fickle fellow of football and politics has gone over to Team Switch.
I mean Old Mo, Momentum.
It’s like we’re in the fourth quarter of a smash-mouth, slobber-knocking grid grudge match. Alison Lundergan Grimes has quarterbacked her underdog eleven to a slim lead over powerhouse Team Mitch.
A translation for non-football fans: Grimes is up 46-44 in the current Bluegrass Poll. In late August, the third quarter, the same poll had Team Switch down by four.
After his team blew the lead, quarterback Mitch McConnell blew his cool on the radio – more on that in a minute. Anyway, it’s easy to get testy when it seems you’re losing the big game you thought you had in the bag.
After all, Grimes was just an “empty dress,” according to a GOP bigwig in Washington. Team Mitch evidently figured her for a pushover, too.
I’d bet the farm that Sen. McConnell was sure by now he’d be in the equivalent of a blowout high school ballgame, one where the refs keep the clock going to bring a swifter end to the inevitable.
Who can forecast the final score in this nail-biter? But the football faithful know that when an underdog unexpectedly gives a powerhouse a run for its money, the latter squad sometimes gets rattled and starts fumbling and tossing interceptions.
It’s the same in politics.
The other day, McConnell journeyed to Georgia to hobnob with GOP senate hopeful David Perdue, a millionaire who said he is “proud” of making a ton of money as a big-time outsourcer.
Team Switch pounced on that fumble.
The Grimes campaign made Perdue and McConnell birds-of-a-feather. They added Mitt Romney to the flock. They pointed out that Romney was one of the first outsourcers and that he had recently come to Kentucky to help raise cash for Team Mitch.
Team Switch wants us to keep Georgia on our minds: “McConnell’s embrace of politicians who have earned millions in their business careers off of shipping jobs overseas tells Kentuckians all they need to know about his refusal to fight for them and their jobs.”
So after his rainy night in Georgia, McConnell returned home and got snarky on Kentucky Sports Radio, said to be the state’s most widely listened to radio program.
Host Matt Jones said the senator was "needlessly angry" and “unnecessarily combative.” He panned the senate majority leader wannabe as "the consummate politician."
Team Switch called a blitz. McConnell’s “combative and hostile appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio only further solidified Kentuckians' view of him as an untrustworthy Washington insider, willing to play dirty tricks in an attempt to hold onto his personal power,” said Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst.
Press secretary Charly Norton sacked the quarterback: “Moreover, his abrasive, condescending interview was a stark contrast to Alison’s in-studio appearance a couple weeks ago, in which she deftly answered every question and welcomed the opportunity to debate McConnell on the show.”
Team Switch also emailed out a red-hued “Mad Mitch” graphic that shows the senator scowling and raising his fist.
Ire, of course, is often a mask for fear. McConnell might be at least a little scared that “his personal power” is waning. So he popped his cork on the radio.
Will he do likewise on TV? McConnell is supposed to debate Grimes Monday night on Kentucky Educational Television.
Can he keep calm and carry on?
Supposedly, McConnell has never trailed in an October poll. For sure, Old Mo has never been on the other side this late in a McConnell senate campaign.
The captain of Team Mitch is used to getting his way by buffaloing political foes. “His glower has usually been enough to dissuade those who consider crossing him,” Jason Zingerle wrote in Politico.
That “glower” has failed to faze Grimes, whom an admiring Politicususa website called “all Southern steel magnolia with her gorgeous smile and her sugar coated daggers.”
Whatever else happens in the debate, I’d also bet the farm that Grimes won’t wilt or blow her stack. But can Team Mitch doctors cure their quarterback’s bad case of fumbleitis?
TMP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had an unusually confrontational interview on Wednesday with Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones, who later described him as "needlessly angry" and "the consummate politician." Read more.
“A jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build one,” legendary House Speaker Sam Rayburn famously observed.
Kentucky unions think they have a master carpenter in Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who is after Sen. Mitch McConnell’s job.
The barn McConnell wants to bash is organized labor, says the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, which endorsed Grimes last year.
Promises Grimes: “In the U.S. Senate, I will help create jobs in Kentucky by raising the minimum wage, ending tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, championing equal pay for equal work, sponsoring legislation to ensure our veterans have access to good-paying jobs, and fighting to reduce student loan debt.
“I also believe it is critically important to protect Medicare and Social Security for our seniors. We should keep our promise to Kentucky seniors who cannot afford to have their healthcare or benefits cut.”
Grimes, 35, is Kentucky’s secretary of state. She is giving hope to Kentucky Democrats who long for their blue and red “Ditch Mitch” bumper stickers to come true.
Bluegrass State union volunteers are phone banking, wearing out shoe leather canvassing neighborhoods, passing out fliers and doing all else they can to help Grimes “send Mitch McConnell back to Alabama,” his native state, as she likes to put it.
Lexington Herald-Leader Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes has regained a slim edge over Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky's U.S. Senate Race, according to a new Bluegrass Poll. Read more.
Turn around. It’s Team Mitch and the Republican Party of Kentucky.
They laugh behind organized labor’s back every time there’s an election. Why? They always expect to sucker some union members into voting Republican.
In the presidential election of 2012, for instance, about a third of union members nationwide voted for Mitt Romney, according to AFL-CIO-sponsored election night polling. (Romney, who carried Kentucky big-time, recently was in Lexington helping raise money for Sen. Mitch McConnell, the captain of Team Mitch.)
Oh, the Republican brass hats know most union members vote for labor-endorsed candidates. Usually they are Democrats. Sixty-six percent of Americans who pack union cards cast ballots for President Barack Obama in 2012, the AFL-CIO survey also found.
Hence, the Republicans are also happy when union members don’t bother to vote or even to register.
Team Mitch and at the RPK are old pros at splitting the union vote with hot button social issues like abortion and guns. The gun issue “is the one thing that will spin the blue-collar union member away from his union,” bragged the late Neal Knox, a GOP-friendly National Rifle Association board member.
Cooper, from Somerset, was a liberal Republican who voted for landmark federal civil rights laws in the 1960s. He supported Medicare and was generally friendly toward unions.
A World War II veteran, Cooper became an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War.
Barkley, whose hometown was Paducah, was senate majority leader under President Franklin D. Roosevelt before he was elected President Harry Truman’s vice president in 1948. He was a pro-union, New Deal-Fair Deal Democrat who didn’t duck the liberal label.
Both Cooper and Barkley believed that the federal government should play an active role in promoting economic, racial and social justice.
Neither Cooper nor Barkley were given to demonizing the other party. They didn’t believe that compromise necessarily meant craven surrender.
Young Addison Mitchell McConnell was a Cooper intern.
“John Sherman Cooper would be appalled at Mitch McConnell,” said Dr. Duane Bolin, a Murray State University historian and author.
Cooper wouldn’t have dreamed of bragging that his top political priority was making John F. Kennedy a one-term president. Bolin recalled seeing a photo of Cooper that mirrored the senator’s politics.
This time, Sen. McConnell is letting a fan club borrow it. The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a group linked to Karl Rove, has put out a TV ad claiming that President Obama and Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job, aim to give “amnesty” to “illegal immigrants.”
By tooting “amnesty” together with “illegal immigrants,” the KOC ad crafters knew a lot of Kentucky white folks would think Mexicans, not the 50,000 undocumented Irish and other white Europeans in the country.
Of course, the GOP’s pandering to anti-immigrant prejudice is also rooted in bare-knucks politics. Most Hispanic Americans vote Democratic. A lot of them are pro-union, too. Hence, the last thing the screw-the-unions Republicans want is a clear path to citizenship for immigrants who will likely swell Democratic and union ranks.
At the same time, most African Americans also vote for Democrats, and many are in unions. Thus, Republican nativism dovetails with the GOP’s neo-Jim Crow voter ID laws, which are calculated to diminish minority voting.
Anyway, nativism is almost as old as the republic. Only the targeted immigrants have changed. In Kentucky of the 1850s, nativists singled out Irish and German Catholics, many of whom settled in Louisville, the state’s largest city.
George D. Prentice, editor of the Louisville Daily Journal, embraced the anti-foreign and anti-Catholic Know-Nothing Party, which became popular in the Falls City and many other parts of Kentucky. He editorialized against "foreign hordes” and warned of a Catholic takeover of the country.
On Aug. 6, 1855, election day, Know-Nothing mobs rampaged through German and Irish neighborhoods in Louisville, killing at least 22 people and injuring many more. The rioters burned down houses and stores and threatened to torch Catholic churches. Prentice’s editorials were blamed for helping incite the rioters.
The Know-Nothings are long gone. But their bigotry thumps in the chests of white Kentuckians of the send-’em-all-back-to-Mexico persuasion. Accordingly, Team Mitch and its buddies have shined up the dog whistle.
Long gone, too, is the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln. The Great Emancipator won the presidency in 1860 standing on a platform with a plank that declared, “…The Republican party is opposed to any change in our naturalization laws or any state legislation by which the rights of citizens hitherto accorded to immigrants from foreign lands shall be abridged or impaired; and in favor of giving a full and efficient protection to the rights of all classes of citizens, whether native or naturalized, both at home and abroad.”
Five years before, Lincoln had roundly denounced the Know-Nothings in a powerful speech: “I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can anyone who abhors the oppression of Negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’
"We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except Negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except Negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”
“Do you repudiate Richard Fink’s remarks at the Koch retreat this summer?” a reporter asked Mitch McConnell the other day.
His chattiness was caught on tape at the now famous Father’s Day fund-raising conclave hosted by Charles and David Koch. But when the scribe aimed a mike at McConnell, mum was the word from the senate majority leader-wannabe.
McConnell had heaped high praise on the Koch sibs. He promised the billionaire Republican donors present that hogs would fly before a GOP senate under his reign would hike the minimum wage. Fink, a Koch political guru, compared any such pay boost to fascism.
“This is not just in Germany,” Laura Clawson of the Daily Kos quoted Fink. “It's in Russia, in Lenin, and Stalin Russia, and then Mao. This is the recruitment ground for fascism."
Fink’s bizzaro blather reminded me of a Kentucky senator who, in a 1962 speech at Yale, said that members of the far right-wing John Birch Society, the Tea Party of his day, “don’t know anything about history” and they “apparently have never read anything at all.”
The solon would become Addison Mitchell McConnell’s boss. He was Sen. John Sherman Cooper, a Bluegrass State mountain Republican who didn’t duck the liberal label.
So what does this have to do with Kentucky? A lot. Jesse Benton has served as Ron Paul’s campaign manager, Rand Paul’s campaign manager and Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager. Jesse Benton is also married Ron Paul’s granddaughter. Dimitri Kesari served as Ron Paul’s deputy campaign manager and has performed work for Senator Mitch McConnell’s campaign.
Many Kentucky political pundits were surprised by Senator Rand Paul’s rise in 2010. In 2010 Senator Mitch McConnell endorsed Trey Grayson in the Republican senatorial primary. Rand Paul was pretty much unknown at the time and Trey Grayson was Senator Mitch McConnell’s man. We all know what happened after that. Rand Paul won the primary and went on to defeat Jack Conway in the general election and left Senator Mitch McConnell scratching his head and impressed, all at the same time.
So how did Rand Paul defeat, Senator Mitch McConnell’s man, Trey Grayson? With a little help from his friends and daddy Paul, that’s how. Guess who showed up at the Young Americans for Liberty March 2010 spring break seminar, during the 2010 Kentucky senatorial primary. Dimitri Kesari. Now you can guess who the the Young Americans for Liberty supported after the seminar. Rand Paul that’s who.
Freedom Works An overwhelming majority of these students support Rand Paul for Kentucky’s next Senator. This should come as no surprise.
Fox News Mitch McConnell: “As the American people continue to ask, ‘where are the jobs,’ Gov. McDonnell has offered common-sense economic policies in stark contrast to Washington Democrats’ job-killing agenda. We don’t need a government takeover of health care or a ‘cap-and-trade’ national energy tax – we need a common-sense plan to help middle-class families and small businesses and allow them to keep more of what they earn so they can save, invest, and hire.”
“Gov. McDonnell understands that the American people are more interested in shrinking unemployment than expanding government. He is an impressive public servant and an excellent choice to offer Republican solutions for our country.”Read more.
Who would rather spend father’s day with Charles and David Koch rather than his children and/or family? A Senator from Kentucky that’s who. Senator Mitch McConnell to be exact.
June 15, 2014 was father’s day and Senator Mitch McConnell seemed to be content to spend the day with David and Charles Koch rather than spending time with his children or family.
The Nation What McConnell didn’t tell Politico was that two months ago, he made the same promise to a secret strategy conference of conservative millionaire and billionaire donors hosted by the Koch brothers. The Nation and The Undercurrent obtained an audio recording of McConnell’s remarks to the gathering, called “American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society.” In the question-and-answer period following his June 15 session titled “Free Speech: Defending First Amendment Rights,” McConnell says:
“So in the House and Senate, we own the budget. So what does that mean? That means that we can pass the spending bill. And I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We’re going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board [inaudible]. All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it.” Read more.
Turns out Mitch McConnell’s headquarters wasn’t bugged and Mitch McConnell hasn’t apologized to Curtis Morrison for wrongly accusing him of such. Yes Curtis Morrison taped a conversation, but he didn't bug Mitch McConnell’s headquarters and any charges against him appear to have been dropped.
Sen. Mitch McConnell knows he probably won’t get a lot of union votes on Nov. 4.
Oh, he’ll keep trying to grab as many as he can by pandering to so-called “social issues” like guns. Neal Knox, a former NRA head, once bragged that the gun issue “is the one thing that will spin the blue-collar union member away from his union." (See “The Right Wing Attack on the American Labor Movement” by Joanne Ricca, who is retired from the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.
The NRA, which is cozy with anti-union groups like the National Right to Work Committee, has endorsed McConnell. (The NRTWC is in the senator’s corner, too.)
The unions of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, many of whose members are hunters, have endorsed Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job. Meanwhile, McConnell, the supposed gun guy, has yet to accept Grimes’ challenge to meet her on a shooting range.
Anyway, everybody knows that voter turnout almost always goes down for mid-term congressional elections, compared to presidential elections. McConnell hopes a host of Kentuckians who pack union cards will be among those who won’t bother to go to the polls or who haven’t even bestirred themselves to register.
Team Mitch knows the odds: a union member who votes will likely go for Grimes. Thus, McConnell (and other like-minded anti-union candidates) nearly always benefit when union members don’t vote or don’t register to vote.
National Journal August 20, 2014 Only one week after Sen. Mitch McConnell took the CEO of Delta Air Lines to breakfast in the exclusive Senate Dining Room last month, the airline executive and his wife wrote $10,000 worth of checks to help fund McConnell's political operation. Read more.
When a Mitch McConnell public town hall meeting, in Leitchfield, KY. August 21, 2014, was advertised on the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce website as being a town hall meeting for the public I didn’t believe it. So I called the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce and they told me it was open to the public and there would be room for about 200 people.
I was happy to hear that because I wanted to attend, with my camera/camcorder, and ask some questions. I arrived there early, after driving 40 miles. I waked in the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce office and asked the lady working there if the event was open to the public and she told me it was. I asked her if I would be allowed to shoot photos and video at the event and she told me she didn’t know.
The town hall meeting was going to be held at the Centre on Main directly behind the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce. It’s actually part of the same building and some folks were already going in. I noticed a young man going in with a tripod and camcorder and within a few minutes he came back out. I asked him if he was going to shoot video of the town hall meeting and he told me Leitchfield Mayor William H. Thomason told him it was a private meeting. I noticed other people leaving and they were saying the same thing, that Leitchfield Mayor William H. Thomason had told them that this was a private meeting.
Now I’m getting confused and a little frustrated. So I walk back to the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce office, that’s now full of folks waiting for Senator Mitch McConnell, to try and find out what’s going on and they told me that it is a private event sponsored by the mayor. Really, I thought Senator Mitch McConnell was sponsoring this. In any event see the uncut and unedited video below of us tracking down Mayor William H. Thomason. The video is unedited except for a screenshot of the public invitation.
After talking with Leitchfield Mayor William H. Thomason I decided to try and capture (see the video below) Senator Mitch McConnell arriving at the public/private (snark) town hall meeting he is hosting, and Leitchfield Mayor William H. Thomason is sponsoring and all the time I’m thinking no wonder Washington, D.C. is screwed up.
Senator Mitch McConnell arriving at the public/private town hall meeting.
To be honest the day wasn’t a total waste, because there were folks outside protesting Mitch McConnell and Mitch saw them when he pulled in. Click here to view photos of the protesters
A major change occurred in Kentucky just a few years ago. For 350 years the population had been rural, the change came when city and environs populations out numbered others. Often we long for a return to simpler times, times when neighbors were neighborly and all were alike in eking a living from farming. Forgotten are the callouses, sweat and blisters. Farm folks knew animals quite well, even the smallest tyke knew the difference between a donkey and a jack. Girls knew from experience that an old jack was likely to bite or kick them. They little understood the vendetta the jack showed in singling them out. Times change but old jacks, such as the one we send to Washington,continue to bite and kick females. Just ask Ms. Ashley.
The old jack has an affinity for coal, we have his word on that. Unfortunately he does not share this affinity equally with miners and mine owners. He cozies up to the Kentucky Coal Association—a group of twenty two coal mine owner members such as Peabody Energy, Alliance, and Patriot---it is not surprising that there are no coal miners in their list of members as annual dues are as much as $12,000. This is the bunch who has foisted on Kentuckians the impression that they somehow represent miners. The results are 50,000 license plates with the motto “FRIENDS of COAL” when it should read “FRIENDS OF COAL BIG MONEY.” We have really been snookered. Miners deserve better.
The old jack has been a denier or negligent or an idiot to have sat on his rump in D.C. eating carrots fed to him by big money. Two decades of forecasts for diminished coal use, mining and burning with an attendant residual effects that are clearly harmful to children and other living things are not state secrets. A powerful jack could have used his influence to legislate retraining, education, and job opportunities for displaced miners. A diligent jack would have made an all out push to make “clean coal” clean. The exact opposite of concern for miners has been reported by Kentucky.com in pointing out the “tag team” nature seemingly existed between the old jack and his jenny. Any undesired coal action that got by the jenny could be buttonholed by the jack or simply kicked clean out of the pasture.
As chief overseer of for mine safety and health the jenny took a “relaxed” attitude in regulating coal mines according to reports per Kentucky.com. The old jack denied any interface with the jenny concerning mine oversight---what a horrible admission for an imitation champion of coal miners to make. Why did he not get out the buggy whip and get after the jenny to do the utmost to protect miners?
The old jack is now like all old jacks, crafty, sly, self aggrandizing, and often will bite and kick without purpose. He should be harnessed to a farm wagon, replete with a license plate reading”BIG COAL MONEY'S BEST FRIEND”, and confined to roam around the pasture, not needing to be “fixed” because he has done this to himself as reparation for his misdeeds to Kentuckians and especially miners. Unfortunately he will not be around to witness the misery, mayhem, and suffering that will come, the fruit of the seeds sown by a jack who once wore the chief obstructionist crown.
"Mitch McConnell's a guy who's made a cottage industry out of hatred for the president of the United States," says Kentucky State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach, a Democrat.
A lot of Kentuckians buy what the senator is selling.
Many of them are white folks who still can’t get over the fact that the country elected, then re-elected, an African American president. More than a few of these white folks live a long way from Easy Street.
McConnell is a millionaire whose politics are calculated to make the rich richer.
He despises unions. He’s for keeping tax breaks for American companies that move factories to cheap labor countries.
He loathes government programs that help anybody who needs help. He’d love to gut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and, of course, deep six the Affordable Care Act.
He hates laws that do things like protect workers’ lives and limbs on the job, shield the environment against polluters and ensure the products we consume are safe.
At the same time, McConnell is all for lavishing hefty tax breaks on rich people like himself and on big corporations while tossing tax crumbs to working stiffs like me.
McConnell wins elections largely by making political hay off multitudes of my fellow Kentuckians who are of modest means and who benefit from the very government programs he wants to wipe out.
New York Times AUSTIN, Tex. — A grand jury indicted Gov. Rick Perry on two felony counts on Friday, charging that he abused his power last year when he attempted to pressure the district attorney here, a Democrat, to step down by threatening to cut off state financing to her office. Read more.
Remember Mitch McConnell proudly posting this YouTube video of Rick Perry endorsing him?
Don’t be surprised when Team Mitch takes the video down.
Timing is everything in politics, for better or worse.
The National Rifle Association is sending a mailer into Kentucky portraying Mitch McConnell as the savior of the Second Amendment against President Barack Obama and – wait for it – Michael Bloomberg, the millionaire anti-coal guy on whose foundation board the senator’s spouse sits.
Bloomberg is also for tougher gun control laws.
Okay, it’s Bloomberg Philanthropies’ anti-coal stand that has put Chao in the news because her husband says coal is the love of his political life.
But if I were McConnell, the last thing I’d want to see in the Bluegrass State is anything with Bloomberg’s mug on it.
The buzz over the Bloomberg board giving $50 million to the Sierra Club’s anti-coal campaign seemed about to die down. Now comes a flier telling Kentuckians that Chao’s boss on the board is one half of the “OBAMA/BLOOMBERG GUN CONTROL AGENDA.” Bloomberg has pledged $50 million of his personal fortune toward candidates who will vote for stronger gun laws.
So where does the flier leave the significant other of Kentucky’s NRA-backed senior senator?
"If she [Chao] is on that board and he [McConnell] definitely is for coal, I think it's time for her to resign," Marilyn Kirtley, a Team Mitch player, told a Louisville TV reporter.
Chao says she’s not stepping down and her husband supports her.
I wonder how many McConnell partisans who got the flier would say the same thing Kirtley said but would now add “guns” to “coal.”
Naturally, the flier ignores Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job. “She’s anti-coal!” is McConnell’s manta.
The union-busting coal barons have put their big bucks behind McConnell. The United Mine Workers of America has endorsed Grimes. Interestingly, McConnell, the supposed gun guy, has yet to accept her invitation to meet on a gun range, hallowed ground to the NRA faithful.
Team Switch has steered clear of the Chao/Bloomberg board fray, though some big-name Bluegrass State Democrats have called for Chao to resign.
Anyway, you can bet the farm if Grimes’s hubby were on the Bloomberg board, McConnell would muster his trademark affected high dudgeon, call a press conference and demand that he quit.
So does that make Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell’s spouse, a closet you-know-what?
Those of us who pack union cards remember the senator’s significant other as the conservative, anti-labor secretary of labor under conservative, anti-labor President George W. Bush.
Well, now it’s all over the news that Chao is on the board of directors of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the foundation that agreed to chip in a cool $50 million to the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign. The campaign’s objective is to end the country’s reliance on “dirty coal, plant-by-plant, community-by-community, state-by-state.”
Chao protests that Bloomberg Philanthropies got involved in the anti-coal effort before she got on the board. A board flak backs her up.
So does Joe Romm of Climate Progress online. But he said Chao’s argument has three big holes. “First, yes, it’s true that Chao joined in April 2012, and, Bloomberg announced the initiative in July 2011 as we reported at the time,” Romm argued. But he added that Bloomberg made it plain in its 2013-2014 annual report that its partnership with the Sierra Club is ongoing.
Second, he suggested that most people “don’t join the boards of foundations whose central mission they oppose — they resign from them.” The Bloomberg website makes no bones about the foundation “helping to end our nation’s reliance on dirty coal.” Citing Kentucky media reports, Romm said Chao was on the board when at least half of the grant checks were cut to the Sierra Club.
Grana evidently figured she was showing solidarity with the senator who in April told Edmund Shelby, editor and general manager of The Beattyville Enterprise newspaper, that it “is not my job” to bring jobs to Lee County, of which Beattyville is the seat. The unemployment rate was 12.8 percent.
Alison Lundergan Grimes says it is everybody’s job to boost Bluegrass State employment. She’s the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job.
Grimes has pounded McConnell hard on his comment about creating jobs, calling it “reprehensible.”
Shelby had asked McConnell what he would do to bring jobs to Lee County. "That is not my job,” Shelby quoted the senator. “It is the primary responsibility of the state Commerce Cabinet."
The captain of Team Mitch swears the scribe quoted him out of context. Shelby is sticking by his story, word-for-word. “We were both speaking English,” he said.
Anyway, The Hill article sounds like Grana tried to take back what she said. She went on to praise her candidate as a “seasoned veteran, he understands the workings of the Senate and Washington in general, and knows how to get things done.”
Jaffe asked for examples. The best Grana could do was, “He’s done a lot for the state of Kentucky, but I mean I can’t just rattle you off anything that you want to know right now.”
Grana really wanted to help her candidate -- ditto for President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his guy fifty-four Augusts ago.
Richard Nixon, Ike’s vice president, was running for president against Democrat John F. Kennedy. “I just wondered if you could give us an example of a major idea of his [Nixon’s] that you had adopted” as president, Charles H. Mohr of Time magazine queried Eisenhower at a press conference on Aug. 24, 1960.
“If you give me a week, I might think of one,” Ike famously replied. “I don't remember.”
The Kennedy for president campaign made hay off Eisenhower’s damn-them-with-faint praise sounding comment.
Grana might have handed Team Switch more potential ammo on the jobs front: It’s not just the captain of Team Mitch who doesn’t get it on job creation. It’s the players, too. And when pinned down by a reporter, they – or at least Grana – are, Ike-like, short on specifics about how great their guy is.
McCracken -- Paducah is its seat -- is the most populous county in deeply conservative deep western Kentucky, heretofore McConnell country. But local Democrats say Grimes is faring well here. Polls show a close race statewide.
Congressman Brett Guthrie KY-2 and Senator Mitch McConnell wail and complain about Barack Obama’s abuse of power in public, but quietly behind the scenes they work to delegate congresses’ authority to the executive branch (Barack Obama) and give the President unlimited power (TPA) when it comes to negotiating trade deals that ship American jobs overseas. Trade deals like NAFTA and the top secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
I guess Congressman Brett Guthrie thinks his constituents are stupid. He votes to sue the President for executive overreach and then introduces legislation that includes (TPA) H.R. 3355 to give the President unlimited executive power to negotiate trade deals that ship American jobs overseas.
Senator Mitch McConnell isn’t any better he stood on stage and proclaimed to the world that his top priority was to limit the President (Barack Obama) to one term but in reality he was working quietly behind the scenes introducing legislation to give the President (Barack Obama) unlimited power (TPA) to negotiate the top secret, job killing, NAFTA on steroids, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement.
So Kentucky when you hear Congressman Brett Guthrie and Senator Mitch McConnell spewing bitter criticism against Barack Obama, you know now that it’s all an act to divert your attention from their real agenda to ship your job overseas.
Problem is Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell’s 2nd wife, doesn’t even live in Kentucky like Alison Lundergan Grimes does.
Yes it’s true Elaine Chao doesn't live in Kentucky. According to her Google Plus page and 12 political contributions, she lives in Washington, DC and her mailing address is Washington, DC. 217 C St NE, Washington, District of Columbia 20002 to be exact.
I wonder where Elaine Chao Votes? Does she vote in Kentucky or Washington D.C.?
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., keeps claiming Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants his job, is Barack Obama’s faithful ally in the president’s “war on coal.”
I wish a reporter would ask the senator a simple question: If Grimes really is a coal warrior, why has the United Mine Workers of America endorsed her?
Obviously grateful for the union nod, the Grimes campaign emailed a UMWA release announcing its support for Grimes, who the Kentucky State AFL-CIO endorsed last December.
In the release, UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said, “Ms. Grimes has been a steadfast friend of our members and their families during her tenure as Secretary of State. She has lived up to her commitments to Kentucky working families time and time again, and been a tireless advocate on their behalf.”
Added Roberts: "Ms. Grimes is not only a strong supporter of coal and the coal industry, she is the only candidate in this race who is also a supporter of coal miners. She cares about their health and safety on the job.
“She cares about what happens to them once they retire after a career of dangerous, backbreaking work. She cares about what happens to their families, and what can be done to make their communities stronger.
“Miners need a strong voice on their behalf in Washington. That is exactly what Alison Lundergan Grimes will be.”
The announcement also quoted UMWA Secretary-Treasurer Dan Kane who said McConnell, who thinks unions are a close encounter of the worst kind, recently passed up a chance to help retired miners and miners’ widows when he voted against a bill that would have provided funding to help secure the pensions and health care of more than 12,000 retirees in Kentucky. Said Kane: “Sen. McConnell had a golden opportunity to support retired miners and their dependents in Kentucky, but instead chose to vote against them. Ms. Grimes has made it clear that she supports helping these retirees. We need her voice and her leadership in the Senate."
You’ve got to wonder how many Kentucky Republicans are like Barbara Knott. She just quit the Daviess County GOP executive committee because she’s not for Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Knott heads the Tea Party in Owensboro, seat of Daviess County in conservative western Kentucky, heretofore mostly McConnell country.
Knott, who says she’s sticking by other Republicans, backed Matt Bevin, the senate minority leader’s tea party-leaning challenger, in the May 20 GOP primary. McConnell clobbered Bevin.
On May 21, a lot of Bevin-for-Senate yard signs went into trash cans, but not the big one in Knott’s yard. Her 4-by-8-foot “Retire Mitch” sign is still up. She vows it won’t come down until after election day, Nov. 4, according to Phillip Bailey, news editor at WFPL radio in Louisville.
McConnell and Bevin pledge allegiance to President Ronald Reagan. But they nuked the Gipper’s famous 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any Republican.”
Team Mitch bashed Bevin as an “east coast con man” and all but called him a crook. Bevin slammed McConnell as “Mudslinging Mitch” and even put his daughter up to labeling McConnell a liar in a TV commercial.
Naturally, McConnell called for party unity after he won. Bevin didn’t desert to Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job. But Bevin’s not on the Team Mitch cheerleading squad either.
Some tea party stalwarts have migrated to Mitch. Yet we won’t know if Knott represents the exception or the rule until after the votes are counted on election night.
Evidence suggests she might not be a lone mutineer. "Probably more than half of the executive committee feels like Barbara Knott does,” Bailey quoted Chris Holt, Daviess County GOP chair. “It’s about 50-50, so my job as chair is to try to bring both together. I'm not sure if Daviess County will go for McConnell or not." McConnell carried Daviess County in 2008.
Patterson is no threat to Grimes. It’s impossible to believe anybody inclined to vote for the captain of Team Switch would rally to Patterson.
On the other hand, Patterson seems bound to peel off some Republicans of the Barbara Knott persuasion.
But McConnell’s larger worry has to be turnout. Who knows how many Bevinites just won’t vote in the senate race?
Either way, it’s advantage Grimes. A vote for Patterson is almost certainly a vote that would have gone to McConnell. Likewise, almost all tea party-types who opt to steer clear of the polls on election day would have otherwise cast ballots for a Republican senate candidate.
Everybody says the vote will be close. But it wouldn’t take many Bevin loyalists to jump ship for Patterson, or to go fishing on election day, to swing the race to Grimes.
All along, Team Mitch bragged that their guy would zoom ahead in the polls after the primary because the GOP would close ranks behind McConnell.
Yet Grimes has a slight lead in almost every poll. She is also raising more money than McConnell and is smashing fund-raising records, to boot.
At the 2013 picnic, Grimes got off the most memorable line of the campaign so far: “If the doctors told Sen. McConnell that he had a kidney stone, he’d refuse to pass it.”McConnell forced a pained smile that made him look like he might have a kidney stone.
Team Mitch probably figured they’d have the election sewn up by Fancy Farm 2014. The game plan had McConnell smoking Bevin in the primary, pulling the party together afterwards, pulling way ahead of Grimes in the post-primary polls, burying her under an avalanche of cash and all but flying on automatic pilot to a happy landing on election day.
Now on Fancy Farm eve, it looks like Team Mitch is sweating, and not just from the heat of another scorcher of a Kentucky summer.
Back in Washington, the buzzards seem to stirring from their roost, if not quite circling. GOP bigwigs blabbed to Politico about who might succeed McConnell as the top senate Republican. Naturally, the Grimes campaign fired off the Politico story in an email. The headline asks, “What if Mitch McConnell loses?”
The speculation must have Team Mitch turning up the AC to max cool and buying antiperspirant in bulk.
Elizabeth Warren: "One way I'm going to start fighting back is I'm going to go down to Kentucky and I'm going to campaign for Alison Lundergan Grimes," Warren said. "She's tough, she's feisty, she endorsed the student loan bill, said she wanted to bring down interest rates for Kentuckians. ... So my view is I'm going to get out there and try to make this happen for her."
Alison Lundergan Grimes: “Senator McConnell’s blatant disregard for the hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians crushed by student loan debt is deeply disconcerting. This vote against our middle-class families underscores the fact that my opponent has been in Washington for far too long and just does not get it. I call on the Senate to pass both the legislation to ease student loan burden as well as the bipartisan bill to address problems within the Department of Veterans Affairs. Kentucky students and veterans deserve a champion who will fight for them in the U.S. Senate – not stand idly by and ignore the needs of real people.”
I challenge anyone to find where Senator McConnell will be appearing publicly next in Kentucky. Senator McConnell also avoids the press and bloggers while making himself available to the Chamber of Commerce and folks like Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran.
Senator Mitch McConnell has also proposed a debate without an audience. I guess he doesn’t want to endure being that close to common folks for an hour or two. Yes, Senator Mitch McConnell and Eric Cantor are very much alike when it comes to arrogance and ignoring their constituents. Eric Cantor paid the price. Will Mitch?
Alison Lundergan Grimes won the Democratic Senate Primary with 77% of the Democratic vote and that means 23% of democratic voters voted for another Democratic candidate.
Alison Lundergan Grimes has a real chance to defeat Mitch McConnell in the general election but, assuming Mitch McConnell doesn’t become embroiled in a scandal, she’ll need every vote she can get to beat him and Progressive Independent senatorial candidate Ed Marksberry might take away enough votes to keep her from winning.
Seems to me Progressive Independent senatorial candidate Ed Marksberry is in the drivers seat when it comes to Alison Lundergan Grimes having a chance to beat Mitch McConnell.
“What, me worry?” the grinning, snaggle-toothed Alfred E. Neuman, Mad magazine’s cover kid, has been famously asking for umpteen years.
Sen. Mitch McConnell’s new campaign ad suggests he’s no longer vexed by Matt Bevin, his tea party-tilting challenger in the May 20 GOP primary. McConnell apparently figures Bevin is toast.
If I were the captain of Team Mitch, I’d be at least a tad concerned about what Bevin and the Bevinites might do if the vote goes against them -- more on that in a minute.
McConnell’s ad ignores Bevin. It is aimed at Alison Lundergan Grimes, his all but certain Democratic foe. The captain of Team Switch has no serious opposition in the Democratic senatorial primary. McConnell has known that all along.
How did $20,000 in donations that people thought was going to the “Tea Party Movement” end up in the hands of establishment Republicans Mitch McConnell & John Cornyn?
The transactions don’t show up on the TeaParty.net Leadership Fund list of candidate expenses. It’s all a matter of public record but it’s been hidden by diverting it through a JFC or Joint Fundraising Committee. Read more.
DATE: May 2, 2014 TO: Mitch McConnell FR: Kentucky
Just wanted to send a quick reminder that the Kentucky Derby is this weekend, Senator. You know – in Louisville, only 542 miles away from Duke. Anyway, it would be great if you could attend. I think it should be safe – no reporters will ask you questions, you don't have to pretend to have a jobs plan and you can root to your heart's content for the colts while demanding that any fillies at the racetrack be paid less.
If you need directions back from your home in Washington to Kentucky (I know how you are Mr. DC!) I have posted a handy link to Google maps below. So please put coming to the Derby on your to do list. We’re thinking you’ve forgotten about us back here in the Bluegrass. Also please add to that list coming up with a jobs plan, stopping taking contributions from companies that discriminate against women and learning the facts about increasing the minimum wage.
There was a time when I thought Republicans and Democrats were different. I thought Republicans represented big business and Democrats represented the little guy/gal. I was naive then and when I realized that both Republicans and Democrats were wholly owned by $$$ and the $$$ got their asses kissed and the little guy/gal got their asses kicked I was disappointed and enlightened all at the same time.
So here we go again in 2014 with Alison Lundergan Grimes, Democratic senatorial candidate, and Mitch McConnell, Republican senatorial candidate, speaking from the same $$$ Keystone Pipeline play book. Am I surprised? Not really. Kissing ass for $$$ is nothing new for Kentucky politicians Democrat or Republican.
When I saw the ad I couldn’t figure out why Senator Mitch McConnell would post a video like that. It seemed so out of place until I saw a Kentucky Opportunity Coalition ad called "Deserve." When you watch the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition ad called "Deserve" you will notice it includes some of the B-Roll In Senator Mitch McConnell’s “Working for Kentuckians” ad.
We all know Senator Mitch McConnell’s campaign can’t supply a super PAC with video B-Roll to make a Mitch McConnell friendly ad, it’s against the law, but it would be OK to download B-Roll from Senator Mitch McConnell’s Youtube Channel. So we’re back to asking why did Senator Mitch McConnell upload a Youtube B-Roll political ad? Could it be Senator Mitch McConnell was coordinating with a friendly super PAC?
The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition’s treasurer is Caleb Crosby. Does that name ring a bell? It Should because Caleb Crosby is also the treasurer of Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, Crossroads GPS and Kentuckians for Strong Leadership.
I’ve always believed that Senator Mitch McConnell and his campaign is working hand in hand with friendly super PAC’s as I have documented here and here and Senator Mitch McConnell’s B-Roll web ad only strengthens that belief.
Senator Mitch McConnell loves to slip around Kentucky and meet with folks friendly to his campaign. However when he gets wind that someone might attend one of these gatherings and ask a tough question he uses his power to enlist law enforcement to stop that sort of stuff.
Courier Journal U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s campaign on Monday barred Joe Sonka, the news editor for LEO Weekly magazine, from attending a press conference following a round-table discussion with veterans. The campaign called on the Louisville Metro Police to make sure that Sonka, who has been critical of McConnell in the past, from entering the conference room at the Hilton Garden Inn, on Crittenden Drive, where the event was held. Read more.
Just about everybody says Mitch McConnell laid an egg at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Worse for Kentucky’s senior senator, he might have handed the opposition a golden Mike-Dukakis-in-the-tank moment.
The campaign of Alison Lundergan Grimes, McConnell’s almost certain Democratic foe in the fall (provided he beats tea party-tilting Matt Bevin in the May GOP primary), is already pouncing on McConnell’s misfortune. “Biggest Gaffe of the Year” says a fresh press release from Team Switch.
McConnell made his grand entrance at CPAC packing heat. He beamed and brandished what looked like a pioneer-style Kentucky Long Rifle. The smoke pole was a replica – an award from a grateful National Rifle Association to Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who is retiring for health reasons.
Charlton Heston’s famous gun-hugging brought down the house at NRA conventions. McConnell’s reprise bombed at CPAC.
The only decent applause he got was when he passed the rifle to Coburn. After that, McConnell delivered a brief bloviation full of his usual anti-Democratic sound and fury. But it signified nothing based on the crowd’s not so gung-ho response.
Sen. Mitch McConnell knew about the gross NSA infringements upon the civil rights of American citizens, as an ex officio member of the Senate Intelligence Committee since 2007. But as McConnell cowardly remained silent about those abuses, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed to us their construction, extent and context. McConnell's reaction was a swift condemnation of Snowden, saying "I hope that he is prosecuted to the full extent of the law."(CBS) Because, you know, surveillance of the American people is necessary and not wrong, except...
By JEFF WIGGINS: President, Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council.
You still want us to believe that you are responsible for the cancer screenings and compensation program for workers at the U.S. Enrichment Corp.’s Paducah gaseous diffusion plant and other nuclear facilities.
But we know that the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., was the lead sponsor of the Energy Employees Occupational Compensation Program Act of 2000, which benefits nuclear workers who have suffered from cancer and other serious illnesses related to radiation exposure.
We know that the legislation passed the House and Senate with strong bipartisan support and that President Bill Clinton and Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, both Democrats, backed the bill.
Sen. McConnell, you took office in 1985. But mum was the word from you about health hazards at the plant until The Washington Post published stories exposing the dangers in 1999. That led to more investigative reporting by the Louisville Courier-Journal.