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Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 08:00 AM PDT

Mitch McConnell's Mum Moment

by Rural Progressive

Cross Posted at Hillbilly Report.

By Berry Craig

“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.

McConnell was one of Cooper’s interns.

Fink’s boss, Charles Koch was a Bircher, like his daddy, according to The Progressive magazine’s Lisa Graves. Fred Birch’s kid lent his name and his dough to Birch Society doings in in Wichita, Kans., and helped “its ‘American Opinion’ bookstore -- which was stocked with attacks on the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, and Earl Warren as elements of the communist conspiracy. He funded the John Birch Society's promotional campaigns, bought advertising in its magazine, and supported its distribution of right-wing radio shows.”

Added Graves: “The echoes of his past role reverberate along with the millions he and his brother David Koch have spent fueling a John Birch Society-like ‘Tea Party’ peopled with right-wingers like Birchers of decades past who contend against all reasoning that the president is a communist. David Koch himself has claimed President Obama is a scary ‘socialist.’ These roots run deep in the Kochs.”

The Birchers also claimed Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a “tool of the Communists” and that fluoridated drinking water was part of the commie plot to take over the country.

Bircher baloney was too much even for William F. Buckley, Jr. editor of the National Review. The Yale grad entreated the GOP to distance itself from the wackos.

In his Yale address, Cooper opined that the Birch Society appealed to some ultra-conservatives because it offered them, “some kind of escape, however irrational,” the Associated Press reported.

The Birchers are still around. But they’ve been eclipsed by the Tea Party and like-mined white folks of the Obama’s-a-Kenyan-born-Islamo-Socialist-who-is-sneaking-100-million Muslims-into-America-to-help-him-take-over-the-country persuasion.

Cooper wanted no part of the Birchers and their conspiratorial claptrap. When I was a kid, neither did most country club Republicans in my western Kentucky hometown. They made fun of the Birchers.

Anyway, when an Eli quizzed Cooper about a “silent partnership” between the Birch Society and the GOP, the senator said he knew of only one Republican member of Congress who was a Bircher, according to the AP.

The current Congress has a boisterous Tea Party Caucus.

Cooper said the kind of conservatism represented by Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., “does not meet the needs and issues of the day.” A headline writer at The Daily Beast, called Goldwater “the true father of the Tea Party.”

Cooper said he and Goldwater disagreed over a number of issues, the AP also reported.  “Cooper said Goldwater, for example, had announced himself as being for the U.S. constitution ‘as written,’ and not as interpreted by the Supreme Court in recent years.” The Kentuckian apparently was referring to Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 high court ruling that outlawed segregated schools. (The Birchers detested Chief Justice Warren, a Republican, and started an “Impeach Earl Warren” petition drive.)

Cooper conceded that Goldwater’s ultra-conservatism might play well with Southern whites. But he declared, “this has not and should not be the position of the Republican Party.” Cooper said federal civil rights programs “are an aspect of freedom” and without them the constitutional guarantees of equality become almost meaningless for blacks, according to the AP.

Two years after Cooper’s speech, Goldwater ran for president in opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and in favor of “states’ rights,” the old Southern code word for slavery and for Jim Crow laws that kept blacks separate and unequal from whites and prevented African Americans from voting.

Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson drubbed Goldwater. Nonetheless, Goldwater carried Arizona and cracked the white supremacist Democratic Solid South by pocketing a quintet of ex-Confederate states.

In the 1960s, a number of moderate and liberal northern and western Republicans joined LBJ, a Texan, and Democrats mostly from the north, west and border states in championing the Civil Rights Act and other landmark civil rights legislation aimed at ending Jim Crow race discrimination.

Afterwards, the old party of Lincoln and Liberty veered sharply rightward and adopted the “Southern Strategy,” a calculated effort to woo white Southern Democrats who hated to see Jim Crow go.

The Democratic Solid South crumbled to dust. The white South turned Republican Red.

Anyway, Fink’s fulmination was, of course, preposterous at face value. Raising the U.S. minimum wage has nothing to with fascism and communism, which are opposing foreign ideologies.

Benito Mussolini became the Fascist dictator of Italy in the 1920s. Mussolini’s pal Adolf Hitler became the Nazi dictator of Germany in the 1930s. They hated communists.

Lenin, Stalin and Mao were communists who hated fascism, though one could make a good case that Russia’s current strongman ruler, Vladimir Putin, exhibits fascist, if not czarist, tendencies.

McConnell knows Frank’s comments were idiotic. But he zipped his lip because he is keenly aware that the same asinine sentiments thump in Tea Party hearts and are scrawled on their loopy signs. He desperately wants the Tea Party to play on Team Mitch.

On the other hand, Cooper stood up to the Birchers, the practitioners of what historian Richard Hofstadter in 1964 called “the paranoid style in American politics.” The Goldwater movement was his Exhibit A. The Tea Party would make a great Exhibit B.

Wrote Hofstadter: “I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind….The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms….The paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician.”

He added:  “Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated—if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention….The enemy is clearly delineated: he is a perfect model of malice, a kind of amoral superman—sinister, ubiquitous, powerful, cruel, sensual, luxury-loving.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid challenged McConnell to repudiate what Fink said. “But when The Undercurrent's Lauren Windsor asked McConnell about it directly, he had no response beyond a slight head shake,” Clawson wrote.

She concluded, “So I guess we can put Mitch McConnell down as tacitly onboard with the view that raising the minimum wage is like Hitler. Which is a pretty radical view considering that in poll after poll, strong majorities of Americans support a higher minimum wage.”

Polls show even most people in Red State Kentucky want the minimum wage raised. Even so, the “radical view” of Richard Fink seems a mainstream view in the Tea Party-tilting GOP of John Sherman Cooper’s former intern.  


Cross posted at Hillbilly Report.

Remember when Mitch McConnell accused folks of bugging his headquarters and asked for an FBI investigation?

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.

Now his campaign manager, Jesse Benton, has resigned as a result of a $73,000 bribe during Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign.

So why hasn’t Mitch McConnell asked the FBI to investigate Jesse Benton and make his life a living Hell like he did with Curtis Morrison?


Cross posted at Hillbilly Report.

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.

 photo IMG4503091_zpsf6819fd6.jpg

Video of the protesters.


Cross posted at Hillbilly Report by Berry Craig.

"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.

You’d think it would be mission impossible to get people to vote against their own interests. But with McConnell it has often been mission accomplished.

The senator is a master at dog whistle politics. He is also the pied piper of pandering to what one of my union buddies calls “the four Gs – God, guns, gays and government.”

The other day, he blew his whistle on a campaign stop in deeply conservative deep western Kentucky, where I was born, reared and still live. McConnell is ever linking Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants his job, to President Obama, who collected only about 38 percent of the vote. (My wife, son and I are among the 38 percenters.)

McConnell declared “our liberal president” is leading “a jihad” against coal, according to The Guardian’s Susan Goldenberg.

No doubt, McConnell knew his listeners would get the jihad jab. He was in a county that is more than 98 percent white. Many, if not most, of the locals go to Protestant fundamentalist churches.  

Joseph Gerth, a Louisville Courier-Journal columnist, read Goldenberg’s story and called McConnell’s hand:


“The Arabic word for holy war, used in connection with a president who a sizable percentage of Americans incorrectly believe is Muslim, and about whom critics gleefully use his full name — Barack Hussein Obama — to underscore that incorrect impression.”

McConnell works overtime to create incorrect impressions of the president and of Grimes who has, by the way, distanced herself from Obama’s policies on coal.

“The most likely way McConnell will try to bring Grimes down is by associating her with Obama, and already he has attacked her on Obamacare and the president’s ‘war on coal,’” Jason Zingerle predicted in Politico months ago.

McConnell has always been good at gulling not-so-well-heeled Kentuckians. They remind me of What’s the Matter with Kansas?, Thomas Frank’s book. “Old-fashioned values may count when conservatives appear on the stump, but once conservatives are in office the only old-fashioned situation they care to revive is an economic regimen of low wages and lax regulations,” he warned.

Published 10 years ago, the book is as relevant as ever.

Frank wrote that plutocratic politicians like McConnell “have smashed the welfare state, reduced the tax burden on corporations and the wealthy, and generally facilitated the country’s return to a nineteenth-century pattern of wealth distribution.”

Publicly pious pols like McConnell “may talk Christ, but they walk corporate,” according to Frank. “Values may ‘matter most’ to voters, but they always take a backseat to the needs of money once the elections are won.

“The trick never ages; the illusion never wears off. Vote to stop abortion; receive a rollback in capital gains taxes. Vote to make our country strong again; receive deindustrialization. Vote to screw those politically correct college professors; receive electricity deregulation. Vote to get government off our backs; receive conglomeration and monopoly everywhere from media to meatpacking.

“Vote to stand tall against terrorists; receive Social Security privatization. Vote to strike a blow against elitism; receive a social order in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before in our lifetimes, in which workers have been stripped of power and CEOs are rewarded in a manner beyond imagining.”

In any event, McConnell is counting on Kentuckians not to take Grimes up on her challenge to look past McConnell’s rhetoric, to take a gander at his record and to vote on what he practices, not preaches.

The social issues con job and veiled appeals to racial and religious bigotry are all McConnell has got when it comes to wooing working class white voters. Of course, the senator just wants their ballots, not the pleasure of their company at his house for dinner or for 18 holes and Scotch and sodas at the country club.

His shined up dog whistle and his well-oiled pander machine have kept him in Washington for going on 30 years.  

“Linking a Kentucky Democrat to national Democrats is always a smart play in Kentucky, but linking one to Obama—who lost the state by nearly 23 points to GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 2012—is particularly potent,” Zingerle added.

The scribe also quoted a Kentucky Republican strategist: “We are still a racist state, I hate to admit it. Anything you can connect to Barack Obama is a winning thing for us.”

That perhaps too candid comment reminded of me Lyndon B. Johnson’s famous observation in 1960, when he won the vice presidency: “If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."

McConnell is an expert at hustling white folks of the kind Jesus called “the least among us.”

McConnell also wants everybody to know that he walks with the Lord and the National Rifle Association, but not with gay folks and government folks -- except for Republicans in Congress and folks in the military (who aren’t gay).


Cross posted at Hillbilly Report.

Elaine Chao lectures Alison Lundergan Grimes about Kentucky in her Husband Senator Mitch McConnell’s political ad. In the ad Elaine Chao has this to say to Alison Lundergan Grimes: "Alison, supporting the Obama agenda isn’t pro woman, it’s anti Kentucky.”

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.?


Cross posted at Hillbilly Report.

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.

 photo MMS500_zps90c74ea3.jpg

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.

In any event, few tea partiers will likely go for Grimes. But more some might hop on the David Patterson bandwagon. Patterson is the almost unknown Libertarian third-party candidate.

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.

Meanwhile, Grimes and McConnell will be the headliners on Aug. 2 at Kentucky’s annual Fancy Farm political picnic, said to be the largest such conclave of its kind in the country. The national media flocked to last year’s picnic. Doubtless, even more big-time scribes and TV talking heads will be back again.

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.


Cross posted at Hillbilly Report.

Kentucky’s 2nd Congressional District has a real Democrat, Ron Leach, running against Republican Congressman Brett Guthrie and Ron needs your help.

Click here to visit his website.

Click here to visit his Facebook page.

KY-2 Democratic Congressional Candidate Ron Leach speaking to Boilermakers Local 40.


Cross posted at Hillbilly Report.
Alison Lundergan Grimes won the Kentucky Democratic Senate Primary with77% 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.

Ed Marksberry is pretty well known in Kentucky Democratic circles. He’s worked to elect many Democratic candidates and ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2010. During his 2010 congressional race he was snubbed by the Kentucky Democratic Party and the Kentucky Democratic Party’s 2010 U.S. Senatorial candidate Jack Conway, but Ed Marksberry remained faithful to the Kentucky Democratic Party until Kentucky Democratic Party fired out a pro Alison Lundergan Grimes email asking for contributions, while ignoring the other Democratic US. Senatorial candidates in including him.

The Email:

“Did you see the news?
Alison Lundergan Grimes has officially declared her intention to run against Senator Mitch McConnell.
This is big news. The next 48 hours are critical. Click here and help us build a grassroots team that will make sure Alison wins.
Alison is the strongest candidate we could’ve had against Senator McConnell, and she will defeat Mitch.
But defeating Mitch won’t be easy. He is going to do everything he can, say what ever he can and throw more mud than our Commonwealth has ever seen in order to win.
Help us start strong. Click here to make a contribution today.”
The email resulted with Ed Marksberry filing a lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court against state Democratic Party chairman Daniel Logsdon.
Lexington Herald-Leader
FRANKFORT — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Ed Marksberry thinks his party is not playing fairly with his campaign.

Marksberry, an Owensboro contractor who lost a bid for Congress in 2010, filed a lawsuit Monday in Franklin Circuit Court against state Democratic Party chairman Daniel Logsdon, alleging the party is favoring the candidacy of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

"I love the Democratic Party, but if it keeps on doing what it has been doing, it looks like they're ignoring the working class in the party over the rich," Marksberry said Monday during a telephone interview.

Logsdon did not respond to an email and phone call seeking comment. Read more.

Ed Marksberry eventually dropped the lawsuit, dropped out of the Democratic U.S. senate primary race and filed to run as an Independent.

I just got off of the phone with Ed and he tells me he’s well on his way getting the 5000 signatures required to have his name on the U.S. Senate ballot.

It’s a shame it’s come to this, but there’s a price to pay when lifelong Democrats get treated like $hit by the Kentucky Democratic Party and the way it looks now Ed Marksberry is going to make Kentucky Democratic Party pay the ultimate price!

If Alison Lundergan Grimes and the Kentucky Democratic Party really believe they’ll need every vote to beat Senator Mitch McConnell this November, I suggest they reach out to Ed Marksberry and show him the respect he deserves and he might help them win.

Remember the 23% of Democratic primary voters that voted against Alison Lundergan Grimes? I wonder how may of them will vote for Ed Marksberry in the general election?

Reckon Kentucky Democratic Party Chair, Daniel Logsdon, will donate to Mitch McConnell during this election cycle?

Bluegrass Politics
FRANKFORT — The newly appointed chairman and executive director of the Kentucky Democratic Party has contributed to campaigns of prominent Republicans in recent years, including U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and former Gov. Ernie Fletcher. Read more.

Stay tuned.

Cross posted at Hillbilly Report

By Berry Craig

Joseph Gerth of the Louisville Courier Journal:
“Matt Bevin relies on his young daughter, Olivia, to call U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell a liar in his latest television ad, which stars Bevin and his whole clan.”

Bevin is the tea party hero challenging McConnell in next month’s Kentucky Republican primary.

The ad opens with Olivia, one of Bevin’s nine bairns, piping: "Mitch McConnell is telling a bunch of lies about my dad. Don't be fooled.”

The ad must have really riled Team Mitch. One of the players couldn’t resist taking a swipe at the Bevin bunch with a tweet: “I was waiting for ‘My dad went to MIT!'”

Anyway, Gerth pointed out that the tweet was a reference to McConnell's charge that Bevin prevaricated on a LinkedIn page, where “he claimed his education to be from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”

Did Bevin really go to MIT? No, but he stayed at a Holiday Inn last night.

Bevin, according to Gerth, didn’t earn an MIT sheepskin.  He “took part in a program there that isn’t formally recognized by the school.”

Meanwhile, Team Mitch deleted the tweet, Gerth wrote.

So what about the ad?

Was the puppies-and-rainbows looking commercial really a cynical ploy by Bevin? Did he trot out his daughter to call McConnell a liar figuring he couldn’t lose?

Did he calculate that the ad would either go unchallenged because Team Mitch knows it looks bad to knock a little girl or that that the ad would provoke a spiteful response from the enemy camp – like the ill-advised tweet?

The commercial would have been a winner either way for Bevin.

After the tweet, Bevin spokesperson Sarah Durand sent out a statement accusing McConnell of lying anew about Bevin and MIT.

She wasn’t surprised that “that the McConnell campaign, which strives to sink to new lows everyday, is launching more false attacks,” Gerth quoted her.

The scribe also quoted McConnell spokesperson Allison Moore’s parry to Durand’s thrust: "There's no question that Matt Bevin has a beautiful family, but it's unfortunate that he feels the need to bring them into the campaign to launch political attacks.”

In another case of politics and strange bedfellows, Charly Norton, a spokesperson for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, the all but certain Democratic senatorial nominee, backed the family Bevin: “Just last year, Mitch McConnell declared that political shots on opponents' family members should be off-limits, and I hope someone reminds the Senator of that. His campaign’s tasteless attack on Mr. Bevin’s daughters is out of bounds. Innocent children should never be mocked just to benefit the campaign of a 30-year Washington insider.

In the commercial, after Olivia does her McConnell pants-on-fire bit, other young Bevinses, chime in. They pour on the praise for pop.

Out of the mouths of the Bevin babes come: “My dad was an officer in the army. My dad loves God…He plays with us and he prays with us. He loves our mom.”

That’s USDA Prime red meat in the Bible Belt, Red State Bluegrass State. All Republicans and most Democrats routinely serve it in hefty helpings.  

In any event, the Bevin ad has me thinking about May 22, 2010. Tea party darling Rand Paul had just clobbered Kentucky secretary of state Trey Grayson in the Republican senate primary. (He went on to beat attorney general Jack Conway, the Democrat, in November.)

Grayson wasn’t just the GOP’s boy wonder. He was McConnell’s acolyte. McConnell made no bones about Grayson being his candidate.

Yet four years ago come this May 22, McConnell made a post-primary pilgrimage to Paul for a big Republican group hug. Rand was his man now, all the way, Mitch swore at the “unity rally.”

Paul obliged McConnell’s pledge of allegiance by endorsing Kentucky’s senior senator for reelection.

With the primary just a few weeks away, the polls still show McConnell leading Bevin by a wide margin.

If McConnell wins, will Bevin grin and bear it and join Team Mitch? Will there at least be a shotgun wedding in the name of GOP unity? Or will there still be bad blood between Sid Hatfield Bevin and Devil Anse McCoy McConnell?

Quick, cue the soap opera organ music: Tune in next week, same time, same station.


Cross posted at Hillbilly Report.

Team Mitch made the following Facebook post: “This Election in Kentucky is really about who leads the U.S. Senate in 2015!

COMMENT with 'GOP' if you want a Republican to replace Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader.”

Click here to see the Facebook post and the comments Senator Mitch McConnell didn’t expect.


By Berry Craig.

What do a warmed over biscuit and Howdy Doody have in common?

Sen. Mitch McConnell is getting compared to both of them.

He’s like the pastry, says Alison Lundergan Grimes, who wants McConnell’s job. He looks like the puppet, claims Bluegrass State Hillbilly Report blogger Jim Pence.

Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state, is McConnell’s all-but-certain Democratic foe for the November election.

"I think what people…are seeing is that Mitch McConnell, kind of like heating a biscuit twice, never tastes good the second time, no matter how much jam or jelly you put on it," she told The Washington Post.

To get to Grimes, McConnell has got to beat tea party-tilting Matt Bevin in the May 20 GOP primary.

Anyway, Grimes confessed she got the biscuit bit from her grandmother.

Meanwhile, on his Hillbilly Report blog, Jim Pence is showing video of McConnell accompanied by a recording of Buffalo Bob Smith and the Peanut Gallery crooning “It’s Howdy Doody Time.”

Okay, young folks, Bob and Howdy co-starred on the “Howdy Doody” TV show of yore. The Peanut Gallery was a bunch of kids on the set.

Anyway, some of McConnell’s Democratic detractors have long claimed, waggishly, that he’s a dead ringer for Howdy Doody. (Splenetic right-wing bloggers, and others of the tea party persuasion who scorn McConnell as a less-than-true-believer, insist that the senator is the spitting image of a turtle.)

Pence also put out a You Tube video that shows the captain of Team Mitch morphing into Howdy, again to the dulcet tones of Bob and the piping pre-teen chorus.

The captain of Team Switch is getting good at old-time Bluegrass State stump wit. Maybe Grimes is not as accomplished as Sen. Henry Clay, Vice President Alben Barkley or Gov. A.O. Stanley. The latter, according to the late Kentucky historian Thomas D. Clark “could almost make himself heard across the narrow waist of Kentucky” provided he was “sufficiently fired up with Old Crow.”

Even so, it wouldn’t take much to beat McConnell on the stump. His speeches are generally as wooden as Howdy Doody and blander than green beans cooked without bacon grease.

Besides, the senator hasn’t come close to topping Grimes’ zinger, which has become the signature line of her campaign: “If the doctors told Sen. McConnell he had a kidney stone, he would refuse to pass it.”

In Kentucky and beyond, the faithful love Grimes’ spunk. “She’s all Southern steel magnolia with her gorgeous smile and her sugar coated daggers,” says an admiring PoliticusUSA website.

McConnell’s a flintlock rifle fan, for a political prop, not for shooting. He brandished such a smoke pole at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

According to The Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman, the senator apparently aimed “to evoke the joy of a hunter celebrating the one-shot takedown of a 10-point buck. But with his wan smile, diffident manner and blue patterned suit, he looked more like Elmer Fudd on the way to a meeting with his accountant.”

Grimes also nailed McConnell on that misfire. She tweeted that somebody should tell the senator “that's not the way to hold a gun” and that “KY women do it better.”

Grimes’ money is where her mouth is. She challenged McConnell to a shooting match. So far, the senator hasn’t picked up the gauntlet.

 I’ve seen McConnell’s “wan smile” in person. It was on his mug when Grimes got him with the kidney stone quip at Kentucky’s famous Fancy Farm political picnic. It was the first time they crossed paths on the campaign trail.

I can’t wait to see the captain of Team Switch meet the captain of Team Mitch on a debate stage. But I’d bet the farm that McConnell is none too eager to verbally spar with Kentucky’s “Southern steel magnolia,” who, by the way, once taught kickboxing, according to The New York Times.


Cross posted at Hillbilly Report.

Remember March 11, 2014 when Senator Mitch McConnell posted a political web ad called “Working for Kentuckians” consisting of B-Roll and strange music?

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 friendly 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.

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