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Even the right-wing Washington Times can't hide the fact that Senate Minority Leader and Bush lackey Mitch McConnell is in serious electoral trouble.

Sen. Mitch McConnell's close backing of President Bush on immigration and the Iraq war is costing him support among Kentucky Republicans, and, according to some party members, hurting his chances for re-election next year.

He even could face a primary challenge from former Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Forgy, who contends that Mr. McConnell's in-state problems are compounded by job losses to producers beyond America's borders.

“The average Kentuckian feels we are giving away this country with both hands — jobs are going, essentially the primacy of the people who made this country great is going, and Mitch McConnell is lumped with the Washington types on this,” Mr. Forgy said.

“And the war in Iraq is less troublesome in Kentucky than in many other places, but it is not popular here, and Republican voters see Mitch's views as too close to the president's on the war,” said Mr. Forgy, a Lexington lawyer.

Now conservatives will always bitch about their Senate leaders (as will, to be honest, people on our side). The legislative process, and the Senate in particular, requires certain compromises that are anathema to the bases. And in this case, McConnell's efforts on behalf of Bush's immigration reform bill have earned him a great deal of hate, regardless of his late flip-flopping on the matter.

But while the Washington Times focuses on the immigration matter, I suspect that at the end of the day, McConnell will take more damage from the Iraq War and his faithful support of every single one of Bush's wrongheaded decisions on that war.

Ditch Mitch gleefully piles on.

[Forgy is] adopting a very Pat Buchanan-esque populist Republican message. I think he’s taking the possibility of a run against McConnell very seriously. What does he have to lose? The McConnell branch of the Kentucky GOP already hates him, and the Fletcher and Nunn branches of the party would rally around him (thus Forgy would have a ready and energized base). He’d humiliate McConnell in the process by at least taking 30 percent of the votes (hell, you’d better believe I’d switch my registration to Republican to vote against McConnell in a primary), and in a perfect storm the little bugger might actually win that primary.

McConnell’s unspectacular performance under the national spotlight shone on him in his capacity as Senate Minority Leader has only brought Washington elites to question whether McConnell’s deficiencies aren’t also largely to blame for the severe problems now rocking the Kentucky GOP that he fathered.

McConnell’s sort of a Senate equivalent of Karl Rove: mostly blow and very little substance. For the better part of a decade now, there’s been a cult around McConnell in Republican circles in Kentucky and Washington. He’s revered for his supposed tactical mastery of procedure and narrative, ruthless partisanship, and money-grubbing ability.

Yet, once the Kentucky GOP that Mitch built became pretty much the only show in town, McConnell’s mean and massive machine started to sputter, fast and hard. It all fell apart in scandal, amateurishness, and incompetence.

On the web:
Draft Forgy
Ditch Mitch
Greg Stumbo for Senate (exploratory committee)

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Aug 20, 2007 at 03:08 PM PDT.

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