A Kentucky Senate update…
Posted September 2, 2014on:
It’s back to the comfort of routine after Labor Day. I hope the long weekend was a good one for all of the Widdershin world.
While I’ll leave the college football prognostication and updates to Chat and Fredster, there is a new Bluegrass Poll out about the Kentucky Senate race. Given that Mitch McTurtle has been the primary roadblock to meaningful Congressional legislation and judicial appointments, I thought an update might be in order.
The results are still essentially a dead heat between McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes when you consider the margin of error of the poll. As the preferences stand now, McConnell has a small four point lead over Lundergan Grimes with eight percent of voters remaining undecided.
While this is a sobering alignment for Alison, there is still little for Mitch to celebrate. If this were grade school, Mitch would be trying to figure out how to get rid of a major case of the cooties. His popularity remains significantly underwater with no prospect for growing a functioning set of gills.
Mitch suffers from a healthy case of unfavorability. His unfavorable rating is 46% with just 36% of respondents holding a favorable opinion of him. For a thirty-year incumbent to have such a robust case of the “no-like-him” is problematic, but Mitch is a world-class artist when it comes to painting his opponents as even more unlikable than he is.
In this election, Mitch is tarring and feathering Alison as the alter ego of President Obama whose favorability in Kentucky can be found in the bottom compartment of Davy Jones’ locker. Obama’s unfavorable rating is 57% with just 29% favorable. This primarily revolves around the “War on Coal” — an imaginary concoction existing in the heads of non-reality thinkers or better said, “those who prefer living in a non-fact based existence“.
On a myriad of issues, control of the Senate, coal, foreign policy, the economy, and immigration, Alison trails Mitch. The only issue where Alison buries Mitch is with women where Alison enjoys a 52% to 31% lead over Mitch. My question is: Who are the 31% of women who could possibly believe otherwise?
The other positive for Alison is the popularity of the Big Dawg. Bill Clinton enjoys 53% favorability among voters. I expect to see him several times this fall particularly in western Kentucky where Mitch has gained since the last polling due to his extended bus tour through the region. Few people realize just how diverse the voters are in a state spread out over almost 800 miles tip-to-tip.
There are a couple of imponderables looming out there in the political ether that might affect the race and are not accounted for in this latest poll. The first is McConnell’s little Father’s Day jaunt out to the Dana Point, California St. Regis, where a night will run you from $395 to $1,155, in order to hobnob with the Brothers Koch and their well-heeled friends. McConnell was caught on tape bemoaning humdrum votes on such pedestrian issues as the minimum wage, unemployment, and making student loans more affordable. I expect the greatest hits from that tape will be etched in the brains of every Kentucky television viewer before election day.
One thing that has been overlooked on the St. Regis/McConnell story: How did the tape ever see the light of day? The St. Regis is not exactly a Motel 6 and after Romney’s self-delusional 47% speech was caught on tape, you can bet the Brothers Koch vetted the bartenders and wait staff.
My theory is this: The Brothers Koch don’t like McConnell — never have. He’s too “establishment” and still believes the government should function at some level. In the delusional self-grandeur only a billionaire can ooze, wouldn’t it be a kick in the shell to McTurtle if the Kochs believe they can win the Senate without McConnell’s seat and want him ousted as Majority Leader? The light of day for the secret taping becomes a little clearer under that scenario.
The other issue perhaps affecting the Kentucky Senate race is the abrupt resignation last Friday evening of Jesse Benton, McConnell’s campaign manager. A little pedigree update is in order.
Jesse Benton is the grandson-in-law of Ron Paul. He ran Ron Paul’s Presidential primary efforts in Iowa in 2012. An Iowa state senator and supporter of Michele Bachmann was indicted and has pleaded guilty for taking a $73,000 bribe to switch campaigns. The state senator says Jesse Benton was fully apprised of the transaction. (Here’s a query: In terms of good judgment, who pays $73K for a Bachmann supporter?)
Benton’s hiring by McConnell was little more than an ambulatory peace pipe offering to the Paul family and the Tea Guzzlers. As far as actually shepherding the campaign, long-time McConnell loyalists are and have always been at the helm. The question is: Can McConnell be infected with the taint of an Iowa indictment for these 2012 primary shenanigans?
One thing is clear though, McConnell might be immune, but you can be sure Rand Paul will be a carrier of the Iowa indictment bug. Iowans won’t soon forget this little tawdry episode and if they do, there will be plenty of ever helpful Republican candidates to remind them of it.
There’s your Senate update, so what’s on your mind today — take the conversation wherever you like since this is an open thread.
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