Posted on | August 4, 2014 | 108 Comments
Sam Youngman of the Daily Beast has a feature-style article about the annual Fancy Farm barbecue in Kentucky that is the traditional kickoff of the campaign season there, focusing on the Senate race between Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes:
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rolled up his sleeves and walked to the podium on stage at the brand new pavilion at Kentucky’s annual Fancy Farm picnic.
As McConnell geared up to rail against President Barack Obama and his “Kentucky candidate” Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, he began by noting that, “Fancy Farm is fun, but there are serious problems facing our country.”
“YOU!” someone in the crowd shouted for all to hear.
The real political analysis is way down in the story:
Grimes has struggled since Kentucky’s May 20 primary, and while the race is a dead-heat, McConnell has edged into a slight lead, claiming momentum but still falling short of 50 percent in almost every poll. . . .
[O]ne reason McConnell is ahead and still favored to win this race is that both he and the outside groups supporting him have run a relentless campaign to tie coal and President Barack Obama’s unpopularity (the Bluegrass Poll released last week showed the president at 28 percent favorable) to Grimes.
In Eastern and Western Kentucky, where coal fields are pitching in to supply 43 percent of the nation’s electricity and both Democrats and Republicans believe that Obama is trying to murder their industry, livelihood and culture, Grimes’ numbers are down as McConnell appears at this stage in the game to have found the right vehicle for his anti-Obama message.
You can read the rest, but this is the baseline in Kentucky: McConnell is consistently polling below 50 percent, an indicator of trouble for any incumbent. His Democrat challenger, however, has been unable to take advantage of McConnell’s weakness because Democrat Party policies are so far to the left — not just culturally out of touch with Kentucky voters’ values, but directly opposed to their economic interests.
So a weird sort of stalemate grips the campaign, and we await the turning point that will decide the election. The lamentable part of this situation, from the GOP perspective, is that McConnell and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have spent the past 18 months crushing the enthusiasm of grassroots conservatives, waging a campaign to exterminate the Tea Party. The arguably criminal — certainly dishonest and unethical — conduct of the Mississippi primary campaign to re-elect Thad Cochran was witnessed by every Tea Party activist in the country, Kentucky included. Every deceitful smear against Chris McDaniel in Mississippi was a deliberate “f–k you” to grassroots conservatives, courtesy of the D.C.-based Republican political establishment of which Mitch McConnell is the official leader. If it weren’t for this factor — the transparent selfishness and corruption of McConnell and his GOP Senate cronies — the Senate race in Kentucky would not even be close. The major obstacle to McConnell’s re-election is not the usual problem of wooing undecided “swing” voters; his problem is that many thousands of Kentucky conservatives have little motive to vote for him in November.
As a conservative who profoundly despises Mitch McConnell and everything that unprincipled swine stands for, I feel guilty offering his campaign good advice, but the crisis facing our nation requires me to transcend my personal animosity to the man.
Therefore, I advise this: Get evil.
It’s time for McConnell, the NRSC and the Kentucky Republican Party to unleash against Alison Lundergan Grimes the kind of sneaky underhanded Nixonian dirty tricks that the GOP establishment used against Chris McDaniel in Mississippi:
- Racism — You can play this both ways. First and most obviously, circulate anonymous e-mails to rural white voters insinuating that Grimes is not only politically involved in promoting miscegenation in Kentucky schools, but is secretly engaged in an interracial affair herself. Meanwhile, you target black Democrats with anonymous e-mails that accuse Grimes of betraying civil rights and secretly harboring white supremacist tendencies. If the Grimes campaign finds out and blames Republicans for the e-mails, you say this proves that Grimes is a paranoid extremist.
- Anti-Semitism — Again, your dirty tricks squad will want to play the hate card both ways. Jewish voters will be targeted with messages claiming that the Grimes campaign is funded by wealthy Arabs and staffed by Muslim Brotherhood members who are working to elect Grimes, a fanatical Hamas supporter, to the Senate. Meanwhile, you assign a few operatives to troll neo-Nazi and 9/11 “Truther” Internet forums, claiming that Grimes is not merely a neocon warmonger, but is actually a Jew. “What kind of name is ‘Lundergan,’ huh? She made that up. Her real name is Lunderberg.”
- Homophobia — Here’s where you really pull out all the stops. You cover your bases by sending out anonymous messages to LGBT voters that Grimes is a hateful homophobe, but your main effort is to convince religious voters that Grimes is a radical lesbian, and you need to micro-target this message for maximum effect. For evangelicals, you tell them Grimes is having a gay affair with a black woman. You tell orthodox Jews that Grimes’ secret lesbian lover is a Palestinian Arab (one of her Muslim Brotherhood staffers). On neo-Nazi and 9/11 Truther forums, of course, your trolls claim Alison Lunderberg’s secret lesbian girlfriend is a Jew.
A dishonest smear campaign like this would be unethical and perhaps even illegal, but considering what the GOP establishment did to Chris McDaniel in Mississippi, why not do it to a Democrat?