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Friday, October 28, 2016

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) failed in his goal to make President Obama a one-term president, but he’s still one of the most crafty and ruthless campaigners in politics, as his latest ad proves.

McConnell’s new ad recycles a message the senator knows works because it helped him win in 2008. The new ad is far more affecting. It focuses entirely on Robert Pierce, a worker from the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, where exposure to radiation left several employees with cancer. Pierce says throat cancer has weakened his own whispery voice, but he praises the senator for using his voice to help him.

McConnell is boldly trumpeting his help to the plant with the testimony of a man few will want to question. The record is much more complex, according to The Huffington Post‘s Jason Cherkis and Zach Carter.

The senator didn’t “spring into action” on Paducah until 1999, 14 years after the first workers became sick, when a Washington Post article uncovered that radioactive exposure was still occurring at the plant. But once the story was in the limelight, McConnell pushed for a practical solution: “He worked to pass what amounted to a new entitlement that allowed plant workers over age 50 access to free body scans and free health care.” Recently McConnell’s absence from the debate about the plant’s potential closing has led a union leader to say the senator has “given up on Paducah.”

An ad touting the ability to get people government-run health care is an unlikely way to open the campaign of a man who has vowed to repeal Obamacare “root and branch.”

Thanks to the president’s health reforms, 188,130 residents of McConnell’s state now have health coverage; of those, 100,359 have completely subsidized health insurance through Medicaid or SCHIP.

McConnell needs to explain what will happen to the more than 100,000 people who would lose coverage if his goal of repealing Obamacare is accomplished, says The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent.

“McConnell’s new ad tells us he should be re-elected because his efforts to bring health coverage to people who lack it shows his willingness to ‘knock down walls’ for Kentucky’s ‘working families,’ helping ‘save people’s lives,'” Sargent writes. “So what about all the working people who would lose coverage if McConnell got his way?”

Unfortunately for McConnell, 2014 isn’t 2008.

Six years ago the senator could brag about providing some deserving workers with government health care without having to go into his actual policies on health care. In 2014, Obamacare is no longer theoretical; millions of Americans have gained coverage through Obamacare exchanges or by remaining on their parents’ coverage until age 26, thanks to the law.

If McConnell is arguing he did the right thing by helping those in need, he must also explain what would happen to these people if he gets his way and they lose their coverage.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    Not that I really have any use for the Tea Party candidates, but I really hope Matt Blevins opens the proverbial can of Whoop-@$$ on old Pruneface. Yeah, McConnell will probably prevail in the primary, but only by going so far to the right that he will have a hard time explaining himself to the fence sitters that will end up leaning towards Grimes.

  • Faraday_Cat

    Not that I would be surprised, but he really doesn’t have any policy decisions that positively impacted his state since 2008 that he can run on? That should tell you something right there.

  • jmprint

    “Don’t do as I do – Do as I preach.” Isn’t that what MOST christians say

    • Independent1

      Remember: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

  • Jimmy Agler

    “Just remember my fellow Kentuckians, as your senator I will fight to make sure you have access to health care,,,,,,,,as long as the big money backing me tells me I am allowed to. As soon as they decide to pull it away from you I will start talking about guns,gay marriage and how unfair this country is to billionaires”.

  • Jakie Lewis

    Mitch lives in an alternate universe…the Democratic Governor’s willingness to expand Medicaid and the ACA have done far more to help Kentuckians obtain healthcare than anything the old turtle ever did for the state’s people.

  • Mark Forsyth

    Sounds like a lot of picking and choosing who receives health care and who doesn’t.Just like a fascist to decide who lives and who doesn’t.

  • howa4x

    Right now McConnell wants to appear more kinder since he is running in the primary against a tea party candidate who is unhinged from reality. If he survives he will face a different political landscape. This time there is a democratic governor committed to making his exchange work, and excepting the Medicaid expansion. they are signing up new people everyday. When McConnell gets to the general against a tough democratic opponent. She will run adds showing him on the senate floor vowing to repeal health care reform with an overlay about taking it away from every Kentuckian. This should be one of the best races in the country.

    • Geek Hillbilly

      Bitch McConnell is due in Hazard pretty soon and I will be there to call out his ass on everything.

      • howa4x

        great! Ask him what he would replace the ACA with

  • rattlesnake

    McConnell for McConnell & only McConnell

  • Geek Hillbilly

    Bitch McConnell will reap what he has sown soon.His blatant hypocrisy is so obvious that even regular GOPers here in SEKY hate his guts.