Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Sunday, October 23, 2016

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is known for savaging his opponents — and he’s already living up to his reputation.

In 2014, he faces both a tough primary challenge in Tea Partier Matt Bevin and a possibly even tougher general election challenge from Kentucky’s Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has a slight lead on him in the polls. With an estimated $50 million to spend and his career on the line, attack ads were inevitable — but they wouldn’t be McConnell-quality if they were predictable.

The first attack on Bevin is clearly designed to rob the entrepreneur of his status as a trustworthy “Kentucky conservative,” which is how the challenger has been framing himself, rather than as a “Tea Partier.”

The centerpiece of the ad “Delinquent” alleges that Bevin was late on his taxes both as a businessman and a private citizen — with a vacation house in Maine!

Paying taxes is something every conservative hates and the thought of a rich guy avoiding his due is clearly a class-based attack on someone who is richer than you and thinks he’s above the system. This is likely designed to deflate the populist stance Bevin is taking: attacking McConnell as the ultimate D.C. insider.

But the most Machiavellian/Karl Rovian element of the ad is the branding of Matt “Bailout” Bevin, delivered with ominous music and a darkened picture of the Tea Partier.

McConnell’s “yea” vote on the TARP rescue of the banks, which is especially unpopular among GOP primary voters, has been called out by Bevin over and over and was mentioned in his first ad. If McConnell can make the “bailout” label stick to his opponent, he negates what both candidates obviously recognize as a major vulnerability.

Bevin doesn’t have a legislative record to run on. But McConnell has tried to shape what dirt he could find into a projectile that will smear his opponent and blunt further attacks.

Do you think this ad works? How do you think Bevin will respond?

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 9.00.08 AM

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • idamag

    The trouble with McConnell is that the state that elects someone to replace him will probably not send anyone any better to Congress. It’s Kentucky for heavens sake.

    • spazaru

      And what perfect utopia do you live in? It’s time we stop looking down our noses at each other and join together to get rid of jerks like McConnell. Grimes might be able to beat him, but it won’t help her for holier than thou types to say things like, “it’s Kentucky!”.

      • idamag

        I don’t live in Utopia. I live in a red state. Our Congressmen are Republicans. They are not rabid. However, they do nothing good or bad. The blatant rabid racism comes from the Southern states. We have racism, but we give anyone who expresses it, in public, such a bad time that they don’t. This is not Holier-than-thou, this is observations. Of course, there are decent people in the southern states, but many times they don’t speak up for fear of being discriminated against. How do I get my opinion of Kentucky? Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell. Why does that reflect on the entire state? Kentuckians elected them.

        • spazaru

          I disagree with your logic. Plenty of people did NOT vote for Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell. And those people need our help convincing a few of their neighbors to switch sides. Judging them puts them on the defensive and only makes them more likely to vote Republican. Which red state do you live in where the Republicans do nothing bad? I’ve never seen such.

  • Lynda Groom

    Surprise, surprise….NOT!

  • michaelross

    Don’t trust a state that was stupid enough to elect McConnell in the first place not to fall for this sort of crap.