Yarmuth is able to avoid the onslaught of NRCC ads only because it is such a target rich environment for Republicans.
As a smart man, Yarmuth knows this. And he knows that as Nancy Pelosi's designated "messenger," that voters no longer like the "message." All that he cheerfully advocated -- bigger bailouts, single-payer health care, more government at every turn --is about to be rejected by voters. It has begun to dawn on Yarmuth is that he is "messaging" a product that did not work, that nobody wants. All that leaves him with is a hope that voters don't sack the messenger.
This is probably why Yarmuth, who is generally an affable guy, melted down on the Mandy Connell Show when asked about Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's point that raising taxes on individuals hurts small businesses that file taxes as individuals. For a small business considering hiring new employees, the prospect of a tax hike creates uncertainty about costs, and thus deters job creation just when the country needs it most.
Yarmuth responded by calling McConnell "devious" and "rarely honest." But even as he ranted on about why he supports tax hikes, Yarmuth acknowledged that McConnell was "meticulously accurate."
The subject arose on Connell's show after a listener email questioned why Yarmuth refused to stand up when McConnell entered the Kentucky Farm Bureau ham breakfast at the State Fair, and why Yarmuth muttered that McConnell was lying when McConnell discussed the danger of Democrats raising taxes during a recession.
Even coverage in the Courier-Journal, Yarmuth's biggest cheerleader, made Yarmuth look like a petulant jerk over the incident.
It seems so out of character for Yarmuth. Has the spectre of Democrats losing the House really put him in such an ill mood?
Yarmuth didn't suddenly lose his manners over a question of tax policy. Or ideology. Or even electoral prospects, though all of those things undoubtedly soured his mood.
McConnell and Yarmuth started out together 40 years ago, back when Yarmuth was a Republican. McConnell went on to become the most powerful Republican in Washington. Yarmuth clipped coupons, perfected his golf game (best handicap in Congress!) and now serves as Nancy Pelosi's "messenger." He may get to keep his job another term, but Yarmuth knows that he is becoming irrelevant -- at a time when McConnell is becoming more relevant.
This is perhaps not the outcome Yarmuth had envisioned and so bitterness got the best of his good manners. It doesn't happen often, but this week Yarmuth lost the ability to conceal how much he envies McConnell.