Monday, August 25, 2014
Alison Grimes, Daddy's Little Girl
Alison Lundergan Grimes doesn't have just a bus problem: she has Daddy Issues. It was only a question of time before the Jerry Lundergan would become the focus of his daughter's campaign. He is irresistible both to Grimes supporters and those who oppose her.
On the one hand, Lundergan is well-connected with prominent Democrats, most notably the Clintons. As former Chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party and a former member of the state House, he is an experienced pol in his own right, and widely believed to be making all the strategic calls for his daughter's campaign. Given the political landscape nationally this year, the fact that Grimes has access to buckets of cash through Daddy and friends made her an attractive candidate.
However, there is a perception that like the Clintons, Lundergan is a grifter who skates awfully close to the line. Grimes's supporters write irate comments whenever it is pointed out that Lundergan was convicted of a felony. He is technically not a "felon," Grimes's supporters argue, because his conviction for a state ethics violation was overturned on appeal. Though true, that is an unsavory point for Grimes's supporters to have to debate.
Here's the reason that the bus issue is resonating and won't go away: it is vintage Lundergan. We knew this scandal was coming in one form or another. Grimes's Daddy essentially bought for her and then rented her a bus on the cheap. That's a generous impulse from a doting dad, but given his previous run-ins with the law, one would have thought that Lundergan would have been more careful. Clearly, he has learned nothing.
Grimes, moreover, compromised her integrity and has seriously undermined her campaign to save a few bucks -- which makes no sense whatsoever given that her campaign is rolling in dough. Thanks to Daddy and Slick Willie calling in favors, Grime is hauling suitcases full of money from Hollywood and New York. Even Woody Allen contributed to Grimes.
So why not rent a bus from a transportation company unrelated to her father, so as to avoid the accusation that she is violating federal election law? It was a risk she did not need to take.
And yet she used Daddy's companies, not just to rent her bus but for many other aspects of her campaign, as well.. The unescapable conclusions is that Grimes's political instincts are not good. Further, Grimes appears to be detached from the running of her own campaign. Grimes is a lawyer, and the daughter of someone who was convicted for an ethics violations. This should have been one part of the campaign where she should have taken a keen interest. But she did not. If this is the kind of attention to detail she pays to her own affairs, Kentuckians cannot count on her to navigate her way through the U.S. Senate.
Grimes does not have the gravitas to survive in the U.S. Senate.