Friday, May 30, 2014
A new Rasmusson poll shows that those voters who backed Bevin in the primary are coming back to McConnell for the general election.
The new poll has McConnell beating Alison Ludergan Grimes 48-41 percent among likely voters. This is a significant shift, given that poll after poll before the primary showed the race as neck and neck.
According the the poll, McConnell now has the backing of 76 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of Kentucky Democrats. Grimes has 67 percent of Democrats and 18 percent of Republicans. Grimes is ahead of unaffiliated voters by three points.
Before the primary, one out of four Bevin supporters planned to vote for Grimes in the general if Bevin lost. That margin was unsustainable. To the extent that the Bevin supporters truly thought that McConnell was not conservative enough, it never made any sense to think that Grimes would be more conservative than McConnell.
Grimes's appeal to the Bevin supporters could never offer anything substantive, just dislike for McConnell. Most Bevin supporters, however, were motivated in the primary by substance, not atmospherics. They sincerely thought that Bevin was the more conservative candidate. He was not, in my view, but no matter: it is beyond dispute that McConnell is much more conservative than Grimes.
I predict that Republican voters will further unite behind McConnell as the general election draws nearer. Grimes claims that she is an "independent Kentucky woman." That is beside the point. If elected, Harry Reid will be the boss of her. Literally. She will have no choice but to vote with his caucus
Thursday, May 22, 2014
I have a letter from Alison "Who's Your Daddy" Grimes. She sent it by mistake, but no matter. The good news is that Alison has cleaned up her grammar. She no longer boasts, "I don't scare easy." Now she boasts "I don't scare easily." Hooray! Alison has mastered the distinction between an adjective and an adverb. Thata girl!
Now if only she could master the distinction between unemployment benefits and welfare.
Grimes complains that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell voted not to "Extend unemployment benefits in the wake of the Recession." She points to votes on March 10, 2010, April 15, 2010, and July 20, 2010.
It is fascinating that Grimes describes these dates, particularly the last one, as the "wake of the Recession." Grimes has forgotten that Obama decreed 2010 as the Recovery Summer. Not that it's been much of a recovery. To the contrary -- many Americans remain underemployed, working multiple part-time jobs, and jobs for which they are overqualified. Many other Americans have simply given up looking. These people, more than any other, need the opportunity that only comes from a growing economy and an infusion of new jobs from new businesses.
At first blush, extending unemployment seems compassionate. But to keep extending it -- over and over, literally year after year -- is disingenuous. At some point, unemployment ceases to be a temporary aid to pay bills while between jobs. At some point, it is no longer unemployment, but rather welfare hiding under a different name.
The distinction matters for several reasons. Using the correct word matters. Democrats like Obama, Harry Reid and Grimes are prone to obfuscate the debate by using the wrong word (think "fetus" for "baby"). According to Democrat lore, Bill Clinton abolished "welfare as we know it." It is his big claim to fame (well, maybe his second).
Heaven knows we Kentuckians will be subjected to lots of Clinton visits to help Grimes, daughter of their buddy Jerry Lundergan. These visits will attempt to make us wax poetic for the Clinton years and the Clinton economy. That nostalgia hinges on Clinton having "abolished" welfare. The problem for Grimes is that to the extent that Clinton "abolished" welfare, Obama brought it roaring back.
Whether characterized as welfare or as unemployment benefits extended ad infinitum, the extension never addressed the root of the problem of why so many Americans remain unemployed for so long. The main reason: Obamacare.
While the Democrats tried to buy Americans off, McConnell was attempting to address Obamacare, the obstacle to a true recovery. Recall that when Democrats shoved Obamacare down America's throat that Christmas Eve, McConnell held together a Republican caucus that spans the spectrum from Olympia Snow to Ted Cruz; not a single Republican voted for Obamacare. Consequently, Democrats -- including Grimes's party Leaders Reid, Obama and Pelosi -- own it. And they own the consequences, including the stagnant job growth.
Sen. Rand Paul explained that at some point, extending unemployment benefits actually does a disservice to the recipients, because it causes them to become a part of a permanent class of unemployed; the unemployment benefits become a disincentive to employment.
In complaining about McConnell's votes, Grimes never tells us, is there ever a point at which she would vote against extending unemployment benefits? Ever? Can there never be a cut-off? If not, she is every bit as rigid, obstructionist and ideological as she accuses McConnell of being.
Grimes never addresses the fact that America borrows 40 cents of every dollar of unemployment benefits from the Chinese. That is no longer just fiscally irresponsible, but a threat to our national security. At the very least, an extension of unemployment benefits should be matched with a cut in spending. McConnell understands that. Grimes, apparently, does not. McConnell's vote was a sober, adult, courageous response to a bad situation caused by an inept and profligate administration, one that very much wants to see Grimes win.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Josh Holmes, Senior Advisor to the McConnell Senate Committee '14 (and a brilliant tactician) has compared ten years of results of U.S. Senate races in which the incumbent was "primaried." These races reveal that primary challengers to an incumbent senator who spend more than $1 million average 47.57 percent of the vote.
Matt Bevin's campaign has spent in excess of $3.3 million, and yet, going into Primary Election Day, he trailed McConnell by 20 points. Even if Bevin gets a late rush of support, there is no universe in which it is possible for him to win 47 percent of the vote, despite the fact that he has spent more than three times the magic million dollar number.
Bevin spent more than any primary challenger of an incumbent senator in the last two cycles, thanks to Senate Conservative Fund, Freedomworks, Tea Party Patriots and the Madison Project. All those dollars spent by outside groups ended up helping the paid consultants and operatives, but did little to advance Bevin as a serious candidate. (Contributors to those organizations, you've been duped.)
Moreover, Bevin got a huge boost in name idea by the amount of media coverage of him, approximately 3.5 times more than the winner of last week's Senate primary in Nebraska, home to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. The coverage overstated Bevin's ability, not only as a candidate, but as an existential threat to McConnell. Recall that Joe Gerth said that McConnell "would rather have a strangulated hernia than face Matt Bevin." Well, sure, McConnell undoubtedly would have preferred to avoid a primary. Even still, Bevin, was more of a distraction and an annoyance, hardly comparable to a "strangulated hernia."
I will resist the temptation to compare the media predictions and assessments of Bevin at the outset with the reality of how he actually performed. There is no point. He is by many accounts a good father and neighbor. He says that he is a conservative, and if so, he will get behind the most conservative candidate who will be on the ballot come November, the future Senate Majority Leader: Mitch McConnell.
Monday, May 19, 2014
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao met a group of supporters at Bowman Field this morning before boarding a plane to fly around the Commonwealth for one last day of campaigning before tomorrow's primary election.
Three opposition trackers filmed the send-off as McConnell worked the crowd and waved good bye.
Both McConnell and Chao seemed relaxed and ready to hit the stump. The atmosphere was cheerful about the certainty of McConnell's impending win over Matt Bevin.
Bevin has been an annoyance and a minor distraction to the McConnell campaign. Nonetheless, the silver lining of the primary is that it gave the McConnell campaign a dry run for November -- an opportunity to refine get out the vote and ballot security initiatives. In that regard, the McConnell campaign appears to be taking initiative that the national party and Romney campaign failed to achieve in 2012. These efforts will not only help McConnell in November, but will also increase the odds of Republicans flipping the state House.
The most remarkable thing about the primary is that McConnell has been subjected to $4 million in negative advertising and direct mail, and yet he is better positioned now; he has maintained a 20 point lead in the primary against Bevin and improved by three points against Lundergan Grimes. Most interestingly, the gender gap has closed by eight percent. And with good reason: Kentucky women -- especially mothers -- don't want to hear the Democrat fairy tale about a non-existent "war on women." Kentucky women don't want Sandra Fluke and Nancy Pelosi talking to us about our "lady parts."
Kentucky mothers want to elect the U.S. Senator who gives us the best chance for allowing the private sector to flourish, to provide the kind of jobs to which our children aspire -- not a permanent class stuck at the minimum wage, who can only get a raise when the government so orders business. Kentucky mothers know that Mitch McConnell is the best bet for our children being able to get good jobs, buy a home and support a family, not live in our basements and stay on our insurance plans until age 26,
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
It's symbolic of his whole campaign: Matt Bevin got rear-ended by a McConnell supporter while campaigning.
It was raining hard, and Bevin inexplicably stopped his SUV on an entrance ramp while he and a friend or aid decided where to go next, when a teenaged girl rear-ended him. As they were surveying the damage to their cars, Bevin commented on a pro-Republican bumper sticker on the girl's car. He asked who she was supporting in the U.S. Senate race and the girl replied that she was supporting McConnell.