It’s a very interesting turn of events for someone who lays claim to the title of Senate Minority Leader to be running political advertisements this early. And perhaps even more interesting, and a bit disturbing, is the fact that at no point in his advertisement does he indicate to the viewer that he is a Republican.
Of course, Kentucky just saw the defeat of a Republican governor. President Bush isn’t a popular fellow. But just because Ernie Fletcher proved himself incapable of being elected to a second term, and just because Bush is a lame duck who the public is ready to sweep away into the past…should that make one disregard their own identification?
Granted…to some in the Kentucky Republican party, the defeat of Fletcher indicates a serious problem. And I agree – it was a serious problem. But it had nothing to do with his affiliation. It had to do with his promises to “clean up Frankfort”, only to attempt to play the system illegally. And he got caught. And he pardoned the cast of characters in place that perpetrated these schemes, while the Grand Jury was still in place investigating them.
Seems Kentuckians are smart enough to call a spade a spade, Ernie. (For fairness, I should note I supported and voted for Anne Northrup in the Primary election). Your Lt. Governor, Steve Pence, was smart enough to call a spade a spade. And Steve Pence is a man of integrity, as I worked for him while at the Kentucky State Police when the Fletcher camp took office.
So I don’t think Mitch can make a claim that somehow, Kentucky is simply anti-republican. A deep look at the failures of the Fletcher administration should be enough to make Republicans know it isn’t an anti-republican issue. But, I suppose when you value some sense of false loyalty to people who’ve been exposed as frauds and criminals, you have to think it simply must be an anti-republican conspiracy, even when logic dictates otherwise. And then again, perhaps it was the strange, sith-like master – protégé relationship between McConnell and Fletcher that led to the loyalty. Regardless, it was wrong.
But Mitch stuck to his guns and supported Fletcher until the end. Note our other Republican senator did not (and many of us normal voters did not either).
Long ago, I had the pleasure of entertaining Senator McConnell when he visited my place of business, which continued with a private brunch at my CEOs home. It was easy to see why people considered McConnell best suited for behind the scenes politics, rather than a public position like Minority Leader.
He has been quite effective in this role…but he can’t make the leap to the public side of the house required by being the leader. Or at the very least, he hasn’t proven that he can make the leap yet. Conversely, the rap on the previous leader, Bill Frist of Tennessee was the opposite. He didn’t have back-room authority, but he put on a good public persona. Note that Senator Frist decided not to run for reelection in 2006, propelling McConnell into his current position. And some claim that McConnell was the back end master during that period, which seems likely.
Take a look at the primary candidates on both sides of the presidential race – they run the gamut. On the Republican side we’ve got a pro-choice candidate in Rudy Guiliani currently leading, old guards like McCain and even a strict constitutionalist in Ron Paul (whom many mistake for being a libertarian). The Democratic side of things is just as diverse, with candidates who fall all over what we call our political spectrum. And none of them fail to mention their affiliation like McConnell does.
Needless to say, McConnell is smart enough to realize he is in trouble. Hence the early advertising. But what he fails to see is why he’s in trouble…and it has nothing to do with the Republican label.
Next time out, we’ll go deeper into this “I’m not a Republican” theme…as it gets even more interesting when one looks at the actual content of the McConnell commercial.