Saturday, November 09, 2013

McConnell Accuses DeMint's Right Wing Super PAC Of Illegal Coordination With The Democrats


That's the ad the Senate Conservatives Fund is spending tens of thousands of dollars running all over Kentucky television a year out from the Republican primary pitting Mitch McConnell against Tea Party activist Matt Bevin. And McConnell is furious-- and flipping out. In yesterday's Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan caught his anger at the Tea Party idiots pretty well. McConnell told her beating a teabagger in a congressional primary in southwest Alabama with a Chamber of Commerce shill was more important than Chris Christie's win in New Jersey or Ken Cuccinelli's loss in Virginia! "What seemed to be on his mind," she wrote, "was something like Star Wars: The Establishment Fights Back. What he expressed was more like The Establishment Voices Some Aggravation.
"The most important election yesterday wasn't the governor of New Jersey and it wasn't the governor of Virginia, it was the special election for Congress in South Alabama, where a candidate who said the shutdown was a great idea, the president was born in Kenya, and that he opposed Speaker Boehner came in second." The victory of a more electable Republican, is significant, Mr. McConnell says. To govern, parties must win. To win, parties must "run candidates that don't scare the general public, [and] convey the impression that we could actually be responsible for governing, you can trust us-- we're adults here, we're grown-ups."

Republicans must enter the 2014 election cycle remembering the advice of William F. Buckley: "He always said he was for the most conservative candidate who could win."

Is the GOP in civil war? "No, I don't think so." Everyone agrees on the central issue: "We would all love to get rid of ObamaCare. If we had the votes to do it we'd do it in a heartbeat. It's the single worst piece of legislation that's been passed in modern times."

But "we have a disability right now-- it's called in the Senate '55 of them and 45 of us.' I'm not great at math, but 55 is more than 45… I think it's irresponsible for some people to characterize themselves as sort of true conservatives, to mislead their followers into believing you can get an outcome that you can't possibly get."

The tea party, he says, consists of "people who are angry and upset at government-- and I agree with them." But "I think, honestly, many of them have been misled… They've been told the reason we can't get to better outcomes than we've gotten is not because the Democrats control the Senate and the White House but because Republicans have been insufficiently feisty. Well, that's just not true, and I think that the folks that I have difficulty with are the leaders of some of these groups who basically mislead them for profit… They raise money... take their cut and spend it" on political action that hurts Republicans.

He refers to the Senate Conservatives Fund. "That's the one I'm prepared to be specific about." The fund "has elected more Democrats than the Democratic Senatorial Committee over the last three cycles." The group is targeting Mr. McConnell with ads slamming his leadership during the shutdown. "Right now they're on the air in obvious coordination with Harry Reid's super PAC-- Harry Reid's!-- in the same markets, at roughly the same amount, at the same time."

…Are members of the tea party on the ground being fooled by operators, profit makers and cynics? "Yes," he said, followed by a brief silence. He declined to say more, but emphasized again that "I make a distinction between the leaders and the followers. I mean, I think a lot of well-meaning people are sending money to organizations having no idea they're gonna spend all that money against Republicans. Because they're being misled."
Yes, they're being misled, but wasn't that always the name of the game with the poor deluded teabaggers right from the start? All careerists like McConnell ever cared about though was who was doing the misleading and to what purpose. When it was Dick Armey and the Koch brothers rallying angry, low-info, low-IQ racists and the GOP's enragés, he didn't make a peep. Now that they've turned on him and his careerist cronies, he's screaming like a stuck pig. And, no, this isn't just something Democrats are playing up to make McConnell look weak-- although it was a riot yesterday when the conservative Democrat running against him, Alison Lundergan Grimes, challenged him to meet her at a shooting range. The National Review playing up his problems with the Tea Party, though, might be a more immediate concern for the effete McConnell. Democrats may snidely refer to the notorious closet case as "Miss McConnell," but the old girl has another reputation as well, a knife fighter and bad ass.
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell likes to say, “If someone flicks a pebble at you, you hurl a boulder back at him.” His political team is just as emphatic. Some Republicans in Kentucky who flirted with working for his primary opponent, Matt Bevin, were told by the McConnell allies that they would get the “death penalty.” Another frequent warning: “Mitch McConnell doesn’t take prisoners.”

McConnell’s team “shoots the wounded on the battlefield as a matter of course,” says University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato. A former GOP leadership aide who has seen the McConnell operation up close sounds terrified. “They’re all killers,” he says, without a trace of humor in his voice. “These are not guys to be trifled with. They are burn it down, piss on it, then blow it up kind of guys.”

And it’s not a secret. The New York Times reported that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) was blacklisting a GOP ad firm, Jamestown Associates, for working with the Senate Conservative Fund (SCF), which is helping Bevin. Privately, McConnell aides acknowledge that it was McConnell who had Jamestown blacklisted for cutting ads that the SCF ran in Kentucky. McConnell’s former chief of staff, Josh Holmes, spoke to the Times, offering a dark analogy: “The SCF has been wandering around the country destroying the Republican Party like a drunk who tears up every bar they walk into. The difference this cycle is that they strolled into Mitch McConnell’s bar, and he doesn’t throw you out, he locks the door.” Holmes, who is now heading McConnell’s campaign committee, later confirmed on Twitter that his quote alluded to a scene in A Bronx Tale in which a group of mafiosos savagely beat members of a biker gang who vandalized their bar-- a scene as violent as any in the movies.

In blacklisting Jamestown, McConnell has opened up a new front in what has become an open war between McConnell and Holmes, on the one side, and Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint and SCF executive director Matt Hoskins on the other.

Freshly re-provisioned from millions of dollars in donations that flooded in during the government-shutdown episode, Hoskins, a former DeMint aide, invaded enemy territory October 18 when he decided to back Bevin.

For McConnell, this is the direst threat of his career, as he’s now in a two-front war, with Bevin on one flank and Democratic challenger Allison Lundergan Grimes on the other. The wily incumbent is upping the ante, casting the fight as a battle for the future of the Republican party.

“This is an election where you are choosing sides,” says former McConnell chief of staff Billy Piper, now a lobbyist at Fierce, Isakowitz, and Blalock. “We’re finding out where people are. This is not just about the May 2014 primary. This is about the future of the party. Do we want to get to 51-- and, we hope, 55 over time? Or do we want to have 25–30 guys in the Senate who we think are going to be reliably conservative no matter what but who are never able to achieve anything other than drafting a strongly worded white paper?”

Hard-charging Hoskins is undaunted. “Mitch McConnell is doing this because he can’t defend his record and running dirty campaigns is all he knows how to do,” he says. McConnell has often exercised power in D.C. by pressuring major donors to withhold donations from a given lawmaker or organization. His allies on K Street are often the people who deliver this message and “enforce” it. SCF is receiving most of its donations from a large number of individuals who send in small-dollar amounts. McConnell can’t easily pressure these grassroots donors-- they aren’t professional politicians and they’re far from D.C.

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