Money isn’t everything, and it can’t buy you love. Republicans should have learned this in 2012, when Mitt Romney had all of the world’s big money behind him and he still couldn’t buy enough lies to win against Barack Obama.
In a new memo to be released Friday by the Grimes campaign that was obtained by PoliticusUSA, senior advisor Jonathan Hurst pointed out that Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) feels pretty invincible these days. Hurst observed that while McConnell has spent $10 million dollars, he’s still failing.
The fail, “One thing is indisputable over the last seven months: the braggartly, swaggering thirty year Senator’s Washington-style campaign is floundering. Before Alison entered the race, Mitch McConnell boasted that he would easily dispose of any opposition, proclaiming that “when anybody sticks their head up, do them out.” His campaign manager, Jesse Benton, even went so far as to say that they would run ‘the best statewide campaign in the history of United States American politics.'”
Hurst continued, “The evidence over the course of the campaign reveals exactly the opposite. Not only did Benton flop out of the gate, confessing that he was “holding his nose” to work for McConnell, but he also failed to keep out a self- funding, Tea Party primary opponent in Matt Bevin who has drained valuable time and resources from their campaign coffers.”
Republicans like Mitch McConnell appear to actually feel so emboldened by Citizens United that they feel invincible. McConnell has already spent $10 million on this race, and yet he is either head to head or trailing Alison Grimes in polls, and that was before his epic gun waving fail at CPAC.
David Corn, Mother Jones‘ Washington bureau chief, exposed a tape of McConnell made in February of 2013, in which he and his campaign discussed how they would destroy any opposition, “I assume most of you have played the, the game Whac-A-Mole?” (Laughter.) This is the Whac-A-Mole period of the campaign…when anybody sticks their head up, do them out.” How’s that “whac-a-mole” working out for McConnell so far? Not so much.
McConnell still seems to think he’s the inevitable, entitled owner of the Kentucky Senate seat he’s had since 1985. Indeed, the Republican strategy of selling discontent with D.C. might finally be splashing their party with the dumb mud, as ABC reported, “Anti-Incumbent Sentiment Has Reached 25-Year High.” This explains why the Kentucky Senator has also been pitching himself as the candidate of “change”, which is a really bizarre attempt to make himself the Kentucky Obama.
McConnell for “change”, but without the actual change. No policy changes, just more rhetoric while he gets even richer.
In spite of their rather startling misplays and the ineptness of their strategy, McConnell’s campaign seems to believe that this is in the bag, and no doubt the millions pledged from outside money give McConnell a sense of confidence. But that confidence may be misplaced. Republicans tried to buy 2012, and the only place they managed to win elections were places they had gerrymandered, but even so, they lost House votes. Money can buy you a lot of lies and attack ads, but it can’t buy you love.
And while many are fooled by attack ads, sometimes they backfire. Note the boomerang effect that some GOP suffered in 2012, thanks to SuperPAC attack ads whose messages they couldn’t control as well as they might have liked. The bottom line is that Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Mitt Romney really do think money can buy them anything. While they excel at the dirty ugly, they seem not to realize that the Internet can factcheck them in real time.
So when Mitch McConnell unloads his millions of outside dollars onto Alison Grimes, and attacks her like he was planning to attack Ashley Judd, the Internet will be there to factcheck Mitch. McConnell and his team seem desperate to cast Alison Grimes as Obama, but even Obama polls higher than McConnell in Kentucky right now. And in this scenario, Mitch is the Mitt, and Mitt lost. Sure, it’s Kentucky, but Grimes is a pragmatic centrist.
Mitch McConnell and his team better man up, because so far they’ve been playing a rather inept game of dirty pool sans any ideas or positive themes. If McConnell plans to run on demonizing Alison Grimes, he’s in for a bit of a shock.
Mitch might want to wake up – it’s not the 1960s and he’s not the inevitable winner. He isn’t even a sure bet over his Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin right now.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.