Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Behind the Ad: Did you hear the one about Mitch McConnell being too liberal?

By Richard K. Barry

Who: The Mitch Bevin U.S. Senate campaign

Where: Kentucky (statewide on cable)

What's going on: Mitch Bevin is running to the right of Sen. Mitch McConnell for the GOP Senate nomination in Kentucky.

In this ad, Bevin, speaking directly into the camera, attacks Sen. McConnell for having "caved yet again to President Obama on the debt ceiling." The narrator goes on to say that "thirty years is enough," and that Sen. McConnell has been 'too liberal" for "too long."

Sen. McConnell is still heavily favoured to win the nomination, and all of the polling backs that up, so the ad is not particularly interesting in the context of impacting the outcome of the race. What is interesting is that the radical right is still trying to claim that anyone who has been in Washington for any period of time and, by virtue of that fact, been implicated in getting almost anything done, is too liberal.

In this particular case, the argument seems not to be working as McConnell's lead among self-described Tea Party supporters is also strong.

Beating Bevin is not going to be the hard part. Beating his Democratic challenger Allison Lundergan Grimes will be the real task, perhaps ending up, as Charlie Cook says, as the closest Senate race in the country.

Grade: To the extent that some Republicans believe voting "with Obama on the debt ceiling" is a really bad thing, dumb as that is, the ad works. And, not being from Kentucky, I have to giggle at the thought that Mitch McConnell is too liberal. Still, the ad is pitched to the converted, and even they're not moved. What does that say? C-


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