Is He “OK”? Mitch McConnell, Comedian or Gaffe Machine? (Dumb fun with dumb video.)

Today in the Kentucky Senate race the Grimes campaign continues to call out Mitch McConnell for his long history of opposition to the Violence Against Women Act and for his terrible three decade track record on jobs and the economy. Meanwhile, the McConnell campaign is beside itself with glee that a person who speaks to one crowd after the next got her words mildly mixed up and said to put a bumper sticker in a yard.

McConnell’s campaign staff and totally uncoordinated team-members present this video, recorded by the Republican Party, as though it is proof that Alison Lundergan Grimes is not only a lost cause who’s unfit for office but also seem to suggest Alison may have some sort of health problem. Like this:

Obviously bumper stickers aren’t made to go on lawns — that would be yard signs. Confusing the two in the middle of a speech is unfortunate, but it’s hardly a sign (or sticker) of incompetence. Incompetence would be an inability to figure out how to take a bumper sticker, which is covered on one side with a strong adhesive substance, and stick it to a blade of grass. Why would you do that? I have no idea. But if you wanted to do that, it’s not like it would be difficult. Unless there was something wrong with you.

Anyway. This latest “gaffe” and all the attention it’s getting from Team Mitch and all the very important questions it raises about Alison’s health and ability to serve in the US Senate serves up a good opportunity to wonder the exact same about Mitch McConnell.

Is Mitch McConnell a gaffe machine? Is he a comedian? A performance artist? Or… is there something we need to know? Is Mitch McConnell “OK”?

Here’s Mitch telling a terrible joke that’s so terrible he tells it twice. It’s not funny, two people laugh, but Mitch seems terribly amused. Is there something wrong with Mitch McConnell?

Here’s Mitch falling over! Is there something wrong with Mitch? Is he really still fit for office? Or is this his attempt at slapstick?

Here’s Mitch McConnell in 2010 referring to 2008 as 1968. Seriously. He seems to be lost in time. Is Mitch McConnell okay? Can he really be trusted to represent Kentucky when he makes gaffes like these? Or is he making a highfalutin joke about time that belongs in a New Yorker cartoon?

Here’s Mitch McConnell at the 1968 2008 Republican convention. Watch as he stands in bewildered silence before a crowd of thousands, seemingly lost in his own skin. What is wrong with Mitch McConnell? Or is that Andy Kaufman?

Here’s Mitch telling series of terrible jokes including one about how he likes to talk down to the lowly people who serve him butter, but it begins with an even more terrible moment in which Mitch McConnell calls Barbara Bush a bitch. Is there something wrong with Mitch McConnell? Is he unwell? Or just unfunny?

For a campaign that’s spent the past two months complaining about how Mitch McConnell “misspoke” when he told the Beattyville Enterprise that it’s “not his job” to bring jobs to Kentucky, it’s telling that this “gaffe” from Grimes has got Team Mitch so fired up. Look at what they’re working with.

You can almost see the next McConnell TV ad. Mitch sitting next to some random voter who plaintively asks: “Alison, why’d you say to put bumper stickers on my lawn?”

Weighty stuff.

Jensen & Barr Celebrate 49th Anniversary of Tyrannical Government Program that Forces Grandma to Not Die Sooner

Today marks the 49th Anniversary of Medicare, the tyrannical government program which forces old people to live longer, healthier lives without bankrupting their kids.

While entire generations of Americans who built this country into the great place it is and helped amass its tremendous wealth have relied on Medicare to see them through their old age, there is a group of people fighting valiantly to take all that away — to free the grandmas and grandpas of tomorrow and let them die penniless, uncared for and free.

One such person is Garland H. Barr IV, Congressman of Kentucky’s 6th District.

Earlier this year, for example, Andy voted for the Paul Ryan budget that would end the Medicare Gurantee. The AARP, one of the nation’s largest membership organizations representing 37 million people aged 50 and over, wrote:

Chairman Ryan’s proposed budget fails to address the high costs of health care and instead shifts costs onto seniors and future retirees… Removing the Medicare guarantee of affordable health coverage for older Americans by implementing a premium support system and asking seniors and future retirees to pay more is not the right direction.”

That budget, which Andy Barr supports and refers to as “our budget” — directly placing himself responsible for it, would turn Medicare into a “voucher-like program” that as the LA Times reported, could be used to enroll in “traditional Medicare” although “it may not fully cover the cost.”

That’s like a guarantee that may not actually be a guarantee! That’s because the Barr/Ryan budget (“our budget” as Andy calls it) would, as Time Magazine put it, essentially privatize Medicare:

It essentially aims to privatize Medicare, offering enrollees in 2024 the choice of a private plan, while raising the age of eligibility and means tests for high income seniors.”

And while today marks the 49th anniversary of this tyrannical abuse of power by the government in an effort to torture elder-Americans with fond memories of grandkids, it also marks the 54thAnniversary of Republican attempts to kill Medicare and leave the grey-haired among us to fend arthritically for themselves in a natural state of liberty and untended broken femurs.

Here’s Ronnie… in 1961:

And ever since Medicare was implement over Reagan and other Republican’s strenuous efforts, the Republican Party has been seeking creative ways to roll it back if not outright eliminate it. After starting a $2 Trillion war in Iraq (the cost of which could balloon to $6T over the coming years; see here), bleeding out billions in revenue thanks to the Bush tax cuts, and then cratering the economy which evaporated trillions in personal savings and retirement plans and further decimated the American economy leading to even more skyrocketing debt, the Republicans are now using the sad state of this economy as justification for privatizing Medicare (and Social Security). They say Medicare is going bankrupt even though it’s not and rather than try to find positive ways to fix it’s actual problems, they’re trying to find ways to dismantle it.

The saddest part about all this may be that these self-professed free-marketeers can’t even tell you the truth about what they’re doing. They claim privatization is the cure for all ills and yet when it comes to Medicare and Social Security, they struggle to call what they’re up to anything else, so afraid are they of the effect of their own ideology. Seriously, these guys would call for the privatization of their own jobs (and let’s be honest) before they ever allow themselves to utter the word “privatize” next to Medicare… even though that’s exactly what Republicans like Andy Barr and Paul Ryan are trying to do. It’s a shame they’re so ashamed.

Barr’s opponent in November is Elisabeth Jensen. Today she honored the 49th Anniversary of Medicare with a commitment to protect and strengthen Medicare, not privatize it. She outline the her platform on her website with these key points:

  • Medicare should be strengthened and improved so both current and future generations can count on having access to high-quality, affordable coverage.
  • Medicare should continue to guarantee specific benefits that are affordable and meet a person’s health care needs.
  • Medicare should offer choices that ensure access to high-quality health care.
  • Medicare should improve the quality, safety and efficiency of care by emphasizing value and cracking down on fraud, waste and abuse.

And here’s Jensen’s statement on Medicare’s past and its future:

“Kentucky seniors have paid into and earned Medicare through a lifetime of hard work, and they deserve the peace of mind to know that their Medicare will be protected,” said Elisabeth Jensen. “Unfortunately, this program is under attack from those like Congressman Andy Barr who have voted to end the Medicare guarantee. Congressman Barr has no trouble spending our tax dollars on himself, but would make seniors pay more by jeopardizing the Medicare benefits they’ve earned. The contrast on this issue is crystal clear: I’ve pledged to strengthen, improve and protect Medicare for seniors today and for the next generation, but Congressman Barr cannot say the same.”

Zing.

Rather than join Andy Barr in trying to blow out the lights on Medicare, let’s go with Elisabeth Jensen and the AARP and blow out the candles, wishing Medicare a very happy 49 more:

McConnell campaign says women can’t do foreign policy because they’re obsessed with fancy hats… But can Mitch? **UPDATE**

Hours after the Grimes campaign released their latest TV ad — which attacks Mitch McConnell for his simply abysmal track record on women’s issues — the McConnell campaign tried to change the subject to foreign policy, using a far right wing publication to paint Grimes as just some stupid woman who would rather don a pretty hat than bomb a country into oblivion.

Here’s the Grimes ad:

It highlights the fact that Mitch McConnell has opposed the Violence Against Women Act and that McConnell has opposed paying women the same amount a man gets paid to the same job.

Mitch McConnell’s record on women gets even worse if you keep poking at it — the father of three girls, currently on his second wife, McConnell has become rabidly pro-life over the past three decades and in 1998 (yes, 1998) Mitch McConnell tried to block the University of Louisville from giving scholarships to women if those women refused to promise him not to have kids out of wedlock (see LHL, 3/18/98, or here, or…).

McConnell plea irks professors // The Kentucky Post – March 18, 1998

The University of Louisville political science department has overwhelmingly rejected Sen. MitchMcConnell’s request that students in his scholarship program promise not to have babies out of wedlock.

The senator’s proposal also offended some of the students he wants to help, some of whom had children out of wedlock and some of whom were born out of wedlock, said Melodie Humphrey, an 18-year-old McConnell Scholar from Louisville.”They felt insulted,” Ms. Humphrey said.

Holy Mother Mary, does this guy have a problem with women!

So it was odd then that in response to a statement from Grimes defending Israel’s right to defend itself, the McConnell campaign glommed on to a far Right Wing publication and began pushing out a line of attack that eschews the substance of what Grimes says and instead berates McConnell’s opponent for:

  1. Wearing a dress
  2. Being a woman
  3. Wearing an event-appropriate hat

Here’s the offending McConnell circulated image (complete with a photo of George Will in their banner, the guy who recently stated that women in college want to get raped because, according to him, it’s a real badge of honor):

Funny, Jim Geraghty, you always looked like an expert on demeaning women.

Funny, Jim Geraghty, you always looked like an expert on demeaning women.

You get it? Because she gets dressed up for the Kentucky Derby and looks nice, she’s just some dumb bimbo.

Also — at what point did the McConnell campaign decide that attacking the Kentucky Derby’s long tradition of wearing ridiculous hats was a good idea? Does Team Mitch hate one of Kentucky’s proudest traditions as much as they hate women?

But that’s what the kettle of paid staff that circulates around Mitch McConnell is pushing out today (Holmes, Dayspring, Cooper, Jennings, et al) — a demeaning attack on women.

Now, the thing that got Mitch and his volt of Right Wing cronies so hot and bothered is a quote from Grimes in which she says Israel has a right to defend itself and that all the civilian deaths are a tragedy.

“Obviously, Israel is one of our strongest allies in the Middle East, and she has the right to defend herself,” Grimes said. “But the loss of life, especially the innocent civilians in Gaza, is a tragedy. The Iron Dome has been a big reason why Israel has been able to withstand the terrorists that have tried to tunnel their way in.”

For a crew of people who’ve been desperately insisting that their boss was taken out of context when he said “It’s not my job” to bring jobs to Kentucky, it’s pretty funny to watch them celebrate that quote as though it’s the proof that they’ve been right all along that women are idiots and don’t understand foreign policy.

It’s hardly stated gracefully, but the point is pretty clear. Israel has a right to defend itself; the Iron Dome is good; the tunnels are bad; if there was no Iron Dome, casualties would be higher do to double the threat. To help Mitch and his friends along, his female opponent clarified her point in a later statement to the Huffington Post:

“The Iron Dome is an integral part of Israel’s defense system which allows them to defend themselves against missiles and focus their efforts on eradicating the terrorists who try to tunnel their way in.”

At issue here, of course, is not a reasonable conversation between two candidates about what they would do about the ongoing carnage in the Middle East, nor is it even really a debate about foreign policy. Grimes and McConnell are saying the same basic thing about what’s happening in Israel and the McConnell team is trying to say that because she’s a woman, Alison Lundergan Grimes doesn’t understand foreign policy.

On a day when Grimes launched an attack on McConnell’s long anti-woman record, that’s a dumb move.

It’s possibly even dumber a move when you consider that McConnell’s own misunderstanding of foreign policy led him two years ago to push for an authorization of war with Iran — when clearly no such war was needed.

McConnell’s belligerence on foreign policy, an area where once people in DC respected his input, is even worse in Iraq where McConnell was one of the key cheerleaders in the build up to a war. That war which McConnell recklessly helped to push left nearly 5,000 American soldiers dead and tens of thousands more injured or suffering PTSD. The war McConnell helped to trump up has so far cost American taxpayers $2 Trillion.

Oh… and he also opposed investigating the illegal dealings of private contractors hired by the US government to operate in war zones where they routinely bilked American taxpayers.

Mitch McConnell’s track record on foreign policy is about as strong as his track record on demeaning women.

Not to mention the fact that he used his entitled connections to flop out on the Vietnam War.

If McConnell wants to change the debate from his track record on women’s issues to his track record on foreign policy, go for it.

Mitch McConnell in 2005, when asked how the Iraq War was going:

We’ll be in Iraq only as long as we need to be in Iraq. The Iraqi military is in the process of being trained, upgraded. They handled most of the security, by the way, for election day, which is widely thought to have been a big success. This negotiation for leadership in Iraq is what you do in a democracy. They’re in the process of deciding who’s going to get to be prime minister. Who would have thought that would have ever been possible four years ago in Iraq?

The next year, in 2006, McConnell was privately telling the President to get out — not because of the cost of the war in lives or money, according to President Bush, but because it might cost the Republicans the election:

“Mr. President, your unpopularity is going to cost us control of Congress… Mr. President, bring some troops home from Iraq.”

Then in 2010, he was claiming that the pullout of Iraq was a good thing and all credit was due to President Bush:

“[George W. Bush had the] determination and will to carry out the plan that made [this] announcement possible…. It makes it easier to talk about fulfilling a campaign promise to wind down our operations in Iraq when the previous administration signs the security agreement with Iraq to end our overall presence there.” 

And by 2014, McConnel had done a 180, now trying to say that the pull out was a bad thing and all blame was on Barack Obama:

“The Iraqi security forces are now less capable than when the president withdrew the entirety of our force without successfully negotiating a remaining U.S. presence capable of preserving our gains and mentoring our partners.”

In the spring of 2012, Mitch McConnell was pushing America toward an unnecessary war with Iran and in spring of 2014 he was pushing for yet another war in Iraq… after already pushing the one that cost $2 Trillion and 5,000 lives.

When it comes to foreign policy, Mitch McConnell can’t be trusted because what he says is ever changing. That’s not leadership, it’s a weathervane.

If Team Mitch wants to talk foreign policy, the Grimes campaign should have one simple response: Bring ‘em on.

 

***UPDATE***

In a rare moment of agreement, conservative Kentucky blogger Lisa Graas makes the same point about that National Review article/photo combo that Team Mitch is pushing around. While Graas excepts the point about Grimes knowing nothing about foreign policy, she blasts the anti-Kentucky sentiment of the post:

Kentucky Derby pageantry is a sign of refinement and civilization, not backwardness and ignorance. Grimes is exhibiting something in the photo that expresses a “goodness” about Kentucky. To mock this is not in any way helpful to Mitch McConnell’s campaign, and I would very much like for Senator McConnell to win. His defenders need to take note that if they want to defend him, they need to show a little more respect for things that Kentuckians care about.

 

***UPDATE***

The Grimes campaign released a new video that visualizes McConnell’s anti-woman legislative record using some familiar footage:

Grimes campaign hits McConnell for his record of creating jobs in China, not Kentucky

Last Wednesday, the McConnell campaign released an ad that went out of its way to insert Mitch’s own record on trade with China into the middle of the Kentucky Senate campaign. It was an odd move; for the past two decades Mitch McConnell has fought to first create and then voraciously defend the unfettered free trade environment with China that’s led to a ballooning US trade deficit and the bleeding out of good American jobs.

McConnell has fought efforts to rein in this trade and he’s fought efforts to address the currency manipulation China engages in that exacerbates the problem and continues to kill jobs in Kentucky and around the country, so it was amusing to see the McConnell people trying to preemptively demonstrate that McConnell is somehow magically tough on China and serious about Kentucky job creation.

And on Friday, the Grimes campaign hit back, highlighting McConnell’s real record on China:

So far, the McConnell people have stayed mostly silent in response, but if I know my Karl Rove playbook out which Team Mitch operates, when they do respond they will avoid the substance and history and instead conflate Mitch’s record on trade with China and his work to create jobs in that country with the inept and racist work of a small group of political activists last year. But as we’ve said before, McConnell’s record on China stands on its own.

While some members of the media may be dimwitted enough to buy into the false equivalency of that counter-attack, the vast majority of them will be smart enough to see the difference between a US Senator’s 20+ years of work to export US jobs and the small-fry amateur hour antics of a tiny group of independent actors. There’s only so many times Mitch McConnell can use that excuse to dodge his record on exporting US jobs, and hopefully the good and honest folks in the media are tired of McConnell’s attempt to create this fake narrative.

At the Urban League, Rand Paul says he’s a minority because of the “shade of his ideology” (VIDEO)

Rand Paul addressed the Urban League this morning in Cincinnati and in a TelePrompTer speech that included a quote from Malcolm X, Kentucky’s junior Senator and famed opponent of the Civil Rights Act declared himself a minority.

Apparently opposing the Civil Rights Act is the same as being Black or Hispanic. And according to Rand Paul, all of his libertarian and Tea Party supporters are just as punished as actual minorities because of the “shade of their ideology.”

Seriously.

To dig deeper into Rand Paul’s new brand of minority — aka, the White Male Liberty Patriot — see Twitter, #RandPaulMinority:

And if you need a refresher, here’s 2010 Rand Paul, speaking out against the Civil Rights Act and in the process becoming the minority’s minority due to the shade of his racist ideology:

Map Shows How Kynect & Obamacare Have Decimated Kentucky with Protective Blanket of Insurance Coverage [*UPDATED*]

For everyone concerned about how Obamacare and Steve Beshear’s Kynect health care marketplace would lead the entire Commonwealth straight down the road to hell where we would all exist in Obama-controlled internment camps, this map of expanded insurance coverage since the introduction of Obama’s Affordable Care Act should terrorize you:

Death by Insurance Coverage!

That’s a staggering image. For Mitch McConnell and Andy Barr, who are jointly running on a platform of destroying Kynect and Obamacare and ripping those new insurance cards out of the hands of the newly insured, that map also represents a problem. Barr and McConnell are declaring war on insured Kentuckians in one breath and begging for their votes in the next.

Sad.

Sadder still… Barr and McConnell are opposed to this: Refund checks being sent by insurance companies to individuals and working families for services not used. Thanks, Obama:

Kentucky families will receive $6.2 million in refunds, an average of $43 per family, under a provision of the Affordable Care Act known as the 80/20 rule.

The refunds announced Thursday by the federal government are the result of the rule requiring insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of the money paid in premiums on patient care. If the companies don’t reach that amount with spending on bonuses or red tape, it must be refunded to their customers.

According to a news release from the federal Department of Health & Human Services, consumers nationwide will receive $330 million.

 

****UPDATE****

For much more on the numbers and story behind that map, visit Joe Sonka at LEO Weekly:

While this drop is staggering through the state, it is most pronounced in the four eastern Kentucky counties of Harlan, Letcher, Leslie and Perry, who went from 17-20 percent uninsured to less than 5 percent. These four counties went from some of the highest uninsured rates to the lowest in the entire state. Thanks, Obama.

Read on…