2014 KY Senate race

McConnell continues to push Greece lie disproved last summer

January 27, 2012

In an example of why HD television was created, FOX News’ Greta Van Susteren interviewed Mitch McConnell the other day, an 8 minute visual orgy in which the two spoke casually while standing rather than sitting and Greta repeatedly emphasized the words “debt ceiling” with a gangsta-style hand gesture. If only they broadcast this in 3D.

In the interview, and driven home in FNC’s headline, Mitch McConnell again pushes this story that America is about to become the next Greece:

VAN SUSTEREN: You say we are beginning to look like Greece. If the status quo stays where in your mind in terms of where we’re headed, when would you anticipate would be Greece?

MCCONNELL: I don’t know how quickly we’d get there, but we’ll get there a lot quicker than any of us would like. And when you have a debt the size of your economy, when we already do, we begin to look a lot like Greece and western Europe.

You know, the best way to sum up what they’ve done in western Europe, Margaret Thatcher once said the trouble with socialism is that pretty soon you run out of other people’s money. That is exactly what has happened in Europe, and we are on the same path. This administration is leading us down the same path. Unless they are stopped by the people of this country in November, 2012, they will continue to take us down the western European path.

It’s probably for the best that Mitch doesn’t want to predict when, exactly, America will go Greek because then it would be easier for observers to paint him as some sort of false-prognosticator, like that guy who keeps predicting the rapture.

As it happens, Mitch doesn’t know when this certain inevitability will occur, but that won’t stop him from repeating it again and again even after it’s been disproved.

While making his argument against funding firefighters and police, Mitch McConnell predicted the Greecification of America in October 2011, via USA Today:

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, McConnell said the issue is the size of the federal government’s nearly $15 trillion debt, not teachers, police and firefighters.

“They are local and state employees,” McConnell said. “Look, we have a debt the size of our economy. That alone makes us look a lot like Greece. The question is whether the federal government can afford to be bailing out states. I think the answer is no.”

And here’s Mitch in July 2011, from The Hill:

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said Wednesday that the financial state of the U.S. is similar to bankrupt Greece.

Making the case for major spending reductions a day before congressional leaders will meet with President Obama, McConnell said, “We look a lot like Greece already.”

And in March 2011, on FOX News Sunday:

WALLACE: Senator, what does that mean? That there has to be a deal on entitlements and taxes or you are going to vote against extending the debt limit?

MCCONNELL: What it means is this, we have a $14 trillion debt, $14 trillion. That’s the size of our economy, which begins to make us look a lot like Greece.

This pattern from a man who last June famously said, “Well, I think we’ve gotten to the point where we ought to put aside our talking points.”

Repeatedly predicting an impending doom which repeatedly does not happen is troubling enough. But when that prediction is itself predicated on an established falsehood, Mitch’s repetition becomes a series of lies.

Last summer, FactCheck.org politely explained that McConnell “exaggerates” and while the American economy, and its balance between debt and GDP, is indeed in bad shape, “it’s not close to the size of Greece’s debt, which was 142.8 percent of that nation’s GDP as of the end of last year, according to the most recent figures from Eurostat, the official statistical office of the European Union.”

FactCheck.org went on:

Furthermore, McConnell is making an apples-to-oranges comparison. The $14 trillion figure refers to “total debt oustanding,” much of which is money that the government owes to the Social Security trust funds and other governmental entities, not money actually borrowed from the public. The U.S. “debt held by the public” is currently less than $9.8 trillion. That’s the proper figure to compare to what Greece owes, and in relation to GDP it’s currently less than half the Greek level.

Others have been less guarded with their examination of Mitch’s claim.

Last July, after McConnell launched the talking point, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham picked it up… leading Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly to write:

Look, the very idea is just crazy. The U.S. has extremely low interest rates and foreign investor are happy to loan us money; Greece has extremely high interest rates and no one is eager to loan the country money. The U.S. has our own currency; Greece has the Euro. We have a great credit rating (for now); Greece has an awful credit rating. We have a manageable debt; Greece has a debt crisis. We’re a large country with an enormous economy; Greece is a small country with a small economy. We have one of the world’s most stable systems of government (at least until six months ago); Greece’s government structure is a little shaky.

For an elected American senator — and media darling — to tell a national television audience that the United States is “becoming Greece” is a clear signal: Lindsey Graham is not to be taken seriously on these issues.

If Graham sincerely believes his own rhetoric, he has no idea what he’s talking about. If Graham is just playing some kind of cynical game, he’s a hack.

Paul Krugman graphed part of the stark difference between the two countries, and also pointed out that while the rate on US bonds sat at around 3%, Greek bonds were at 16.82%.

Behind Mitch’s erroneous comparison lies Mitch’s agenda. He does not truly believe America is in any way like Greece, he is simply trying to capitalize on the Greek misery in order to scare Americans into believing that the real problem in this country is out of control government spending — Medicare must be demolished and with it Social Security. This has been the Republican Party’s goal since the two social programs were created.

And in that, Greece offers the starkest example of an idea of Europe as a collection of countries that spent their way into economic collapse — Mitch’s argument is that social well-being bankrupts countries and all government programs meant to help people live better lives are fiscally irresponsible.

Here, too, Mitch McConnell is incorrect and here, too, he knows it all too well.

As ThinkProgress pointed out in December:

These charts show that, according to deficits and debt, countries like Spain and Ireland were acting much more responsibly than Germany and France — therefore it can’t have been deficits and debt that caused their problems. As The American Prospect’s Harold Myerson put it, “some of Europe’s current basket cases were actually running budget surpluses in the years before the Lehman meltdown. Ireland and Spain weren’t overspending at all — but the banks and investors speculating on their housing markets most certainly were.” What Europe needed was better regulation of its financial sector and a central bank willing to take the steps necessary to lessen the pain of the Great Recession, neither of which it had.

There is no doubt America faces serious economic challenges, and it’s not ridiculous at all to consider that our economy may well collapse further. But using these realities to dismantle programs that didn’t cause the problem is cynical-verging-on-evil.

Scaring people into believing that this is what happened, that America is like Greece, when clearly it is not, and that the only way to prevent collapse is to remove the President from office and dismantle Medicare… that’s just Mitch McConnell. It’s not true and it’s dangerous.


And while we’re on the subject of GDP… the nation’s economy grew for the tenth straight quarter:

There is still much to worry about, but that picture is going in the right direction and the last thing Mitch McConnell wants anyone to do is notice it, let alone the date at which it started to change.

It’s almost like Mitch McConnell wants America to fail.

Why do you hate America, Mitch? Why do you hate your country?

McConnell raises $1M, has $4.25M on hand

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January 18, 2012

Ben Chandler/Steve Beshear/Crit Luallen really have their work cut out for themselves.

Mitch’s people tell the AP that the Minority Leader raised $1,000,000.00 from October to December, thanks to his continued leadership of the Republican Party’s effort to keep America from accomplishing anything:

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has $4.25 million for a re-election campaign that’s still nearly three years away, a signal to potential Democratic challengers they’d likely enter the race at a distinct financial disadvantage.

Obviously making the defeat of the President of the United States of America your top priority (above keeping America in operation) is good for your own bottom line, even if the rest of the country suffers.

Here he is in 2010:

And again in 2011:

Say Goodbye to Crit Luallen; Say Hello to Crit Luallen!

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November 14, 2011

Tom Eblen has a splendid exit-profile of Crit Luallen, outgoing State Auditor and all ’round awesome woman. The amount she accomplished and the force with which she did it is truly remarkable. If we could replicate her a couple hundred times, she could run every office in this state.

Buried in the profile is the whiff of news anyone who follows Kentucky politics and dreams of this state actually moving forward is waiting for:

As for her future, Luallen, 59, said she plans to seek elected office again but hasn’t decided which one. She has been mentioned as a challenger to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014 or a future candidate for governor. “I’ll be looking at all of my options,” she said.

Freshly re-elected Governor Steve Beshear told CN|2 before the election that not only would he not leave office early to challenge McConnell, but that he’d never run for office again (and if you can’t believe Steve Beshear, who can you believe?) which theoretically leaves Crit Luallen as the #1 challenger to America’s long national nightmare.

CN|2 also took a look at the Luallen-chatter, finding some Republican(s?) fearful of a Luallen challenge most of all. Alessi points out:

If Luallen has a political weakness, it has been fundraising. She raised $480,000 in 2007 for her re-election bid and a total of $700,000 in 2003 for her initial run for auditor.

McConnell raised roughly $20 million in 2008 against Democrat Bruce Lunsford, and is already gearing up his 2014 efforts with a major fundraiser planned for next month.

Which is a fine point, though we are talking about Crit’s fundraising during major statewide election years and obviously in 2014 — if one assumes for the moment that the national GOP are actually as inept as they currently seem and can’t win the White House — Mitch McConnell is going to be one of the biggest targets in the country given his years of nudging us closer and closer to Depression II.

May 2014

July 19, 2011

So it looks like the People of Tea are pretty much done with Mitch McConnell.

So who will play Rand Paul in 2014?

Could it be the Pizzabagger’s Dad?

Eh. I’d prefer Marian.

But seriously, you’ll have to do better than that, GOP.

McConnell & Reid channeling Bono?

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July 15, 2011

Apparently America’s got a lot of debt. It appears to be a crisis.

There’s an element in the Republican Party just wishing for the collapse of the economy in order to fulfill visions and prophecies of mounting global chaos and there’s this other element of the GOP that sees this crisis as an opportunity to dismantle Medicare and Social Security and other forms of public spending because, well, that’s pretty much all they’ve been trying to do for the past sixty years and so everything’s an opportunity to try to do that.

Anyway. Two days ago, Mitch McConnell — long an advocate of rising debt ceilings because how else were we going to pay for the war in Iraq? — made this wacky proposal to raise the debt ceiling, slash Medicare et al., call it a compromise and pray that Americans are dumb enough to do what they didn’t do when the GOP shutdown the government in the 90s and blame the Democratic President in time for the next election.

No one much liked that plan, including the Republicans Mitch is supposedly the leader of, so last night Mitch and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went behind closed doors to hash out a new compromise:

Under a plan discussed by the Senate’s top two leaders, President Obama would receive enhanced authority to raise the debt limit at the same time procedures would be set in motion that could lead to federal spending cuts.


McConnell said the plans had not been discussed at Thursday’s White House session, which lasted less than 90 minutes. One option under discussion by the Senate leaders is creation of a group of lawmakers who could recommend spending cuts, including changes in benefit programs, that would be guaranteed a yes-or-no vote in Congress.

Another would be to couple any presidential request for a debt increase with spending cuts, including some that have emerged in private talks led first by Vice President Joseph Biden, and now by Obama.

Seeing as Mitch’s first “compromise” fell on deaf ears, its unclear how well this one will go over… unless

Unless it’s just a ruse. Unless Mitch and Harry aren’t really discussing any of that and are coming up with a better plan, like throwing all of Congress in debtor’s prison or, howabout just following Bono’s advice and forgiving the debt? Is either of those a crazier a proposition?


The essence of America was the idea of the fresh start. That’s what we’re asking for the poorest nation in the world. Cancel these old debts. Let them get up off their knees. Because that’s what they want to do.

Preach it, Bono. Let’s just call it even.

Mitch McConnell pulling some strings in Kentucky, but cutting others?

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June 9, 2011

Ronnie Ellis brings up the obvious question: why is Mitch McConnell doing so much to help Todd P’Pool (who is running a campaign “independent” of other GOP candidates), yet not doing as much for David Williams?

FRANKFORT — When Todd P’Pool, the Republican candidate for attorney general, said publicly he will run his campaign independently of the Republican gubernatorial slate of David Williams and Richie Farmer, it caused a few Republican-raised eyebrows.

After all, P’Pool’s campaign is chaired by Larry Cox, the former state director for Sen. Mitch McConnell, and McConnell headlined a Madisonville primary for P’Pool that raised $100,000 right before the May 17 primary. McConnell and fellow U.S. Sen. Rand Paul are hosting a Washington, D.C., reception and fundraiser for P’Pool this week.

So, does all that add up to an indication that P’Pool or McConnell think his chances are better if he keeps a distance from other Republican candidates, including Williams?

OK, first of all we must remember that Mitch only cares about one thing: Mitch McConnell’s power.

Secondly, Todd P’Pool’s chances of beating Jack Conway are much better than David Williams’ chances of beating Steve Beshear. McConnell doesn’t like picking and wasting time on losers (especially after last year).

Thirdly, McConnell probably thinks that if Conway wins re-election, he will be a viable challenger against him in 2014. His defeat means he’s gone for years to come (“viable” being a relative term, OK?)

So, does this explain why McConnell (and McConnell-ites like Larry Cox) is going all in for P’Pool, who is remaining “independent” of the unlikable longshot David Williams?

Certainly possible. Sure, P’Pool’s “independent” campaign may be a reference to un-electable Tea Republicans down the ticket like John Kemper and Some Dude Named Bill Johnson, but that doesn’t explain McConnell’s unequal doting on P’Pool. Mitch knows that his power was weakened by Trey Grayson’s performance, and he’s not going to knock himself out by devoting political capital to a doomed Williams. He’ll support Williams, sure, but he’s not going all in unless something drastic changes.

And in other Mitch Strings news, expect Mitch to give significant support to Andy Barr, but for different reasons. While Ben Chandler running against Mitch in 2014 seems unlikely to me, he can’t count it out. And there’s a big difference between facing Ben Chandler coming off an easy 2012 win with a large war chest, and a bloodied Ben Chandler coming off a 5-10 point win who spent his entire fortune on staying in the 6th Congressional seat. Andy Barr will be Mitch’s tool to weaken Chandler, even if he knows that his chances of pulling off the win this time are slim.

But really though, Mitch McConnell wishes David Williams the best, he swears…

Rand Paul’s budget plan rejected 7-90, campaign promise broken

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May 26, 2011

Look at Rand Paul being all important and influential. His Collectivist 5-Year Budget Plan went up for a vote last night and… got 7 votes. No, not in committee, in the full Senate.

I will say this, though. I assumed that there would not be a single Republican to join him in voting for this weird, Draconian budget, but I was wrong. Six brave souls joined him in his effort to bring about free market anarchy and suffering.

And who was among that six? Mitch McConnell.

Yes, I was saying how Mitch McConnell was in trouble yesterday over voting for the Paul Ryan plan to kill Medicare, but… this budget? Every top tier Democrat under the sun in Kentucky is now practically salivating over the chance to take on Mitch McConnell in 2014. In case you don’t remember what’s in that Rand Paul budget that McConnell just voted for… oh my:

But here’s another big shocker on who voted for this bill: Rand Paul. Yes, Rand Paul voted for his own budget bill, despite the fact that it does not balance the budget. Which is what he gave his solemn promise to never do in the primary against Trey Grayson last year, and derisively mocked Grayson for not promising to do.

Congrats on deceiving the people of Kentucky, Rand.

But hey, at least you’ll be a Senator longer than Mitch McConnell, right Rand?

Ben Chandler (D-KY) Goes All in Against GOP’s War on Medicare

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May 23, 2011

Well, look who we have here… it’s Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler!

Despite what you are hearing in the news, there are people in Washington committed to protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. I fought to protect Social Security in 2005, and I’ll do whatever I have to do to protect these programs in the future.

We’re swooning!

Here’s how Chandler’s op-ed in today’s Herald-Leader begins:

Nearly since the birth of Social Security and Medicare, these two successful programs have been under constant attack.

I remember so clearly in 2005 fighting against President George W. Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security and gamble seniors’ benefits in the stock market.

Imagine what would have happened if seniors’ benefits had been in the stock market during the 2008 financial crisis. Instead of learning from that experience, today our vital American programs are again under attack.

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin recently released the new, very disturbing, Republican budget. To pay for tax breaks for billionaires and international corporations who ship jobs overseas, the budget makes drastic changes and cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

So drastic, in fact, that the conservative-leaning Wall Street Journal said the plan would “essentially end Medicare.”

One out of every seven people I represent is on Medicare.

The new budget turns Medicare into a voucher system, ending the guaranteed benefits our seniors have earned. Today, Medicare directly pays most of the health care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, even if they are very sick. But if this proposal goes through, seniors will be forced to buy health care on the private market, leaving them at the mercy of insurance companies — just like they were 50 years ago before Medicare.

It goes on from there and is well worth the read. It’s refreshing to see Chandler come out swinging for a change (for the right side).

So did Ben Chandler see this as a no-brainer? Or did he get raptured and a zombie John Yarmuth clone took over his body? Or is he setting himself up for his big run for U.S. Senate?

Because here’s what Mitch McConnell said yesterday on FOX News:

CHRIS WALLACE: What do you think of the Ryan plan on Medicare?

MITCH McCONNELL: Well, what Paul has done here is implement a premium support proposal at the end of the period, which is a very sensible way to go to try to save Medicare. … What Paul Ryan would do is to empower grandma in the private market, to shop and get the best possible deal.

And that, friends, seems like a winning campaign issue that could really resonate state-wide (especially from a candidate who’s already won a statewide election).

Mitch McConnell will get to vote to kill Medicare

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April 28, 2011

As we and others have mentioned many times, the House Republicans recently voted to end Medicare so that they can give a huge tax cut to millionaires. This move will most likely haunt them next year, if not for the next decade.

And now some more wonderful news. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will bring the Ryan budget to a vote in the Senate. That’s right, all of those fiscally conservative Republican Senators will finally have their chance to vote for a bill that kills Medicare and gives Trump a tax cut, all so can get out of debt in… 30 years or so. It will be their shining moment in the long fight against socialized medicine.

Step right this way, Mitch McConnell. Pay no attention to that 2014 re-election campaign, though. Just listen to Reagan and do the right thing.

McConnell, Chandler need your money

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April 17, 2011

Mitch McConnell and Ben Chandler can’t do this for free. They need your financial support. And they’re getting it! Y’all are so nice to support Mitch and Ben like this.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has significantly stepped up his fundraising activities in 2011, a sign that the Kentucky Republican is taking no chances for a reelection bid that’s more than three years away.

According to new filings, the Kentucky Republican pulled in a whopping $1 million in the first three months of 2011, more than doubling his haul from a quarter before and putting him on pace with candidates facing election next year. In total, McConnell is sitting on $1.9 million in his campaign warchest.

Asked last December if he planned on seeking reelection in 2014, McConnell, 69, told POLITICO: “I’m not planning on running; I am running,” he said definitively.

And like this:

Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) survived one of the closest reelection scares for any Democrat in 2010, and his first quarter fundraising didn’t disappoint, as he brought in over $273,000.

But several other targets posted lackluster numbers. In North Carolina, the four Democrats likely to see their districts drawn to their disadvantage all raised less than $150,000. Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) raised just $77,000, Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) brought in just $33,000, Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) raised $140,000, and Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) raised just under $150,000.

As a sidenote, it’s good to see that Chandler is vote-after-vote alligning himself with the very Representatives that can’t raise money and probably won’t not make it back. If Ben can pull out 2012, he’ll be even more alone with his regular votes for the Republican Party.

So keep giving, folks.




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