“Hard working moms in Kentucky know that every penny saved counts – but Congressman Andy Barr is wasting our tax dollars to benefit himself.”
That’s what Elisabeth Jensen says in a release out Wednesday afternoon in which she challenges Andy Barr to forgo 5 Wasteful Perks, including the first class air fares he votes to give himself and to reject campaign contributions from the Big Banks and Investment Firms that got bailed out by the American people (and which heavily underwrite Andy Barr’s candidacy).
As usual in the cacophony of the US Senate race, the one always clear and always straightforward voice has stepped in to clarify the “Mediscare” issue. In an email to supporters, Alison Lundergan Grimes’ grandmother, Elsie Case, nails it:
Once elected U.S. Senator, I know Alison will work hard to protect the benefits and programs that seniors like me have paid into over a lifetime of hard work. She knows we deserve what we’ve earned.
She will support policies that strengthen programs like Social Security and Medicare, while also preserving these programs for our children and grandchildren.
And that is the point. McConnell and his supporters can bandy about all the want the lame defenses that the Ryan budget didn’t target “current” recipients of Medicare for privatization. The point is less that that someone like Donald Disney is going to wake up tomorrow and find that his Medicare benefits have been slashed by Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republicans… it’s that you might wake up tomorrow and find that your Medicare benefits have been slashed by Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republicans.
Here’s a funny little fact about time: the Grandparents of today raise the grandparents of tomorrow.
The Republican Party wants to privatize Medicare. They want to end Medicare as we know it. And in fact, they have always wanted to end Medicare, even from its very conception. The goal of Medicare privatization is to rip the assurance of medical care away from the seniors of tomorrow.
If you are working today, you are paying into Medicare*. If you’re retiring next week, you expect it to be there. If you’re retiring in five years, or ten years, or twenty years… you expect it to be there because that’s what you’ve worked for. The whole idea of paying into Medicare is that you will have it when you need it. The whole idea of the Ryan plan and of Republican attempts to privatize Medicare — ideas Mitch McConnell supports — is to chip away at it any way they can and by pinching off its branches, starving its roots.
(* If you’re like one of tens of millions of Americans who isn’t working today because the Republicans spent 8 years cratering the economy, then you’ll be in a really, really terrible position when Medicare gets privatized and you find yourself at the whim of private insurers.)
In 2011 when Paul Ryan was pushing the budget McConnell claimed would “empower Grandma” on the private market there was a reason the AARP opposed Ryan’s plan. The AARP is one of America’s largest membership organizations… and chances are pretty damn good that if you aren’t over the age of 65, then you’re probably not a member of AARP.
But America’s seniors today get together to fight for America’s seniors tomorrow. For you little ones out there, imagine a bunch of Marvel Avengers with grey hair, false teeth and the supernatural power of being older and wiser than you.
The Republican agenda — an agenda that only gets stronger if Republicans take over the United States Senate — is to destroy Medicare. That’s what Elsie Case is telling you, and that’s what Donald Disney is telling you.
But Mitch McConnell and his campaign don’t listen to their elders. They’re too busy disrespecting them. And they call that “empowering Grandma.”
Well… there’s an empowered Grandma in their midst and it doesn’t seem like she’s alone.
Yesterday the McConnell campaign was bending over backwards trying to push out half-formed fact checks in an effort to d-i-s-t-a-n-c-e Mitch from the privatization of Medicare he supports. Unfortunately for Mitch, he’s on the record saying “I voted for the Ryan budget.”
Here’s the latest ad from the Grimes campaign. It seems clear, no matter how frantically Team Mitch hits that panic button, McConnell’s support for privatizing Medicare is going to be an ongoing issue in this race:
Have you seen Alison Lundergan Grimes’ new campaign commercial? It features a retired coal miner making a very clear point about Republican attempts to privatize Medicare — something they’ve been trying desperately to do since their efforts to render Medicare unconstitutional fifty years ago failed. And an effort Mitch McConnell has supported. Here’s the ad:
The ad rankled the McConnell campaign.They said the fact that Grimes is hitting McConnell over the privatization of Medicare was proof that the Grimes camp was hitting “the panic button.”
“It says a lot about the candidacy of Alison Lundergan Grimes that she’s a full four months away from the election and she already hit the panic button by resorting to the oldest, most cynical attack in the Obama playbook to scare Kentucky seniors,” said Allison Moore, McConnell’s spokeswoman. “The simple reality is that Sen. McConnell has fought to protect Medicare, while Alison Lundergan Grimes and her political benefactors have raided it by $700 billion to pay for Obamacare.”
Later, fact checkers took a look at the Grimes ad and they questioned some of its points. The AP says that McConnell “cast no such vote” and then goes on to explain that McConnell supported the bill in question:
McConnell cast no such vote.
The bill he supported in 2011, on which the ad’s claim is based, proposed moving ahead on a plan in the House by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to privatize Medicare over time.
In emails and tweets, the McConnell folks seized on the one line — “cast no such vote” — and conveniently ignored the very next line — “the bill he supported.”
The McConnell vote the ad refers to is a procedural one that McConnell did in fact cast. McConnell cast a “Yea” in a losing 40-57 vote in the US Senate to consider the Ryan budget… a bill which the AP fact checkers say McConnell supported.
And if you have any doubt about the fact that McConnell supported the Ryan Budget’s privatization of Medicare, you need look no further than this video of McConnell himself advocating for and explaining the benefits of the Ryan Budget, just two weeks after his vote to proceed with consideration of the Ryan Budget that Mitch McConnell clearly and without doubt supported:
At this moment, I will empower your imagination to consider what McConnell’s “empowerment of Grandma” might look like.
Done? How’d Grandma do on the private market? Did she pick the right penny stocks? Did she have a good time getting hosed by unhelpful and rude customer service reps on the other end of an interminable hold line?
The McConnell people also seized on another point from the fact checkers. The guy in the Grimes video would’ve been exempt from the privatization of Medicare that Mitch McConnell supports.
Here’s Mitch McConnell’s top advisor tweeting out the truth!
So according to Team Mitch — the only grandmas they want to bankrupt are the grandmothers of tomorrow! That’s a hell of a plan for the future. And it’s an admission of guilt, too: Mitch McConnell supports the privatization of Medicare. His own campaign tweets so.
And it gets worse. It’s almost seems like it’s the McConnell campaign that’s hitting the panic button, not Grimes. For example, let’s revisit the quote from the McConnell campaign about the Grimes ad:
“The simple reality is that Sen. McConnell has fought to protect Medicare, while Alison Lundergan Grimes and her political benefactors have raided it by $700 billion to pay for Obamacare.”
1) “The simple reality is that Sen. McConnell has fought to protect Medicare”
McConnell has only “fought to protect” Medicare if you accept Mitch McConnell’s argument that privatization of Medicare is the way one protects Medicare. It’s like saying that the only way to fight to protect Mitch McConnell is to remove Mitch McConnell from office (in which case, count us in… let’s all fight to protect Mitch McConnell).
2) “Alison Lundergan Grimes and her political benefactors have raided [Medicare] by $700 billion to pay for Obamacare”
This claim is demonstrably and unequivocally false. Alison Lundergan Grimes is not yet a US Senator so it’s sort of impossible for her to raid pretty much anything. And even if she were already a US Senator, the McConnell campaign is flat out lying to the voters of Kentucky and to members of the press when they claim that Obamacare raided $700 billion from Medicare. That’s simply not true. It has never been true and it has been proven laughably false time and again.
Republicans keep trotting out this false $700 billion claim and it never ceases to be false. It was false in 2012 when Mitt Romney was pretending it was true [here] and it was false last month when Karl Rove’s Super PAC, Crossroads GPS, was claiming it was true [here] and it remains false today when the McConnell campaign falsely and deceitful continue to claim that it is true.
But Mitch McConnell doesn’t have a problem lying to Kentucky voters. Here’s the line again in a fundraising email his team sent out today:
Why does Alison Lundergan Grimes have to lie about Senator McConnell’s record of leadership for Kentucky? Because she is trying to hide her own record of being an avid supporter of Barack Obama’s liberal agenda. While Mitch has always stood strong for Kentucky seniors, Alison Lundergan Grimes supported the $700 billion raid of Medicare to pay for Obamacare.
Again — it’s unclear how Alison supported a raid that never actually took place and it is false to claim that the there was a $700 billion raid when as point of historical record, there was none.
But you know what is true? The Paul Ryan Budget that Mitch McConnell supported, like the one which would “empower Grandma,” actually would have raided $700 Billion from Medicare.
It is Addison Mitchell McConnell, not Alison Lundergan Grimes, who “supported the $700 billion raid of Medicare.”
Not to be deterred by facts, the McConnell campaign compiled all of their lies and selective quotes and abuse of the truth together into this new fast-and-loosely concocted campaign ad out today:
It’s sad that after 30 years in office, Mitch McConnell doesn’t have an actual record to stand on and instead must resort to lies and distortion in order to protect himself. You’d think that a Minority Leader would be more interested in leading… and would have actual factual arguments to make on his own behalf.
But instead, Mitch puts out that ad that repeats his $700 billion lie and then attempts to scare Kentucky’s seniors.
And all that from a man who wants to “empower Grandma”?
Is that how you empower your grandmother? By lying to her? By scaring her?
If so, if you treat your grandma the way Mitch wants to treat your grandma, then clearly your grandmother deserves better.
If you’ve been following along, you know that 6th District Congressman Garland H. Barr IV is one of a cabal of Kentucky representatives actively seeking to defend an antiquated horse show practice that involves torturing horses. Barr, along with Sens. McConnell and Paul, and Rep. Hal Rogers make up this stable of pro-Horse Torture politicos and they’ve been fighting behind the scenes to block new legislation that would put an end to this type of horse torture. [See: here, here.]
This week’s Lexington Junior League Charity Horse Show is at risk of guilt by association.
No less than U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R- Lexington, during a recent meeting with the editorial board, cited the 77-year-old show as an example of our state’s Tennessee walking horse tradition.
“Oh, no, absolutely not,” a staffer at the American Saddlebred Horse Association assured us. The Lexington-based association represents riders and horses now competing at The Red Mile in the world’s largest outdoor Saddlebred show, the first leg of their sport’s triple crown.
Andy Barr says the Lexington Junior League endorses horse torture! And if horse torture’s good enough for the Junior League Horse Show then goshdarnit, horse torture’s good enough for Garland H. Barr IV.
Clearly — the Junior League was having none of it. They shot down Andy’s absurd (and absurdly hilarious) contention in no uncertain terms. If you’re like Andy Barr and you want to see tortured horses tortured right in front of your eyes, then the Junior League Horse Show is notfor you.
If you’d like to see a pretty amazing spectacle of horse showmanship conducted by horse lovers in front of an audience of Americans who don’t want to see horses tortured, you should check out this week’s Junior League Horse Show. Contrary to what Congressman Andy Barr says, they don’t torture horses there.
And seriously — the Junior League Horse Show is great. I’ve been. Even if you have no idea what’s going on (and I didn’t) it’s entertaining enough just trying to figure out how the judges come up with their scores. Also: it’s for charity. Added bonus: they don’t torture horses.
It’s happening right now and you should go (unless you’re like Andy Barr and you only want to see horses that’ve been tortured):
2014 Show Schedule
Wednesday, July 9th
Thursday, July 10th
Friday, July 11th
Saturday, July 12th
Frankly, I’m surprised at Andy. Not that he supports horse torture… that’s been clear for a while. He obviously doesn’t have a very high opinion of women [see: here, here], but as a fellow Blue Devil and Lexington native it’s almost unfathomable that Andy Barr ran afoul of one of the primary rules of Lexington living:
Don’t ever, ever, ever cross the Junior League.
One person who isn’t likely to run afoul of the Junior League is Elisabeth Jensen, Andy Barr’s opponent in this November’s 6th District Election. Ms. Jensen is the only candidate on the ballot for Congress in the 6th District who is on the record opposing horse torture. [See: Here, Here.]
If you want horses to be tortured, vote for Andy Barr. On the other hand, if you think that horses should not be tortured, vote for Elisabeth Jensen. (And go to the Junior League Charity Horse Show.)
The anti-horse torture bill Andy Barr and Mitch McConnell oppose isn’t some animal rights claptrap, either. It’s got 297 co-sponsors in the House of Represntatives and 57 in the Senate. That’s a huge bipartisan reality — all but a very few extreme reps in Washington are opposed to horse torture.
The sponsor of the House bill is Kentucky’s own 1st District Conservative Republica, Exxon Ed Whitffield. This web page agrees with Ed Whitfield on virtually nothing… but when it comes to not wanting horses to be tortured… Andy Barr and Mitch McConnell are on one side of the fence, and Ed Whitfield and the majority of the House of Representatives and a majority of the United States Senate are on the other.
In an age when the folks in DC can agree on nothing, all but a very few extremist horse-torture apologists agree that horse torture is wrong.
Andy Barr, unfortunately, wants to continue to defend horse torture.
For his part, Ed Whitfield expects his bill will come up for a vote… and Andy Barr and Mitch McConnell won’t be able to stop it. Whitfield told USA Today:
“Despite intense opposition from Tennessee pro-soring groups, I am confident this legislation will come to a vote,” Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., the chief sponsor, told the Gannett Washington Bureau.
“It is difficult for even well-funded opposition to deny the House of Representatives the opportunity to vote on a bill that has 68 percent of the House as co-sponsors, and overwhelming support from veterinary groups and horse organizations in every state,” Whitfield said.
And here’s some video of Whitfield and others from a week or so ago if you’d like to see a brief bit of the horse torture Andy Barr defends:
The non-profit conservative policy and advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which is partially funded by the conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch, has hired Republican strategist Julia Bright Crigler as its state director. Crigler will launch an operation that will have two regional offices and a long-term presence in pushing for conservative changes, particularly in fiscal matters, in Frankfort and potentially local communities as well.
Crigler is married to one of Mitch McConnell’s state field representatives. And Americans for Prosperity is coming to Kentucky to focus its efforts on the Kentucky Senate Race.
The Koch Brothers run Koch Industries, a massive private company that has its hands in… well, you don’t have to listen to me. Check out this insanely creepy video they made that’s either an advertisement or a satirical attack ad on themselves:
That sounds really nice! The heartland! Expanded to every state, involved in everything… even things you don’t know about… even things no one will ever tell you about… like poisonous chemicals and farmer’s market tomatoes!
This announcement from the Kochs ties in nicely to an upcoming event. There’s a documentary about the Koch Brothers that’s now in theaters — Citizen Koch — and is traveling around the country. It comes from the Oscar-nominated filmmakers behind the great Hurricane Katrina doc, Trouble the Water and the co-producers of Fahrenheit 9/11.
Some folks in Lexington are trying to bring it to town and they just need a few more people to sign up. You should definitely sign up… but you should also take a friend. For a lot of people, the “Koch Brothers” means nothing… but once you’re introduced to the Brothers Koch, you won’t soon forget them. And based on the track record of Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, the filmmakers behind Citizen Koch, it ain’t gonna be a boring watch neither.