In the Horse Capital of the World, Andy Barr’s Hilarious Defense of Horse Torture Stance Blows Up In His Face

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.]

Well, in an interview with the Herald Leader Editorial Board recently the question of Andy Barr’s support of horse torture came up and Andy shot back with an unintentionally hilarious explanation:

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.

That’s right!

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 not for 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 Morning Session Evening Session
Wednesday, July 9th 9:00am 5:30pm
Thursday, July 10th 9:00am 6:30pm
Friday, July 11th 9:00am 6:30pm
Saturday, July 12th N/A 6:30pm

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. 

Just don’t.

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.]

In summary:

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:

ABC US News | ABC Sports News

Koch Brothers Hire Wife of McConnell Aide, Set Up Shop in Kentucky — as ‘Citizen Koch’ Hits Theaters

CN|2 reports:

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.

Here, watch the trailer and then get over to Tugg and sign up:

Andy Barr Continues to Mislead in His War on 400,000 Insured Kentuckians (or: Is Barr against coal subsidies?)

Andy Barr keeps on doubling down in his War on Insured Kentuckians. Here’s the latest from Garland Hale Barr IV:

Obamacare Costs Hurting Kentucky Families

As I travel across Kentucky’s Sixth District I hear over and over how Obamacare has negatively impacted many Kentucky families, causing their premiums to go up and increasing their financial burden.

A recent study by Forbes showed health care premiums have increased an average of 70 percent for men and 40 percent for women living in the Sixth District.

This line of attack from Barr is simply false. As we’ve discussed before, the study Barr cites reverentially comes from a far right wing think tank that advocates for dismantling every facet of the social safety net including Medicare and Social Security. (Not surprisingly, Barr also supports the privatization of Medicare and Social Security.)

This study, published in Forbes, lead some (apparently including Andy Barr) to the misleading conclusion that regular people have seen their premiums shoot through the roof under their new Kynect plans.

That’s simply not the case — as the study itself points out, the “average” premium increase Barr cites fails to account for the subsidies involved in the law and thus is not an accurate estimate of how much most people in Kentucky (or anywhere) are paying for their insurance.

The fact is, Kynect comes with subsidies. Andy Barr either did not read, did not understand or simply chose to ignore this very meaningful line from the study he cites:

“Remember that these figures represent the underlying, unsubsidized health insurance prices.”

People who qualify for tax credits through the federal health care exchange pay about $82 a month for their premium. And 87% of the people who’ve signed up for health care through that exchange have qualified for that subsidy.

Andy Barr claims that he’s talking to “hurting” families who are all experiencing 70% increases in their monthly insurance premiums. Either he’s not actually talking to “hurting” families, or… and this would be shocking… Andy Barr’s not actually talking to anyone.

The study Andy Barr cites is bogus and the claims Andy Barr makes about the study are bogus.

What’s even sadder is that Andy Barr cherry-picked his conservative studies. Not only did he cherry pick a stat from his chosen study, he ignored a more thorough study by other conservative economists who found that the “Obamacare stickershock” wasn’t really all that shocking.

Now… Andy could make an argument against the subsidies. He hasn’t. So far he just keeps lying to the voters of the 6th District and so far no one seems to have questioned him about it. But he could make an argument that subsidies are wrong. That would first mean he’d have to admit that he’s been lying about the cost of insurance and that he’s been lying about talking to voters who say Kynect is “causing their premiums to go up and increasing their financial burden.”

But even if Andy admitted he was lying about all that because he was trying to make a larger point — that the cost of health insurance is too high and is artificially masked by the subsidies that are a component of the law – he’d still be in a hard place.

First of all, over 400,000 Kentuckians have signed up for health insurance under the Kynect insurance exchange. If Andy Barr were successful in repealing the law — and unlike Mitch McConnell and the Chamber of Commerce, Andy Barr remains overzealously committed to repealing the law — all those Kentuckians would have their health insurance ripped violently right out of their hands.

Second of all, Andy Barr would have to make the case against subsidies. He could certainly try to do that, but what would his argument be? That the government shouldn’t subsidize health care for its citizens? How would Andy Barr explain that? He doesn’t support subsidies for Struggling Mom and her two kids, but he does support tens of billions of dollars in subsidies for the oil industry? And what about Coal? Closing just three tax loopholes in the coal industry would save $2.6 Billion over the next decade that we’re currently giving away in the form of tax credits to coal corporations.

Andy Barr could certainly do that. He could take that stance and advocate for the elimination of all government subsidies, including the elimination of the billions and billions and billions the US government hands over to the coal and gas and oil industries. And Andy Barr wouldn’t be alone in suggesting that. He might really piss off his supporters, but he’d still have the folks at the Manhattan Institute. The same people who came up with the bogus study Andy Barr keeps trotting out there are big proponents of ending all subsidies for the energy sector:

“To be clear, all energy sources should be forced to compete, fair field, no favor. Let’s eliminate all energy subsidies.”

And thirdly, Andy Barr would have to ignore the more obvious culprit in the ever rising cost of health care (a culprit that long predates Kynect) and not say one thing about the actions of greedy executives at health insurance companies who make their billions off of you (and your kids) getting sick.

Kentucky Senate Race Gets Closer to Pulling the Trigger on Biathlon Debate Challenge

The two campaigns are trading shots on the 2nd Amendment this afternoon.

First, Team Mitch fired off this round:

But the Grimes folks returned fire, standing their ground:

There’s clearly only one way to settle this debate… and that’s to have a debate, with gun shooting. As proposed here last month, it seems the Kentucky Senate race is moving a step closer to this historic event:


Modeled after the Winter Olympic sport in which cross country skiers must ski for miles then stop and shoot tiny targets at a distance, the Grimes/McConnell Biathlon Debate would pit the two candidates against each other in a test of fortitude, stamina, general knowledge and gun shootin’ abilities.

The historic event could take place at this year’s Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot which takes place October 10-12th in West Point, KY.

The only way this doesn’t happen is if the McConnell people refuse the challenge — looking at those two photos above, it seems there may only be one Kentucky Senate candidate who knows how to handle a firearm.

Ousted Head of Bailout King AIG Gives Big $$$ to McConnell (or: It’s not Tom Hanks, but…)

There was Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, fresh from his easy primary win in Kentucky, who said in his keynote remarks that the time had come for the G.O.P. to stop being the handmaiden to Wall Street and instead attend to the anxieties of the middle class. “Our average voter is not John Galt,” McConnell said, referring to the visionary hero of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” that sacred text of the libertarian right. “Hymns to entrepreneurialism are, as a practical matter, largely irrelevant.”

Sam Tanenhaus, “Can the GOP Be the Party of Ideas,” July 6th, 2014 , The New York Times


The McConnell campaign’s been busy working to tie Alison Lundergan Grimes to universally hated American pop-culture figures such as the despicable America-hating actor Tom Hanks in an effort to show that she’s out of touch with regular Tom Hanks-hating voters.

Mitch McConnell on the other hand is a man very much in touch.

Last Monday after five of the six men on the Supreme Court delivered their 5-4 Hobby Lobby decision, the High Court dealt with other business — or, in the case of former AIG chieftain Maurice Greenberg, declined to deal with other business.

Greenberg was ousted as CEO of insurance giant AIG in 2005 because of a billion dollar accounting scandal and is now trying to take on the federal government for an ‘unlawful bailout’ of AIG (he thinks its unlawful for different reasons than you might) — but the Supreme Court rejected Greenberg’s arguments and let the lower court’s ruling stand. (As of 2009, Greenberg remained AIG’s second largest shareholder; the largest was the US government.)

The AIG bailout is the largest in US history and Greenberg, of course, says he had nothing to do with what led to the the trillion dollar company’s implosion. After his ouster at AIG and the company’s subsequent collapse, Greenberg has busied himself building up a new insurance giant, C.V. Starr, which has been described by those in the big money insurance biz as “A.I.G. 2

Greenberg and Starr set about poaching AIG execs to his new company which set up shop in an abandoned Lehman Brothers office space — and business has been going swell ever since. In February of this year, for example, Greenberg and C.V. Starr took control of a Chinese insurance company – the first foreign “takeover” of a state-backed insurer in China. Good for them.

Between 2007 and 2009 — the time leading up to and immediately after the government’s bailout of AIG — AIG bundled at least $40,000 in campaign contributions for Mitch McConnell and now it seems “AIG 2″ is continuing to support their old friend.

Maurice “Hank” Greenberg has directly given Mitch McConnell $10,300 between May 2012 and March 2013. Over the same period, Hank’s wife Corinne and their son Lawrence threw in another $6,600. The company, Starr Insurance Holdings, gave Mitch $10,000 in May of 2012 and Starr associates tossed in an extra $4,875.

In total, former AIG chief Maurice Greenberg and his company CV Starr have given Mitch McConnell at least $31,775.

Greenberg’s argument, in its simplest sense, in the AIG case is that the government shouldn’t have bailed the company out as he lost a lot of money in the deal and it had no right to do so. The Supreme Court apparently didn’t see it that way. Neither did Mitch McConnell. The AIG bailout was part of the TARP agreement and when TARP passed, McConnell said: “This has been the Senate at its finest.”

Perhaps Hank Greenberg wants to see more of the same.

Federal 2013-03-15 $2,700.00 GREENBERG, MAURICE NEW YORK, NY CV Starr & Co McConnell Victory Kentucky
Federal 2013-03-31 $2,600.00 GREENBERG, MAURICE NEW YORK, NY CV Starr & Co Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2013-11-12 $2,500.00 GREENBERG, CORINNE NEW YORK, NY CV Starr & Co Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2013-09-26 $1,600.00 BLOCH, JULIA MRS WASHINGTON, DC Starr Senior Fellow Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2013-11-12 $625.00 MATTHEWS, EDWARD PRINCETON, NJ CV Starr & Co Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2013-11-12 $625.00 LUNDQVIST, BERTIL NEW YORK, NY CV Starr & Co Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2013-11-12 $625.00 SMITH, HOWARD NEW YORK, NY CV Starr & Co Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2013-11-12 $625.00 GREENBERG, LAWRENCE NEW YORK, NY CV Starr & Co Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2012-05-02 $5,000.00 Starr Insurance Holdings Starr Insurance Holdings Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2012-05-02 $5,000.00 Starr Insurance Holdings Starr Insurance Holdings Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2012-03-16 $2,500.00 BLOCH, JULIA MRS WASHINGTON, DC Starr Senior Fellow Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2012-09-30 $2,500.00 GREENBERG, CORRINE NEW YORK, NY CV Starr & Co Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2012-05-10 $2,500.00 GREENBERG, MAURICE NEW YORK, NY CV Starr & Co Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2012-06-11 $1,000.00 STARR, KENNETH MR WACO, TX Baylor University Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2012-03-16 $1,000.00 BLOCH, JULIA MRS WASHINGTON, DC Starr Senior Fellow Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2012-05-10 $1,000.00 MATTHEWS, EDWARD PRINCETON, NJ CV Starr & Co Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2012-05-10 $1,000.00 SMITH, HOWARD NEW YORK, NY CV Starr & Co Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2012-05-10 $1,000.00 LUNDQUIST, BERTIL NEW YORK, NY CV Starr & Co Mitch McConnell (R)
Federal 2012-05-10 $1,000.00 GREENBERG, LAWRENCE NEW YORK, NY CV Starr & Co Mitch McConnell (R)

Mitch McConnell’s China Problem (or: Happy Independence Day!)

“I could be entirely wrong but I think we’re not likely to see something like the coup in the Soviet Union last August I think it’s just going to happen. It’s gonna evolve. To the point where you wake up one day and look around and you can’t find a Communist with a flashlight.”

–Mitch McConnell, on China, in 1992.


It’s July 4th Weekend! Let’s celebrate America and American Independence by celebrating Mitch McConnell and all he’s done to help… China.

Those pants are a red menace, Chairman Mitch.

Two months ago, the Beatyville Enterprise asked Mitch McConnell what he would do to bring jobs to Lee County. McConnell’s response was simple and to the point: “That is not my job.”

Appearing in Beattyville, McConnell was asked by The Beattyville Enterprise what he was going to do to bring jobs to Lee County.

“Economic development is a Frankfort issue,” McConnell said. “That is not my job. It is the primary responsibility of the state Commerce Cabinet.”

Economic development, according to Mitch McConnell, is not one of his responsibilities as a United States Senator. Creating jobs in Kentucky is the duty of folks in Frankfort, not Mitch McConnell. Creating jobs in another country, on the other hand…

When the issue of Mitch McConnell and China comes up, many people make the mistake of conflating Mitch’s problem with Mitch’s wife, Elaine Chao, and this has led to racist and stupid attacks that serve only to distract from the actual issue of Mitch McConnell’s China problem. The fact that Ms. Chao’s family hails from a country that could, at any moment, be invaded by its Communist neighbor has nothing to do with Mitch’s China problem — and indeed if you came here hoping to read such an attack, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

When the Obama administration announced its new EPA rules on carbon emissions at the beginning of June, Mitch McConnell said: “This is the single worst blow to Kentucky’s economy in modern times.”


Even if we ignore reports that under the EPA’s new rules Kentucky could actually expand its carbon output, Mitch McConnell’s claim is not just false, it’s foolish.

In backing up his claim that the new EPA regs would be “the single worst blow to Kentucky’s economy in modern times,” Mitch said, “We’ve lost 7,000 coal mining jobs so far in Kentucky during the Obama years.” 

Mitch McConnell has served as Kentucky’s Senator for the past 30 years. When Mitch McConnell took office three decades ago, there were 36,814 coal mining jobs. By 2012, there were 14,083 coal mining jobs. [link, link]

To be more clear:

We’ve lost over 22,700 coal mining jobs so far in Kentucky during the McConnell years.

While Mitch McConnell seems perturbed that over the past six years — his own most recent term in office — 7,000 jobs have been lost, that’s nothing compared to what happened under Ronald Reagan. Between 1980 and 1988, Kentucky lost almost 16,000 coal mining jobs.

That’s not all. Under George H. W. Bush  – a period spanning McConnell’s 1st and 2nd terms in office — Kentucky lost another 6,000 jobs in just four years.  During McConnell’s 2nd and 3rd terms, or the Clinton years, Kentucky lost another 8,000 coal jobs.

In fact, the only time during Mitch McConnell’s entire career as Kentucky’s Senator that coal mining jobs increased was under George W. Bush and even then, it was only an increase of about 1,500 jobs. [link]

Judging by these numbers and based on Mitch McConnell’s own reasoning, the single worst blow to Kentucky’s economy came under Ronald Reagan.

But even that — because it’s still based on Mitch McConnell’s own reasoning — is false. If you were to judge “the single worst blow to Kentucky’s economy” by the number of jobs lost, one clear culprit is China and Mitch McConnell has long served as one of Communist China’s chief champions.


The bulk of U.S. fireworks are imported from China to the tune of $203.6 million in 2013. [link]

In 2001, China entered the World Trade Organization. Throughout the 1990s, Mitch McConnell was a leading voice advocating for normalized trade relations with China.

From 2001 to 2011, the state of Kentucky lost 44,100 jobs, many of them in manufacturing, to China. At the same time, the free trade Mitch McConnell pushed for with the promise that it would help our economy has created just 8,400 jobs over the same period. The total number of Kentucky jobs lost to China due to the opening of trade between 2001 and 2011 was 35,700. [link]

Thanks to policies pushed directly by Mitch McConnell, Kentucky’s lost more jobs to China in just the past 10 years than it’s lost in the declining coal market over the last three decades.








If you were looking for the single worst blow to Kentucky’s economy in modern times, it’s likely that the China free trade deal Mitch McConnell spent the 1990s pushing for is it. While McConnell waves his arms about the 7,000 coal jobs lost in the past six years, his advocacy of trade with China has cost Kentucky five times as many jobs in just four more years.

This is Mitch McConnell’s record — and yet, he seems ashamed to run on it.

Attacking Mitch McConnell over the jobs Kentucky has lost due to his push for unconditional free trade with China is nothing new. The DSCC hit Mitch over it, and other trade agreements, in a TV ad in 2008:

And the Grimes campaign is already going after Mitch on the issue as well. In her jobs plan released in January, Grimes lashes Mitch over jobs lost to China [link]:

I believe we can do more to ensure that Kentucky businesses and workers can compete successfully with China. Mitch McConnell does not think that the growing trade deficit with China is a problem. I couldn’t disagree more. Between 2001 and 2011, the U.S. trade deficit with China alone displaced or eliminated 35,700 Kentucky jobs.

During the same period, this trade deficit cost the U.S. 2.1 million manufacturing jobs, more than half of all manufacturing jobs lost.

The McConnell folks are obviously worried about such attacks. Their totally non-allied Super PAC, Kentuckians for Strong Leadership responded to some of Grimes’ claims with a research document and web video that pitted Grimes against Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear. Their point was a muddy one — basically, Grimes says Kentucky’s lost lots of jobs while McConnell’s been in the US Senate (which is true) and yet, according to Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, what Grimes says can’t be true because Steve Beshear has simultaneously touted the creation and repatriation of jobs to Kentucky.

How this argument helps the McConnell campaign is unclear. It is not just possible that Kentucky lost tremendous numbers of jobs under Mitch McConnell’s 30 years in office yet has gained some jobs under Steve Beshear’s last few, it is also accurate.

More to the point: The jobs Beshear touts and that Kentuckians for Strong Leadership trots out as a rebuttal to Grimes were created in Frankfort, not by Mitch McConnell. As you will recall, creating jobs in Kentucky is not actually Mitch McConnell’s job.

“Economic development is a Frankfort issue,” McConnell said. “That is not my job. It is the primary responsibility of the state Commerce Cabinet.”

So when Grimes says Kentucky lost jobs under McConnell’s “strong leadership” that has little to do, by Mitch’s own argument, with the fact that Beshear has been able to bring some jobs back.


Kentuckians for Strong Leadership was founded by Scott Jennings, longtime Karl Rove deputy and a former McConnell aide.

Three quarters of the money Kentuckians for Strong Leadership raised in the first half of last year came from the same people who fund Karl Rove’s American Crossroads Super PAC. [link]

Just 2% of the money Kentuckians for Strong Leadership raised in the first half of 2013 actually came from people in Kentucky. [link]

And in the second half of 2013, none of the money raised by Kentuckians for Strong Leadership came from people in Kentucky. [link]

In her jobs plan, Alison Lundergan Grimes promises that as Senator she would address China’s currency manipulation. Citing an Economic Policy Institute study, the Grimes jobs plan argues that correcting China’s manipulation would create 4.7 million jobs.

Indeed, China’s currency manipulation is one of the major causes of the ballooning of the US trade deficit with China since 2001 and thus a major cause of the 35,700 jobs Kentucky has lost thanks to the policies Mitch McConnell has spent two decades advocating. EPI explains:

While the value of its currency should have increased as China exported more and more goods, it has instead remained artificially low, and China has aggressively acquired dollars to further depress the value of its own currency. China has tightly pegged its currency to the U.S. dollar at a rate that encourages a large bilateral surplus with the United States. China had to purchase $453 billion in U.S. treasury bills and other securities between December 2008 and December 2009, alone, to maintain this peg. China has acquired a total of $2.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves as of December 2009. About 70% of these reserves are held in U.S. dollars. This intervention makes the yuan artificially cheap relative to the dollar, effectively subsidizing Chinese exports. The best estimates place this effective subsidy at roughly 40% of the U.S. dollar, even after recent appreciation in the yuan. Currency intervention also artificially raises the cost of U.S. exports to China by a similar amount, making U.S. goods less competitive in that country.

In a fascinating window into the inner-thoughts of the McConnell campaign, Team Mitch this past February put out an “infographic” titled “Follow the Leader” in which they suggested that Alison Lundergan Grimes was ripping off the ideas of Mitch McConnell.

Here’s how they put it on the Team Mitch Facebook page:

Alison Grimes is playing “follow the leader” because she knows that Mitch’s proven leadership is working for all Kentuckians. But don’t just take our word for it, check out this infographic which highlights the difference between leadership and campaign rhetoric.

The logic in the argument is interesting. Alison knows Mitch’s leadership is working and that’s why she’s copying him and so if you look at their info graphic you’ll see the difference between them. According to Mitch, Grimes is unfit for office because she shares his policy platforms.

The Facebook post itself links to a page that no longer exists – – and thus the infographic they teased also seems to have been disappeared from the McConnell site:



But were Mitch’s info graphic still on Mitch’s site, you’d be able to see that it ended with Mitch’s take on China and how Alison had supposedly copied it, and that Mitch — according to Mitch — has already lead the way on curbing China’s currency manipulation:

Mitch McConnell sponsored legislation in 2012 that protected over 1,150 Kentucky jobs that would have otherwise been negatively affected by Chinese trade practices. Mitch McConnell cosponsored legislation that would have required the Secretary of the Treasury to take action against countries engaging in currency manipulation.


Again: The McConnell campaign’s argument against Grimes is that she’s just like him and thus you shouldn’t vote for her.

While you ponder that, ponder this: The McConnell campaign claims that in 2012, the Kentucky Senator sponsored legislation that protected 1,150 jobs that would be affected by Chinese trade practices and that he co-sponsored legislation that would have required the Secretary of the Treasury to take action against countries engaging in currency manipulation.

Sounds promising. McConnell did help pass a bill in 2012 that was signed into law by President Barack Obama and which helped save jobs across the country and in Kentucky. Barack Obama said of the bill:

“I just signed a bill to help American companies that are facing unfair foreign competition,” the president said. “These companies employ tens of thousands of Americans in nearly 40 states. Because of subsidies from foreign governments, some of their foreign competitors are selling products at an artificially low price. That needs to stop.”

That’s a good achievement, and Mitch has a right to be proud of it… but it’s 1,100 jobs saved against his own record of exporting over 35,000 jobs to China.

McConnell further contention, that he pushed for a bill to take action against countries involved in currency manipulation, is more troubling. In 2011, Mitch McConnell actually tried to block legislation that would target China’s currency manipulation.

McConnell’s reputation as the “Guardian of Gridlock” is so well known, that’s what he calls himself.

“Some of the proudest moments in my own career that I can think of are thing’s that I’ve stopped.” –Mitch McConnell.

Mitch McConnell’s filibustered so many bills over the past three decades that in 2012 he finally filibustered himself. So it’s not surprising that when the US Senate got close to passing a bill on China’s currency manipulation, Mitch McConnell was out front trying to filibuster it.

But on this occasion, Mitch got stymied. McConnell’s attempt to filibuster the bill that would’ve force the US Treasury to address China’s currency manipulation was broken by his fellow Republican, Lindsey Graham.

Graham had harsh words for McConnell’s fixation on blocking legislation rather than focusing on the primary job of a US Senator, protecting America’s workforce:

Graham punctured a hole in McConnell’s strategy by shaming any lawmaker that would vote against moving forward on the China bill.

“Enough is enough,” Graham said. “I am sorry the amendment process around this place is so screwed up.

“I try to be a team player where I can be, because I believe Senator McConnell is doing a very good job. Senator Reid has got his agenda [but] it is not about Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell. It is about people in my state who will lose their job if we don’t do something,” Graham said.

Graham said he is tired of partisan squabbles over procedure, and urged his colleagues to act.

“The institution I need to be protecting is the American workforce, who is having their clock cleaned by a communist dictatorship who cheats,” Graham said.

Days later, the bill Mitch couldn’t stop passed the United States Senate over McConnell’s vehement objection:

On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill that would require the Treasury Department to order the Commerce Department to impose tough tariffs on certain Chinese goods in the event of a finding by the Treasury that China was improperly valuing its currency to gain an economic advantage.

The measure passed 63 to 35, with 16 Republican votes, an unusual dynamic in the Democrat-controlled Senate. It enjoyed rare support from members of both parties despite the strong disapproval of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, who pressed his party colleagues to vote against it.

Lindsey Graham blasted McConnell for not standing up to “a communist dictatorship who cheats” but he shouldn’t be surprised. McConnell’s never really stood up to China’s communist dictatorship – and that’s Mitch McConnell’s China problem.


The United States imported $4 million in U.S. flags last year, 97 percent of which came from China. [link]

Mitch McConnell spent most of the 1990s fighting for ‘permanent normal trade relation status’ with Communist China. In 2000, McConnell voted for that status and China was finally granted the PNTR. That helped pave the way for the WTO, the following year, to admit China into its ranks.

Of course, Mitch McConnell is hardly alone working to outsource the US economy to China. Lots of politicians on both sides of the aisle have done so, working together to deliver us to this place where the US trade deficit with China has grown from $10 Billion in 1990 to over $300 Billion today. [link]

“It’s not a huge problem,” Mitch McConnell told the Kentucky Post in 2006 in response to a question about the US trade deficit with China. “If you want to hold inflation down and if American consumers want high-quality goods at low prices, then the global economy is for you.”

And then McConnell hinted at his problem:

“The flip side of that is we want the Chinese market to be open … we want the global economy to be a two-way winner.”

Mitch McConnell’s China Problem isn’t just that he’s been complicit in making today’s complete imbalance happen. And Mitch McConnell’s China Problem isn’t only that his policies have lead to a lost of over 35,000 jobs in Kentucky. No, Mitch McConnell’s problem is bigger than that.

Not only does Mitch McConnell seem to unable to understand what’s happening, he’s been horrifically wrong about China and the effect of Free Trade from the beginning.

In 1992, McConnell argued that opening up trade with China would engage the Communist giant and lead to political reforms.

And McConnell went even further. Mitch McConnell said that America’s opening of trade with China would lead to a dramatic moment where “one day you wake up and you can’t find a Communist with a flashlight.”

Mitch McConnell’s China Problem is that he was wrong on China in 1992, and he’s been wrong about it ever since. McConnell’s justification for growing China’s economy was that it would help our own (it’s cost three million jobs) and that it would topple China’s Communist government (it hasn’t).

Two decades after Mitch said that and three decades after he took office, China’s Communist Party maintains its hold on that country and now, thanks to Mitch McConnell’s three decades of effort to grow China’s economy, they maintain a level of control over ours.

Happy Independence Day!

Mitch McConnell says it’s “not my job” to bring jobs to Kentucky and he says the trade deficit with China that’s led to over 35,000 jobs leaving Kentucky is “not a huge problem.”

Mitch McConnell also says, “I could be entirely wrong” and, unfortunately, he was.

“Again I could be entirely wrong but I think we’re not likely to see something like the coup in the Soviet Union last August I think it’s just going to happen. It’s gonna evolve. To the point where you wake up one day and look around and you can’t find a Communist with a flashlight.”