One thing coaches fear is a player with a loose tongue. He may say something derogatory about an opposing team that can be used to gin up the opposition on the eve of a big game. Over the years, these “fighting words” have inspired many weaker teams to prevail over stronger, cocky opponents.
Feeling his oats after a brief appearance before the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) committed such a faux pas during an interview with The New York Times which was published Saturday.
McConnell and two other Republican senators with questionable conservative credentials are facing strong Tea Party-backed challengers in their primaries this year. McConnell simply could not hide his disdain. “I think we are going to crush them everywhere,” he told the Times. “I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country.”
To add insult to injury, McConnell went on, “I know this: Politics doesn’t like losers.” He was obviously referring to Tea Party losses in states like Delaware, Colorado and Nevada. McConnell didn’t bother to mention that he helped his BFF, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), prevail against Sharon Angle in the Silver State by refusing to endorse the GOP nominee. Nor did he mention big Tea Party wins with Rand Paul who is now the junior senator in his home state, along with Marco Rubio in Florida and Ted Cruz in Texas.
All three of these Tea Party senators scored big with the young crowd at CPAC while McConnell’s appearance was a bit unsettling. When he presented a rifle from the NRA to retiring senator Tom Coburn, he looked as out of place as a pig in a tutu. Perhaps he had his hearing aids turned up too loud or simply misunderstood the smattering of applause he received from the crowd.
Earth to McConnell: The applause was not for you. It was for the gun and for Coburn, a true conservative!
By Monday, McConnell was trying to walk back some of his brash comments by saying they were not directed at the Tea Party. He now wants everybody to know he really loves (hug, hug, kiss, kiss) the Tea Party. His remarks were directed against the Senate Conservative Fund which he called “a rogue political operation.” Oh!
That mean old SCF founded by former senator Jim DeMint, who is now president of the highly respected Heritage Foundation, helped elect conservatives like Paul and Rubio. In addition, it raised funds for Mike Lee (R-Utah), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) and Ron Johnson (R.-Wis.).
McConnell’s real problem with the SCF is that it is working, along with Tea Party groups, to unseat McConnell in the primary by supporting challenger Matt Bevin.
McConnell, who has never held a job outside of government but is now one of the richest men in the Senate, has angered conservatives by playing both ends against the middle during his political career. He often votes to advance legislation that is anathema to them and then votes against these bills when his votes no longer matter. He recently handed Obama a blank check by raising the debt ceiling with no strings attached.
McConnell’s challenger is a most worthy opponent who inspires crowds wherever he speaks. Bevin is a former Army captain who, unlike McConnell, has run a successful business. He and his wife have nine children, ages 4-15, four adopted from Ethiopia.
It is difficult to defeat an incumbent senator, particularly one in a powerful leadership position who has beholden businessmen writing checks in gratitude for the perks he has steered their way. However, a party is only as good as its leadership and McConnell has been a poor leader.
Bevin is still far behind McConnell in the polls but he has steadily gained ground. And here is a surprising fact: He is outpolling McConnell against Democrat challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.
This is the run-up to the “big game” in Kentucky — the party primary in May. Could it be that McConnell’s “fighting words” against conservatives who dare to challenge entrenched Republican senators will inspire an outpouring of support for Bevin — not just in Kentucky but all across the U.S.? His campaign reports that donations are pouring in after McConnell’s latest cheeky comments. Make no mistake. They need every dime.
McConnell has tons of money at his disposal and is now running attack ads against Bevin and the SCF.
It doesn’t matter where you live. You can make a big difference in this election. You can vote with your campaign donation https://secure.giveworks.net/bevin/donate/home and the time is now!