The fall of Allison Lundergan Grimes or how I learned that I don’t know diddly about politics

ALGIt was a beautiful dream. In late September, Kentucky Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes seemed positioned to unseat Republican minority leader and Koch lackey Mitch McConnell. After heavy rotation of this ad, wherein a shotgun-totin’ Grimes takes dead aim at a clay pigeon, declares her independence of the extremely unpopular (in Kentucky anyway) President Obama, and mocks McConnell’s evident lack of familiarity with firearms, Grimes held a 2 point lead according to a Louisville Courier-Journal poll released on October 10.

Now, I didn’t like the ad one bit.  In my view, Grimes committed a cardinal sin by opening with the statement: “I am not Barack Obama.” George Lakoff could have told her that when you tell somebody not to think of an elephant, the first thing they do is think of an elephant. Even worse, I thought, than linking the regionally despised President’s name to her own, Grimes failed to connect McConnell’s votes in the Senate to the economic privations of many blue grass state voters. But I was wrong – if the Courier-Journal’s early October poll is to be believed.

Two polls released since then, however,  show a resurgent McConnell. This past Friday, Rasmussen Reports showed McConnell up by 8 points and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee may have decided not to buy additional ad time in on Grimes’ behalf. What happened?  Simply put, Grimes ran into a media buzzsaw.

On Thursday October 9 Grimes refused to tell the Louisville Courier Journal whether she voted for President Obama in the 2008 and 2012 general elections. The interview was live-streamed.  I first learned of this “game-changer” Friday morning while listening to the Bill Press Show.  Progressive Press was interviewing a reporter from the center-right Politico website.  Host and guest agreed that Grimes had made a terrible gaffe that could cost her the election.  That same morning Chuck Todd told Joe Sarborough on MSNBC that Grimes’s non-answer was “potentially disqualifying”.

Before even checking out the video, I bought the hype and was convinced that Grimes had likely fumbled away any chance to unseat McConnell.  It turns out I may have been right but for the wrong reasons.  In fact, when I finally saw it, I was surprised and pleased to hear a poised confident Grimes answer that she was a Clinton democrat, as Kentuckians well knew since she had served as a delegate for Hillary at the 2008 Democratic Presidential Convention.  Without missing a beat, Grimes continued that although Mitch McConnell might want the election to be a referendum on President Obama it was not.  Finally, after being repeatedly pressed, an understandably exasperated Grimes explained the concept of the secret ballot to the Courier-Journal editor.

My sense was that Grimes had artfully dodged a bullet.  The McConnell campaign desperately wants to connect her to the President but now it could not run ads in which Grimes said yes she had voted for President Obama.  Moreover, I felt, anybody who watched the video would come away impressed with Grimes.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it turned out.   Throughout the corporate media, condemnations rained down on Grimes for not admitting that she had voted for Obama.  It did not occur to Press, MSNBC, Politico, or the Washington Post, that Grimes, like many other Kentucky democrats, might have voted for Clinton in the 2008 primary but for Obama’s Republican opponent that year and in 2012.  Moreover, the media refused to credit Grimes for refusing either to submit to an improper question or give McConnell an obvious sound clip to use against her.  Finally, no mainstream news outlet has pointed out the irrelevant nature of this inquiry.

Denied the opportunity to run a political advertisement showing Grimes admitting she voted for the President, McConnell’s team simply crafted a spot containing quotes from newspaper and television reporters over video clips from the Courier-Journal interview.  The ad cleverly, but falsely, implies that the Courier-Journal’s questions discomfited Grimes.  Since the Courier-Journal interview, Grimes has seen her lead evaporate and her odds of claiming McConnell’s senate seat lengthen.

The media certainly deserves censure for focusing unduly on Grimes refusal to say whether she voted for Obama in the 2008 and 2012 general election.  But what about Grimes?  In retrospect, she may indeed have sunk her own ship.  While she (and I) may have thought her response to the Courier-Journal was appropriate, even astute, she failed to account for the media feeding frenzy that followed.  That failure may cost her the election and Kentuckians of a Senator who will put their interests first.

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18 Responses to The fall of Allison Lundergan Grimes or how I learned that I don’t know diddly about politics

  1. Andy Dral says:

    If not for ex-Pres. Bill Clinton, famed Wall Street neo-liberal freak, Kentuckians could have gotten behind a real Democrat, Ashley Judd, a true Roosevelt Democrat, instead in Allison Lundergan Grimes they got a Republican masquerading as a Democrat. When that happens more often than not the true Republican wins. Step aside young lady, Bill Clinton said to Ms. Judd, we have a corporate Clintonista Democrat to run for this seat, the party will not be supporting a progressive. Thank Bill Clinton and the corporate Democratic neo-liberal freaks running the party for this disaster, throwing good money into the incinerator of obscurity.

  2. Jeff Linder says:

    Hal,
    Could you tell us what votes McConnell cast in the Senate that caused “… economic privations of many blue grass state voters.” and the laws that resulted from such votes?

    Thanks

  3. Jeff Linder says:

    Hal,
    “Economic privation” is something that happened. If his votes didn’t become law then how did his votes cause economic privation?

  4. Jeff Linder says:

    Hal,
    Posting McConnell’s voting record is a non-answer. You said his votes had the effect of depriving Kentuckians of basic economic needs. Which votes did that? If McConnell’s votes did that then so did Harry Reid because he allowed the vote and so did Barack Obama because he had to sign the legislation into law.

  5. Dave says:

    She could have easily deflected any criticism about voting obama by pointing out that she had no choice. The only alternative was John mcCain and Sara palin.
    It’s tough on republicans living those two down. She could have left the interview feeling good.

  6. Dave says:

    If democrats were smart they would not let republicans off the hook for nominating John and Sarah. Democrats should shove Sarah in their face every time they critic a democrat . Sarah is a never ending supple of fodder. A week ago she refered to the white house as that house at 1400 Pennsylvania Ave. Caribou barbie is a dream come true , if only democrats woke up to the gem they have.

  7. Dave says:

    Just remember, it was the republicans that said if anything happens to John mcCain we want Sarah Palin to be the president.. It obvious to any border collie that their judgment cant be trusted.

  8. Dave says:

    Pakistan says a women should be hanged for a religious offense, a mother of 5 to boot. Personally I’m offended that I have to share oxygen with these zommbies. I want them gone. I have adopted there value of intolerance. I wish our govt. had the balls to call up Pakistan and tell them if you harm the women were going to bomb you back to the stone age. Were just not tolerating your idiocy any longer.

  9. Dave says:

    Instead of the simpson’s,, why not a caribou Barbie animation, prime time. A baby spoiled brat caribou, stuck on herself could waltz through life much like
    Mr. Magoo. It could be a entertaining format to tear republican philosophy apart. And all the while remind the audience of the terrible choices republicans have made.

  10. Dave says:

    I hope you heard about Sarah’s PAC donation scheme.
    She ask for money so as to help republican candidates.
    Turns out she has given about 5% of money she has received. Seems to me a attorney could make a donation and then sue her for taking the donation. When people make claims and take money there are legal responsibilities.

  11. Dave says:

    The IRS and donations is a touchy issue.. The late great Dr. Gene Scott played the hand that the irs went nuts over.. They tried but couldn’t get close.. Gene’s genius was that he didn’t accept donations. He sold teachings.. That guy was one smart hillbilly. Who else gets a phd in theological from Standford university (I didn’t know they had them) and turns it into a empire .
    What a guy . And what a address,,
    Box 1 Los Angles, California

  12. Dave says:

    From day one gene Scott claimed he was not a charity,
    He supports charity with his great works, The teachings.
    Gene always flaunted his team of live in girlfriends and brought them to his historic grand cathedral in downtown Los Angles. Which housed the most magnificent collection of rare bibles in the world.
    The girls filled up the front row. All televised on his 24/7
    sat channel. His unique commanding personality backed up with a education most people in his field dream of made him into a class of his own. His contempories threw stones and Gene threw them right back. He ridiculed them as the Hippocrates they are. . He could read Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and could easily qualify as a archeologist. No one could touch Gene on a intellectual level or come close to his in depth knowledge of the ancient middleast
    When Standford hands out Phd certificates, their not screw’in around

  13. Dave says:

    It’s weird how the brain works, why would I spell Stanford, Standford twice in one post? I used to work there..
    When I make silly mistakes, it’s not that I’m stupid, I’m just losing my frigg’in mind

  14. Shade says:

    Grimes’ answer was too Clintonesque. Especially after the spinning it got, the failure to answer such a simple question just turned off the voters. Big mistake. Just answer the damn question & then explain it if you wish. Don’t pull that coy crap on us, especially since we all already knew the answer.

  15. John A. says:

    It’s also convenient that Grimes left out that she was a delegate for Obama in 2012. Any media outlet could have looked that up and challenged her, but they didn’t. Sorry, but if you can’t admit voting for Obama after serving as his delegate, Ms. Grimes certainly doesn’t deserve my $$ or support.

  16. Jeff Linder says:

    When a candidate makes an issue of not being like another elected official then an question asking if they voted for that elected official is a valid question.

  17. Larry says:

    Yeah, that ad was stupid. All she had to do was run an ad about how good the ACA was and point out that Turtle Man wants it pulled out by the roots.

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