Skip to main content

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks during the second day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 28, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
The Hill:
Democrats have long despised Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), but they hope he wins his primary race against Matt Bevin because they view him as an easier opponent in 2014.

Democrats say they hope McConnell will get roughed up in the Kentucky GOP primary but survives because beating a fresh face like Bevin in the general election would be difficult.

I don't know how representative The Hill's sources are but on the surface, the idea that a wounded McConnell would be easier to beat than a surging Bevin seems reasonable. I've actually had the same thought, especially given McConnell's weak poll numbers. But the more I think about it, the more I think this analysis gives Bevin too much credit—and gives McConnell too little.

This whole question will be moot if Bevin implodes before the primary, but assuming he continues mounting a credible campaign, the nomination battle will come down to a choice between Bevin's argument that McConnell has been in office for too long and isn't conservative enough, and McConnell's argument that he's the guy with the clout to obstruct President Obama's agenda.

Bevin might be a fresh face now, but if he wins, he'll be different candidate than he is today. Instead of the new guy saying McConnell has been around for too long, he'll be the guy who embraced every right-wing fantasy in the playbook. It's not that he's guaranteed to turn himself into Christine O'Donnell, but it's definitely conceivable that he could dig himself the same holes that sunk Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin or Ken Buck. Sure, he might end up being a better nominee than McConnell—but Bevin is a political novice and I don't think he has enough of a track record yet to say definitively whether or not that would be the case.

Meanwhile, if McConnell wins the nomination, he'll emerge stronger than he is today, partly because winning is contagious, but also because the Republican base will rally around him. He'll also have won the primary on an anti-Obama message which isn't the end of the world in state that gave Mitt Romney a 60-38 victory.

To be clear, I'm not saying that I think Bevin would be a weaker nominee than McConnell. I think that at this point, saying which one would be worse is a guessing game. In fact, if you forced me to pick today, I'd pick McConnell. But I have no idea whether I'd make the same choice when Kentucky Republicans head to the polls to select their nominee. The one thing I'm sure of is that I'm glad there's going to be another nine months of this, because the tougher the primary fight, the more likely it is that the candidate who emerges won't be the GOP's best nominee.

Please join with Daily Kos and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee by signing the pledge to fight back against Mitch McConnell and end GOP gridlock in the Senate.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  rooting for truffles still getting deadly fungus (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, Involuntary Exile
    To be clear, I'm not saying that I think Bevin would be a weaker nominee than McConnell. I think that at this point, saying which one would be worse is a guessing game. In fact, if you forced me to pick today, I'd pick McConnell. But I have no idea whether I'd make the same choice when Kentucky Republicans head to the polls to select their nominee. The one thing I'm sure of is that I'm glad there's going to be another nine months of this, because the tougher the primary fight, the more likely it is that the candidate who emerges won't be the GOP's best nominee.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:33:50 AM PDT

  •  Gooble Gabble, they accept him.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, RoIn, JeffW

    Ayn sucks. Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer.

    by Floyd Blue on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:33:57 AM PDT

    •  Tipped For the "Freaks" Reference (0+ / 0-)

      Or was it a nod to the Ramones?

      “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

      by RoIn on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:39:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am FREAKed today! In the Morning Floja Roja, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RoIn

        I read that it is Olga Baclanova's bday today, she of the cleopatra role in that most glorious of films, FREAKS!!!

        Ayn sucks. Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer.

        by Floyd Blue on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:52:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That Rocks! (0+ / 0-)

          Almost as much as the movie does.

          “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

          by RoIn on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 12:00:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The Dream Scenario (6+ / 0-)

    1. Razor-thin margin in the primary.
    2. McConnell anointed winner.
    3. Teapublicans scream "WE WUZ ROBBED!"

    On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

    by stevemb on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:34:53 AM PDT

    •  Or... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      patbahn, JeffW, Hillbilly Dem

      1. Recount
      2. Winner declared by fewer than 100 votes.
      3. Primary winner makes creepy comments about rape in the general election.
      4. Kentucky 2014 becomes Missouri and Indiana 2012.

      “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

      by RoIn on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:42:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Given that's unlikely to happen (0+ / 0-)

      You have to root for McConnell going down.

      •  If McConnell Wins The Primary... (0+ / 0-)

        ...can Bevin run as an independent?  What does Kentucky law have to say about that?

        While on the topic of Kentucky law if Rand Paul runs for president (shudder) in 2016 will he have to give up his Senate seat which is also up in 2016?

        “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

        by RoIn on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 12:04:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not during the Primary, but as nominee... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RoIn

          State law I believe says he cannot run for both seats.  Besides it would send a terrible message if he did from atop the ticket (Biden and Ryan both ran for re-election from the VP spot).  

          Rubio is in the same spot, but I think Fla is even more strict and he'd have to declare which race he wanted to run for in early 2016, right in the height of the Presidential Primary.  

          Though both states could change the state law, easily in Florida.  Otherwise Rubio could be polling well, even win Florida in the primary and then have to decide if he wants to continue Presidentially or run for re-election in the Senate.  

          If you're not talking about what billionaire hedgefund bankster Peter G. Peterson is up to you're having the wrong conversations.

          by Jacoby Jonze on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 01:51:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  If Bevin wins can't Allison Grimes tar him as a (0+ / 0-)

      Rich, hedge-fund carpetbagger who is conpmetely out of touch with the ordinary people of Kentucky as well as a right-wing extremist?  I know Kentuckians seem to hate Obama and are pretty Red, but there are also a lot of poor people who would be hurt by cutting Social Security and Medicare and various other programs.  Plus, he will probably have alienated women, and Grimes is a pretty fresh face herself, having won only a low-profile statewide race.  I thought in her initial ad she came across as very authentic and caring. Maybe by the General people will be tired of viciousness.

      Don't bet your future on 97% of climate scientists being wrong. Take action on climate now!

      by Mimikatz on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:13:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two other scenarios (0+ / 0-)

      Bevin loses in the primary, then runs in the general as an Independent or "Tea Party" candidate, thus siphoning off GOP voters.

      OR Bevin wins the primary with the help of Democratic supporters who turn to Grimes in the general. There's a lot of folks out there who just want to see McConnell lose one way or another.  Bevin himself has given money to Democratic candidates in their primaries, in order to put the "best candidates" in the general.  Applying his own strategies to himself then it might not matter to him if he wins the general.

      You will not rest, settle for less • Until you guzzle and squander whats left • Do not deny that you live and let die - MUSE

      by bondibox on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:15:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Most States Have "Sore Loser" Laws (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bondibox

        I can't find anything specific on Kentucky, but most states won't allow someone to be listed on a general election ballot if they lost after being listed on a primary ballot.

        On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

        by stevemb on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:27:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, why not BOTH? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, I love OCD, patbahn, bythesea

    Why can't we have both Mitch and Matt race each other to the right and wind up saying things that make even Kentucky Republicans go "Say WHAT!?!?" a few times.

    We had a GOP Gubernatorial candidate here in Colorado who came out against shared bicycles as part of a UN plot. Even Republicans were dismayed.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:36:40 AM PDT

  •  I'd go with Bevin (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, Egalitare

    if I had to choose, I'd rather see Bevin in the general. The crazy always comes out.

  •  Smiles on Mitch are patently unbecoming (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    I love OCD, Krush, Hillbilly Dem

    It's the cognitive dissonance, I think.

    When they call roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty'. --Teddy Roosevelt

    by thenekkidtruth on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:37:02 AM PDT

  •  As long as Mitch McConnell is a former Senator (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, JeffW

    when it's all over, I'm okay with either of them winning the primary.  I honestly think that McConnell's record of nothingness will make him easier to beat in the general election.  And polling numbers seem to support this at the moment (though they were still within the margin of error last I saw).  Problem is, the thing that makes him an easier target in the general election is the very thing that'll make him an easier target in the primary.  But if the Dems can flip that seat, it's a BIG win.

    I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

    by mojo11 on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:37:41 AM PDT

  •  Interesting argument. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blugrlnrdst

    I think I side w/ The Hill on this one though. If Bevin wins the nomination, and doesn't say anything that puts him in Akin/O'Donnell territory, then he'll basically revert to Generic R. And that beats Generic D (or even promising, charismatic D) in a lopsided state like KY. I think we really do need McConnell on the ballot.

    Hope you fall on your burger and fries.

    by cardinal on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:37:43 AM PDT

    •  I'd say he'd likely screw up and say something (0+ / 0-)

      awful, but Rand Paul proved a Tea Partier with a little baggage could win in Kentucky.  I do hope Bevin wins the nomination and then continues to fly the full Tea Party flag for the general election and so turns off Kentucky they give the election to Allison Lundergan Grimes.  

      If Bevin wins and McConnell is really mad with him, though, Mitch's war chest may be kept shut for Bevins and that could hurt their chances.  Which would be a good thing.

    •  I worry about that too. In the SC special (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cardinal

      election a few months back, the crimson red voters sent a freak like Mark Sanford to the house.  I can see many KY voters doing the same:  Sending the message to Obama, "We still don't like you!"

  •  Didn't Rand Paul win embracing rw playbook? (0+ / 0-)
    Bevin might be a fresh face now, but if he wins, he'll be different candidate than he is today. Instead of the new guy saying McConnell has been around for too long, he'll be the guy who embraced every right-wing fantasy in the playbook.
    Yes, this is the favorable dynamic we supposedly thought we had with respect to Rand Paul in that Ky senate race too: Paul having to explain why he thought civil rights public accomodations laws violated people's rights to free association, despite the obvious history of egregious use of that alleged "freedom" to subjugate and segregate blacks from equal access to commerce.
  •  I hope Bevin eviscerates McConnell (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mspicata, JeffW

    whether he wins or loses the primary.
    Incumbency is a strong factor in favor of the incumbent, so Bevin's "fresh face" is an improvement in Grimes' chances. The fact that he's a full-blown wingnut and by then will have enunciated that wingnuttery, could be good, but Kentucky's other Senator is Rand fu(kingloony Paul.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:40:24 AM PDT

  •  Root for McConnell to get beat in primary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mspicata, JeffW, The Nose

    here is why:

    1) McConnell's war chest.  He will have access to unlimited funds for the general.  Bevin won't.

    2) It will cause guaranteed chaos in the Republican caucus.  Its a miracle McConnell has held everyone together - there is no one in line (unlike the Dems, where Schumer or Durbin command plenty of respect).  Demint? LOL.  

    3) KY already elected Rand Paul.  I'm guessing Bevin could actually endorse rape and win.  

    4) Moral victory.  Big news when a congressional leader (see:  Daschle) goes down.

    5.  Harry Reid will outfox his replacement, easily.

  •  Whichever way it goes there's a new (0+ / 0-)

    factor, Obamacare, which will be winning over some converts by Election Day.  A smart Dem can exploit that.  And the whole gridlock thing is gaining legs with Republican voters who care more about the economy than they care about Gayz and abortions.  Plus we forget to factor in racism.  Obama's not running.  There are people who would convert to Islam if it was proven Jesus was black.  

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:48:44 AM PDT

  •  Then Go After Bevin Now (0+ / 0-)

    He's crazy. He's out of step with the mainstream. He doesn't think like you and me. Was he ever treated for his obvious anger management issues? If not, why not? Is he in denial about them? What sort of grown man can't face up to his own issues? Is that the sort of person we want as Senator?

    While you're at it, you can pile on McConnell too.

    The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

    by The Lone Apple on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:50:29 AM PDT

  •  I don't care (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Nose

    whether he loses in the primary or the general, I just wanna see the jerk who made a priority of trying to defeat President Obama, and blocked almost all of Obama's initiatives and nominees, be the one who loses his attempt at re-election.  What sweet, sweet justice that would be.

  •  If only we could get KY Democrats to vote... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hillbilly Dem

    McConnell won in 2008 by only 106,811 votes while 675,836 registered Democrats did not vote.  

    http://elect.ky.gov/...

  •  progs should never play byzantine politics (0+ / 0-)

    we have an agenda we care about that's
    what we should care about

    now the horse race is great fun so let's
    watch that, but, i don't care who the GOP puts up
    and we shouldn't intervene.

    if the KY GOP puts up a knuckledragging nutball, great.
    if he loses, awesome, if he wins, he can join the other
    crazy rightwingers and he can tell kids Obama is a kenyan.

    if McConnel wins, well, the devil you know.

    if we are going to do anything in kentucky it's ground game
    with helping build a bench in state.

  •  One big thing in Alison Lundergren Grimes favor (0+ / 0-)

    She's white. I live just across the river from Kentucky, and I believe that a large number of people there will simply not vote for a non white candidate, at least not an african american one. The democrats do okay in statewide elections in Kentucky by and large. I'm ambivalent about McConnell vs Bevin. On one hand, everyone is so tired of turtleboy that all the money in the world won't help him if people are just sick to death of him. Bevin worries me a little. I think Rand Paul probably got elected because of the teabaggers gone wild back in 2010. Unfortunately, he presents a fresh alternative to people who want to just get rid of McConnell but all things being equal would rather vote for a conservative than a democrat. Bevin sounds like a true believer in the teabag ethos. I think McConnell will at least play ball if it suits his purposes.

    Just another day in Oceania.

    by drshatterhand on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:58:54 AM PDT

  •  My Only Problem with a Bevin Primary Win . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerry056

    Is that it will probably lead to a Bevin General Election win.

    Kentucky is one of the few states left where the TEA Baggers still poll positively in the 30%+ range.

    I'm a "right-wing freak show," or at least that's what one nobody on DKOS seems to think.

    by kefauver on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:04:07 AM PDT

  •  We shouldn't assume either Bevin or McConnell (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerry056, JeffW, Mr MadAsHell, The Nose

    would be beaten in the general. Given the political dynamics, its a pretty good bet the Republican candidate, no matter who he is, will win. Even in a close one.

    But Bevin taking out Mitch McConnell in the primary would be a GODSEND. Because basically that means the Senate Minority Leader has been taken out for not being conservative enough. That's a good message to run with. Not even MITCH FUCKING MCCONNELL is conservative enough for these people!

    So for Democrats, given that the chances of actually taking the seat from the GOP are pretty low, should go for the better, broader argument to make against the GOP broadly: that it is extreme, out of the mainstream, and crazy. You can make that case pretty well if the Senate Republican Leader is toppled. That would send a chill down the spines of GOP candidates in 2016 and make Tea Partiers even more convinced that going as nutcase as possible is whats best.

    •  Plus Cornyn is next in line and he's pretty dumb (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brooklynbadboy

      Not Jon Kyl or Jeff sessions dumb, but pretty dumb.  Certainly not Mitch McConnell or Trent Lott devious.  

      Don't bet your future on 97% of climate scientists being wrong. Take action on climate now!

      by Mimikatz on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:19:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cornyn is not nearly as power mad as (0+ / 0-)

        McConnell. Nor does he have the heart filled with evil like McConnell. Quite frankly, that guy loves money more. He will be easy to bribe if he gets it.

        McConnell, however, is strictly in it for the power. His soul has become so dark with malice, it's written all over his face. He is, essentially, a man overrun with fear and insecurity.

  •  money (0+ / 0-)

    Money buys truth and votes--whoever raises the most wins the primary--and probably will have more money in the general.

    Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

    by melvynny on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:06:19 AM PDT

  •  No great effort should go into hurting McConnell.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr MadAsHell

    ...instead build up Grimes until the R primary dust is clear -
    then go after whoever survives.

    Nuclear Reactor = Dirty Bomb

    by olo on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:08:31 AM PDT

  •  I wonder if this is a rat fornication attempt... (0+ / 0-)

    Help Bevin out a bit by leaking this snippet that the evil libruls believe he's the tougher GE match-up.  

    I don't believe beating a senate minority leader is easier than beating a political newbie in a GE.  The Dems have to hope Bevin can pull off an upset in the primary, or at least take it all the way to the primary and drain McConnell of some of his warchest while pulling McConnell far right the next year.  

    If you're not talking about what billionaire hedgefund bankster Peter G. Peterson is up to you're having the wrong conversations.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:34:34 AM PDT

  •  Dems want Bevin to face their candidate, not McC (0+ / 0-)
    Democrats say they hope McConnell will get roughed up in the Kentucky GOP primary but survives because beating a fresh face like Bevin in the general election would be difficult.
    I think this has to be the Democrats egging the GOPers to vote Bevin in for nominee. Then they really would have a great shot with their own candidate.
  •  Bevin vs. McConnell (0+ / 0-)

    I have lived in Kentucky for 28 years now, and I think that Matt Bevin is a credible candidate against Mitch.  He does NOT come across as a nutcase.  His ads accusing Mitch of being lefty are hilarious, but Matt himself is rational and articulate.  I do NOT see him pulling a Mourdock or Akin.  Matt was the chair of the local Red Cross board, and I had gotten to see him in action in that role.  

    I wish I could tell exactly what Matt Bevin actually believes, as opposed to what he is running on against Mitch.  If he were to win the primary, would he go center-right instead of full TEA Party on Ms. Grimes?  She comes from a Kentucky political family, and is no novice, but she would certainly be tarred with the Obama brush by whoever her GOP opponent is.

    Could see Mitch winning, but wounded by the primary.  Then using his bazillions of dollars to run a typically dirty campaign against Ms. Grimes.  Kentucky went for Romney by a whole bunch, but in 2008, Mitch did not win by the same percentage as McCain.  I think he is vulnerable, especially if the Dems put their efforts behind Ms. Grimes.

  •  If Bevin should win, wouldn't the bump McC from (0+ / 0-)

    his Speaker position?  That might be a plus, even if Bevin isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  •  I would like for McConnell (0+ / 0-)

    to be Lugared not Hatched.
    "What do you call a Senator who’s served in office for 18 years? You call him home."--Orrin Hatch, in his first campaign for Senate, about his opponent Frank Moss. Hatch was primaried in 2012 but is now in his seventh six-year term.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site