When Alison Lundergan Grimes began interrupting Mitch McConnell last night in the first and only debate in the Kentucky Senate contest, it became clear, if it hadn’t already, that she just could possibly win this race.
“I hate to interrupt,” Grimes said toward the end of the nearly one-hour debate, and went on to mock one of McConnell’s most frequent verbal tics. “But ‘under this administration’?—we’ve used that ‘this administration’ over and over again. Senator McConnell fails to see he has a role in all the jobs that have been lost in this state.”
It didn’t matter so much what she interrupted him about. The point was to show that she could dominate and rattle the Senate minority leader.
And she did. When it came time for the two candidates’ closing statements, McConnell was reduced to bragging that in a recent poll, “congressional staffers” had voted him the Senate’s hardest-working member. It was so stiflingly inside-the-Beltway that, should he lose, it could serve as his political epitaph.
Grimes still has an uphill fight, of course, and McConnell is up by four points in the latest poll, from Fox. But in last night’s debate, Grimes came off so strong and McConnell was so droning that it could possibly drown out her embarrassing refusal to say whether or not she voted for Obama, who’s more unpopular in the state than even the widely disliked Mitch.
But her ridiculous politician’s spin on that—claiming she wouldn’t answer because “our Constitution here in Kentucky grants the right to privacy at the ballot box”—is less ridiculous and much less consequential to Kentuckians than Mitch’s refusal to say what he really means when he vows to repeal Obamacare “root and branch.” The state’s version of the Affordable Care Act, Kynect, is hugely successful, and Mitch was as slippery as a wet doorknob last night. “That’s fine,” he said. “I think it’s fine to have a website. Yeah.”
As if the website portal to Obamacare isn’t itself a major root. As Talking Points Memo points out:
If Obamacare is repealed, then the federal subsidies for the coverage expansion would disappear and Kentucky would either have to strip that insurance for recent recipients or foot the large bill through the state’s budget.….