Indivisible Kentucky scorches McConnell on Falls City billboards
By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360
In my mind’s eye, I can see the suits smirking at the protesters outside the posh Four Rivers performing arts center in Paducah, where Sen. Mitch McConnell showed up to chow down with the Rotary Club.
The senate majority leader came nowhere close to the protesters, most of whom were from Four Rivers Indivisible. The three nattily-dressed white guys kept their distance from the 30 or so naysayers, who chanted and held up home-made signs.
But the trio of toffs—or toff wannabees—was close enough for the protesters to spy their grins that seemed to say, “We’ve got the power, and you don’t.”
I wonder what the young gents are thinking now that Trumpcare is toast (apparently) and that McConnell has suffered his worst political defeat ever. (Facebook is filled with multiple memes of sobbing turtles. Among his detractors, McConnell’s nickname is “The Turtle.”)
Anyway, Kentucky Democrats are feeling their oats about ditching Mitch in 2020. There is, of course, many a slip twixt cup and lip.
But one party official gleefully pointed me to some ominous thunder on the right. He emailed me a CNBC column headlined “After failed health-care vote, McConnell needs to go.”
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's failure to get any kind of Obamacare repeal or replacement bill passed confirms what many us have been saying for a while: He needs to step down from his post as majority leader – and maybe even quit the Senate altogether,” argued the business network’s Jake Novak, who calls himself a conservative Republican.
Rep. Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican and one of the candidates who want to fill out the rest of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Senate term, has again called on McConnell to hang it up, Novak wrote. The special primary election is Aug. 15.
He quoted Brooks: "Unquestionably, the leadership at the top is responsible. The buck stops there. That's why you take on that kind of responsibility.
“And if Mitch McConnell cannot get the job done on this, how is he going to get the job done on the rest of President Trump's agenda over the next three-and-a-half years? … It's not necessarily anything bad about Mitch McConnell himself personally. But he's got a job to do, and if he can't do it, then, as 'The Apprentice' would say, 'you're fired,' get somebody who can.’"
If Brooks were to win, would the Alabama-born McConnell welcome him to the senate with the right hand of Christian fellowship?
Anyway, back in the Bluegrass State, McConnell’s support for Trumpcare—any-and-all variants—triggered protests, large and small, from Paducah to Pikeville and many points in between. He assiduously avoided town hall-style gatherings and instead huddled with Republican-friendly groups like the Rotary Club.
Like Trump in his native New York, McConnell, from Louisville, is about as popular as a wet dog at a wedding in his hometown, which probably leads the state in anti-Trump and anti-McConnell protests.
“Indivisible Kentucky has set a goal of raising $20,000 for a media purchasing blitz, starting with the billboard advertising campaign,” explained Tim Peacock in a post on the IK website. Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, emailed me Peacock’s plea.
Added Peacock: “Kentuckians deserve access to the same fundamental rights as even the wealthiest Americans: the right to affordable, quality healthcare, a good education, clean water, and freedom from discrimination based on our gender, race or sexual orientation. We’ve had enough of Mitch McConnell siding with those in power rather than [with] his constituents.”
Paducah is in deepest western Kentucky, arguably the most crimsoned corner of the Republican Red Bluegrass State. But I’m pretty sure more than a few folks hereabouts would be happy to pony up for similar billboards along heavily-traveled Interstate 24, which skirts Paducah. IK is asking for $5. I chipped in $25 by clicking here.
Berry Craig is the webmaster-editor for the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, a member of the state AFL-CIO Executive Board and recording secretary for the Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council.