Unlikely Bedfellows: Kentucky Democrats And Tea Partiers Join To Oust Mitch McConnell In 2014 (VIDEO)

Donkey and elephant in bed with tea tray.

Collaged image created by Elisabeth Parker for Addicting Info, with apologies to Dreamworks and Ikea.

Tea Partiers and Democrats in Kentucky may not agree on much, but they definitely agree on one thing: ejecting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Pop-Eyed-Turtle) from his seat when he runs in 2014. The Courier Journal ran an article last week that “more than a dozen” political groups in the state “have united” against McConnell.  Politico‘s Manu Raju reports that net roots activists MoveOn and the Progress Kentucky super PAC have nuzzled up against the Louisville Tea Party, United Tea Party, and other groups, offering big, pillowy bags o’ cash for the … um … ‘right’ candidate. Hopefully, as far ‘right’ as possible. Since our new friends, the tea baggers, have never met a cash offer they can refuse, they seem down with the upcoming snuggle-fest.

MoveOn Field Organizer Keith Rouda tells Politico:

“We are doing a lot of reaching out to some of the tea party folks across the state. What we’re finding — at least in this stage of the race — we’re finding that our interests align. It’s unusual.”

Preston Bates, executive director of the Tea Party super pac Liberty For All agrees. Jack Brammer from Kentucky.com reports that Liberty for All spent almost $700,000 to elect Tea Party darling Thomas Massie (R-KY) to the House, and said in a January 21st email:

McConnell is “anything but a tea partier” and is “that special politician who could unite libertarians, independents, anti-war Democrats, everyone.”

Unfortunately for the Tea Party’s anti-Mitchell contingent, Massie has reportedly refused to run against his older colleague in the Senate.

Before you accuse Kentucky’s liberals of quaffing the tea-flavored Koolaid — or conservatives of spiking it with illegal substances — remember that they only agree on who they want to LOSE … not on who they want to WIN. Democrats and their supporters would love to exploit GOP divisions by splitting the ticket between McConnell and some tea party crazy like Todd Akin who can’t possibly win, so they can replace McConnell with a Democratic senator. Despite all the misspelled signs and faulty logic (“git da gummint’s greedy hands off my Medicare!”) tea party leaders like Sarah Durand, president of the Lousiville Tea Party, are smart enough to get this. Although she welcomes the seven figure sums offered by her frenemies, Durand confided:

“I guess the fear would be ending up in the Dick Lugar situation where you oust the incumbent and end up with a Democrat. But I really think if Sen. McConnell can’t garner some enthusiasm within the tea party, which is going to be very difficult at this point, then he’s going to have a really tough road ahead in this election cycle.”

And who can blame Durand for feeling cautious? Conservatives could stand to lose more from this alliance. While Mitchell remains vulnerable in the aftermath of the Fiscal Cliff fight, the powerful Senator may prove tough to beat. Michael Catalini from The National Journal — a weekly political magazine read mainly by  DC-insiders — insists that canny McConnell took measures to “protect his right flank” back in Kentucky before compromising on the Fiscal Cliff bills. His close relationship with outgoing Texas Representative Ron Paul will make many Tea Partiers hesitate to oppose him (he hired Paul’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, for his upcoming campaign back in September), plus, McConnell has strong support from his Senate colleague (and Tea Party favorite) Rand Paul (R-KY). According to Brammer’s article, McConnell has the younger Paul’s endorsement, plus a $7 million campaign war chest.

Meanwhile, the Democrats have a decent shot at winning McConnell’s seat. Unlike some southern “red” states, Kentucky has a strong purple streak. According to Politifact.com, registered “Democrats outnumber Republicans 1.6 million to 1 million,” and “Democrats are strong in Kentucky, because the Democratic candidates both got more votes than Rand Paul did” in the 2010 elections.” Unlike the Republicans or Tea Partiers, the Democrats also have some appealing potential Senate candidates, including Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and the politically active actress Ashley Judd.

The feisty grassroots activist group, Progress Kentucky, hasn’t even bothered waiting for a candidate before releasing their first video, an wobbly effort jam-packed with background noise and featuring an assortment of diverse people riffing on McConnell’s 2010 statement about how the single most important thing he wanted to achieve was to make Obama a one-term president: “The single most important thing we want to achieve: Electing a new US Senator to represent Kentucky.” Like the Great Pumpkin, what this video lacks in commercial production values, it makes up for in its sincerity.

Here is the video:



Elisabeth Parker Elisabeth Parker is a writer, Web designer, mom, political junkie, and dilettante. Come visit her at ElisabethParker.Com, “like” her on facebook, or follow her on Twitter. For more articles by Elisabeth, click here.