What times we live in. Not only do we have the opportunity to send the petulant, preening and pompous John McCain back to Arizona so we can then take his Senate seat in 2010. But another race with almost as consequential national implications will take place this election day.
It is the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky.
We have the chance to send Senator Mitch McConnell, a man who does to legislation what an over-absorption of water in the colon does to the digestive system, back home to Washington...er Kentucky forever. And you can't imagine how much this would improve the odds of getting progressive legislation through the U.S. Senate.
McConnell is a master of two things--mostly due to a seemingly sick obsession with both--raising money from his corporate homies and blocking bills that would help non-twelve-house-possessing Americans make their lives just a little better.
In his opponent, we have businessman Bruce Lunsford, and what a few weeks it has been for him. Polling now shows the race is tied, the DSCC seeing this, has jumped into the race with funding for ads, and even a prominent Republican in Kentucky has come out for in favor of Lunsford. Add in an endorsement from the state's largest newspaper and that is what you call Big Mo.
Meanwhile, McConnell's slavish devotion to corporate America and the role he played in this financial crisis are being laid bare for all to see. As is his addiction to power for it's own sake.
Some Democrats--including your humble author--have in the past expressed concerns about Lunsford. Well, I can tell you, that I could not support any candidate more strongly than I do Bruce Lunsford in this race. Sure, he made a few mistakes in the past in supporting Republicans, but this particular writer once gave a small donation to McCain (in 2000) and voted for Rudy Giuliani (1997).
I had to write a book to feel redeemed for the former. Lunsford can have his chance for redemption as a U.S. Senator.
Lunsford, as he told me when we recently spoke, supports the redeployment of our troops from Iraq and universal access to healthcare, opposes tax breaks for oil companies and privatization of Social Security. He's in favor of "Country of Origin" labeling, an economically populist position that puts small American farmers before agribusiness conglomerates--or part of McConnell's base, if you will. You wanna guess how McConnell stands on all of these things? I'll give you a hint. He still thinks going to war in Iraq was the right thing to do, and overall has voted with President Bush 95% of the time.
It is simple really. McConnell puts big business first, second, third and fourth through 147th. Lunsford's plan puts middle class Kentuckians, and American workers, first. As Lunsford put it, in a turn of phrase that could not be more apt, Republicans like McConnell want to "privatize the profits and socialize the losses" in our economy. McConnell is the very embodiment of this anti-American credo, as one can see in his record of selling American economic interests out to China.
A Senate with Lunsford and without McConnell will be much, much more progressive. Progressives should do whatever they can--knock on doors, email friends, yell from the mountain tops!--to make sure this happens.