Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), generally comfortable in the roll of dealmaker, has done very little work in the fiscal talks. The reason is widely known, but generally goes unsaid: McConnell is terrified of a primary challenger and working with Democrats on a debt-reduction deal will only generate more far-right ire.
But there's also McConnell's general election prospects to consider.
Two weeks ago, Public Policy Polling found that McConnell, with an approval rating of just 37%, is the least popular senator in the nation. In a hypothetical match-up against actor Ashley Judd, the Republicans' Senate leader was ahead by only four points, 47% to 43%.
And McConnell cried "SKEWED" and released his own poll which found...that he was only ahead by 4 points, 47%-43%.
Mitch is in trouble in 2014 and he knows it.
For that matter, also note that McConnell is testing anti-Judd messages two years before the election -- against someone who's never held or sought elected office -- which suggests the senator is genuinely worried about his prospects. By releasing his internal poll, McConnell hoped to look stronger, but in this case, I'm afraid he doth protest too much.
Yep. I didn't think Ashley Judd was a serious threat to Mitch until we saw his reaction. If he's in this much trouble with two years to go against an anti-coal Hollywood type (even if that Hollywood type is a UK grad) he just might be actually vulnerable.
We'll see. Sen. Ashley Judd? Yeah, I'm down with that.