As they did in 2010 with Jack Conway, both the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader have endorsed the Democrat for US Senate. Alison Grimes has earned the praise of both papers, and in a race this tight, it may make a difference.
Grimes, to her credit, was willing to appear before this newspaper’s editorial board, fielding an hour’s worth of questions in an interview that was streamed live online and remains archived on the C-J website. She did this fully aware that Mr. McConnell’s campaign could-- and did-- seize on snippets to use in political attacks.
Mr. McConnell, in turn, never accepted a similar invitation dating back to early September to appear before the C-J editorial board, thus shielding himself from scrutiny as well as any potential for attack ads based on his responses. Kentuckians should take measure of that: Thirty years in the Senate, and no comment.
More discouraging-- and most important to voters-- is that he appears lacking a vision for Kentucky or the country as a whole. Rather, his decades-long drive to increase his power and political standing has resulted in this campaign based on his boast that if he is re-elected and Republicans win a Senate majority, he would become Senate majority leader. Some voters believe Kentucky will benefit from keeping Mr. McConnell in such a national leadership position, but we believe that alone is not a reason for giving him another term.
Both candidates have failed the voters through limited access, rote talking points, slickly packaged appearances and a barrage of attack ads that at best are misleading and at worst, outright false.
But Ms. Grimes has laid out positions on a number of issues that matter to voters, ones that separate her from her opponent.
McConnell has sabotaged jobs and transportation bills, even as Kentucky's unemployment exceeds the nation's and an Interstate 75 bridge crumbles over the Ohio River. He blocked tax credits for companies that move jobs back to this country while preserving breaks for those that move jobs overseas. He opposed extending unemployment benefits, while bemoaning the "jobless" recovery. He brags about resolving crises that he helped create.
The Senate may never recover from the bitter paralysis McConnell has inflicted through record filibusters that allow his minority to rule by obstruction.
Even before Barack Obama was sworn in, McConnell told his fellow Republicans that their strategy was to deny the new president any big wins. The country was in two wars and at deep risk of sliding into a depression, but making an adversary look bad was McConnell's main mission.
His signature cause-- flooding elections with ever more money-- corrupts. He poses as a champion of the right to criticize the government, but it's really his rich buddies' right to buy the government that he champions.
If McConnell had a better record, he would not have to argue for six more years by obsessively linking Grimes to Obama, who will be gone in two years no matter what.
It's good to see these papers tell the truth about McConnell. His time is passed and he's just embarrassing now.