Sen. Mitch McConnell isn’t the best of friends with the Tea Party in Kentucky, and he’s never before spoken at one of their rallies, but that is about to change next month.
Sarah Durand, president of the Louisville Tea Party, tells LEO Weekly that McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul will speak at a Tea Party rally on the capitol steps in Frankfort on August 21. The rally is being held in opposition to the Affordable Care Act and Gov. Steve Beshear’s executive order to set up a state health care exchange for consumers to shop for health insurance plans.
According to Durand — and our memory — this is the first time that Sen. McConnell has spoken publicly at a Tea Party rally.
McConnell is not exactly a favorite of the Tea Party, being 1) perhaps the proudest defender of earmarks and pork-barrel spending in Congress during his career, 2) proudly voting for the bank bailouts, 3) “caving” on the debt ceiling last summer, 4) supporting Trey Grayson over Rand Paul in 2010, 5) being hawkish on both Iraq and domestic spying programs, and… well, there’s a long list.
Durand says that whatever differences they’ve had with McConnell, they are 100 percent on his side when it comes to repealing “Obamacare.”
“We don’t agree with McConnell on everything, but this is one area where the Tea Party is united with the Republican Party in the desire to repeal (Obamacare),” Durand says.
What kind of response will McConnell get? While the Tea Partiers will gladly accept McConnell’s support on this issue, to a large degree the Tea Party movement that popped up in Kentucky was a reaction against establishment Republicans like McConnell, who they blamed for both the country’s staggering debt, the 2008 bailouts of large banks and the abandonment of the party’s fiscal conservative principles.
Will they grow to love Big Brother Mitch? McConnell, who is absolutely scared out of his mind by the prospect of becoming the next Dick Lugar — the longtime Indiana senator who was blown out this spring’s primary by Tea Party upstart Richard Mourdock — certainly hopes so. He’s played footsie with Rand Paul since the 2010 primary — despite glaring ideological and policy differences — but now it looks like he’s going to try to make it to third base with the hometown Tea Party to avoid a 2014 primary challenge.
Somebody from McConnell’s staff get that man a tri-cornered hat, stat!