Mitch in a Ditch

Why am I writing about Kentucky? Because they have a bunch of representatives and two senators in Washington, D.C., whose votes affect us in Massachusetts. We are all in this together. I found today’s news from Kentucky fascinating. The Democrat challenging Sen. Mitch McConnell for one of the state’s two Senate seats is leading by one point in a new poll. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has the Minority Leader in the Senate, the long-time Republican office-holder, tied up, basically. Who would have imagined that result in the summer of 2013? Unless something bigger is going on. Maybe the political tectonic plates are shifting in the South. Maybe the obstructionist, negative, anti-, small-minded nature of the Washington Republicans is sinking in everywhere. Most people are fair in the end. That’s what I have seen. And perhaps the ceaseless war against President Obama that has been waged by the national Republicans since February 2009 is proving to be a bad choice.

Whether it is in Washington, D.C., or in a local city hall, politicians who only want to fight their opponent wear out the patience of voters. There is too much that needs to be done. An elected official is expected to get something done, and not morph into a Jersey barrier. They are supposed to be more like a power strip with lots of places for connections to be made so that energy can be transmitted to make something “go” or “work.” Mitch McConnell has turned into a Jersey barrier, and I’m not saying that as a reference to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who can be the very opposite of the humorless GOP members in Congress. Have you ever seen more snarls and snark and sneering as in the Washington GOP caucus? Maybe it is all catching up to them. I would say a growing number of people are tired of  “Angry” as a permanent emotional setting. In a state where kooky Rand Paul is the other US Senator, wouldn’t it be wild to see a woman and a Democrat elected to the Senate from Kentucky? It should really be a blue state if you look at the facts.

A lot of voters liked it when Christie and President Obama met as responsible public officials in the wake of the hurricane that demolished large sections of the coast in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. That photo of the two of them embracing sent a powerful message. Sen. Mitch McConnnell doesn’t get IT, but Sec. of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is taking IT to him right now. There’s a lesson in there for others who want to make a profession out of opposition. Whether it is President Obama or another public official, the person who tries to get something done is usually going to get the credit. Pragmatism is a better option than inflexible ideological resistance. Our system thrives on compromise, not gridlock.

Angry, angry, angry—we have had enough of that since 2009.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes