Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been denouncing the evils of "Obamacare" during home state appearances, had another boogeyman in his sights last year.
We're reminded of this by the 13 guilty pleas entered in federal court in Louisville Tuesday by the second and last of two Iraqi refugees who had settled in Bowling Green. An FBI sting caught them plotting to send aid and weapons to al-Qaida in Iraq.
When the charges were announced last year McConnell warned of "retaliatory attacks" and "disturbances and disruptions" unless the two were moved from Kentucky to a military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In describing what was in store, Kentucky's senior senator invoked the "heavily armed agents, rooftop snipers, bomb-sniffing dogs, blocked streets, identification checks'' during the 2006 trial in Alexandria, Va. of Zacarias Moussaoui. who was convicted of being one of the 9/11 conspirators.
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Despite McConnell's alarm, Kentucky appears to have escaped unscathed, unless the upcoming sentencings of Mohanad Hammadi and Waad Alwan attract an attack by Osama bin Laden (oh, wait, he's dead).
It would be a first. At the time McConnell was pitching a fit — and trying, with no success, to get the people of Bowling Green to pitch a fit — more than 400 suspects had been convicted of terrorism or national security crimes in courthouses across the United States. without any retaliatory attacks or escapes.
McConnell, who still says the pair should be sent to Guantanamo, was hyping the risks for political effect, in hopes of making the Obama administration — which actually got 9/11 mastermind bin Laden — appear soft on national security.
Kentuckians should keep McConnell's penchant for partisan hype in mind as they consider his criticisms of the Affordable Care Act.
After all, McConnell once said his No. 1 priority in Congress was to make Obama a one-term president.
As far as we can tell, McConnell has shown no interest in the 400,000 uninsured Kentuckians who could gain health care coverage under the law.
You won't hear him talking about the savings to taxpayers and consumers from fewer emergency room visits when more people have insurance.
And he sure isn't talking about the Urban Institute study that found Kentucky would end up saving money through the law's Medicaid expansion because the cost to the state would be less than what's being spent now on emergency care for the uninsured.
Life expectancy in some Kentucky counties is declining, according to recent studies. Poor health and a lack of preventive medical care are a real threat to McConnell's constituents.