FRANKFORT — This and that as the countdown to blessed relief begins:
I refer, of course, to the end of this baseball season, in which my beloved Boston Red Sox quickly entered zombie land as the walking Dead Sox and never returned.
Sorry, folks, I needed to ease my way through a lesser pain before confronting the truly agonizing pain no human being should have to endure: the knowledge the road to real blessed relief goes through 44 more days of 24/7 ads for and against Mitch McConnell, Alison Lundergan Grimes, Andy Barr and Elisabeth Jensen.
DVR and the fast-forward button may get me through the trip alive, but not without testing the limits of my sanity. (Go ahead, freebie of the day.)
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Writing the last non-parenthetical sentence made me wonder: In this DVR/TiVo age, how much of the more than $100 million the McConnell-Grimes race is expected to cost will be wasted because the small percentage of persuadable voters choose to fast-forward through the ads? And have the campaign media experts even asked themselves this question? Nah, probably not. It's not their money. So, what do they care?
Yo, Alison. The natives are getting restless. They see you falling behind in some polls, excluding your internal one, of course. And they want you to do something dramatic, such as shifting the focus of your campaign.
They look at the success of Kynect, and the 520,000 Kentuckians who have health insurance through it, many for the first time, and wonder why you don't embrace the more popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Never mind you already talk up ACA's good points in speeches, while noting you want to fix the flaws. The restless natives apparently want you to make it a part of your ad strategy, as Democrats in Arkansas and West Virginia have done.
At one time, I would have said the same thing. In fact, I did. Back in June, when Kynect's numbers had already topped 400,000 newly insured Kentuckians and McConnell was fresh off of saying his vow to repeal Obamacare "root and branch" had no connection to those 400,000-plus policies, I wrote that embracing Kynect the way Jensen was doing in her 6th Congressional District challenge of Barr could be a winner for you.
In June, you still had plenty of time to build a potentially successful ad campaign defense of the ACA's better points that would appeal to many of the Kentuckians whose insurance McConnell wants to cancel. Except, of course, those thankless Kentuckians who happily take the insurance while continuing to hate the black president who gave it to them so much they will vote for politicians who have vowed to take their insurance away them. There is no cure for stupidity.
Today, though, with most polls running against you and with little time to make your case, jumping on the Kynect bandwagon would smack of the kind of panic and desperation that led to Attorney General Jack Conway's disastrous "Aqua Buddha" ad in his 2010 race against now-U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. Don't go there. It's too late. Your new ad about your grandfather's stroke and McConnell's attacks on Medicare takes the health care fight to the Senate minority leader effectively enough, even if the natives continue to be restless.
As for your "Alison Oakley" skeet-shooting ad, I understand you're trying to appeal to conservative D's in eastern and western portions of the state by showing you're a strong woman with Kentucky values. And your closing line, "Mitch, that's not how you hold a gun," accompanied by the picture of him walking on stage with a long rifle raised upside-down above his head at this past spring's Conservative Political Action Conference, was cute.
I, too, poked fun at McConnell's "Dukakis moment," not because of the way he held the long rifle but because he looked as out of place with any weapon in his hand as former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis looked in the now infamous picture of him acting like he was manning a tank's machine gun.
Here's the thing, though. A quick perusal of history's pictures and videos will show clearly the folks brandishing weapons upside-down above their heads most often were winners, of the battle if not the war. So, the cute comment doesn't negate the picture's subliminal message about McConnell holding the long rifle the way a winner does.
If you want to minimize the damage in the eastern and western portions of Kentucky enough to be able to brandish your shotgun upside-down above your head in victory on election night, drop this ad and concentrate on getting former President Bubba (and Bubbette) on the ground in those regions as often as possible between now and Nov. 4.
Turns out our 6th District "Congressman Frankingstein" has a twin brother: "Congressman Bankingstein."
Reach Larry Keeling at firstname.lastname@example.org