Has the tea party found common ground with big Democratic donors, local liberal activists and a left-leaning super PAC in its disdain for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell?
Politico is reporting that MoveOn.org and the Democratic super PAC, Progress Kentucky, are telling tea partyers that they are poised to throw financial and organizational support behind a right-wing candidate should one try to defeat the powerful GOP leader in a 2014 primary fight.
“We are doing a lot of reaching out to some of the tea party folks across the state,” Keith Rouda, a field organizer with MoveOn.org and Progress Kentucky, said in the Politico report. “What we’re finding — at least in this stage of the race — we’re finding that our interests align. It’s unusual.”
Rouda did contact me to clarify that in his interview with Politico, he “did not indicate that MoveOn.org as an organization would provide financial or organizational support for any candidate, let alone a right leaning one.”
The motivation for the left is to “soften up” McConnell for the general election, and Progress Kentucky is circulating petitions urging Republicans to challenge him in the primary.
But will this result in another reliable Republican seat in the U.S. Senate being forfeited to the Democrats, as was the case in Indiana with Dick Lugar?
One thing is certain: McConnell does not share Lugar’s insolence when it comes to the tea party. As Politico reports:
McConnell’s staff has attended more than 100 tea party meetings in the state over the past two years, and the leader himself has stumped at three tea party rallies, including one with Sen. Rand Paul —the junior senator from Kentucky who was elected in 2010 on a tea party wave — in the state capital of Frankfort last August.
McConnell was quick to align with Rand Paul after he defeated the candidate McConnell supported in the 2010 Senate primary, even assisting him in the general election that year. And he hired Jesse Benton – who led both Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign and Rand Paul’s 2010 Senate race – to run his campaign.
So is this yet another example of the tea party being its own worst enemy? In the end, it’s hard to fathom that these individuals are not savvy enough to realize that the progressive left represents everything the tea party stands against.
Perhaps the good folks in Kentucky need to be reminded that rarely does making a deal with the devil turn out in your favor.