Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is fighting a close race to hold on to his seat in the Senate. His competition, current Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, might have just gotten the equivalent of Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” gaffe she needs to take the Bluegrass State in November.
Recordings of McConnell speaking at a private conference hosted by the Koch Brothers called “American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society,” were recently published by The Nation. On them are McConnell’s remarks at the June 15 session, titled “Free Speech: Defending First Amendment Rights.”
McConnell covered topics like the budget, going after Democrats on issues such as healthcare, the Environmental Protection Agency, and student loan debt. He also praised campaign finance restrictions, or really, the lackthereof.
“So in the House and Senate, we own the budget. So what does that mean?” asked McConnell.
“That means that we can pass the spending bill. And I assure that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spend to do this or that. We’re going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board [inaudible]. All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it.”
“And we’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That’s all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage,” McConnell said.
The Senate Minority Leader said that Democrats are afraid of their critics and want to use the government to silence them. Apparently the irony of this statement, given that McConnell led 67 filibusters in 2012, was lost on him.
McConnell also applauded Citizens United, saying that it leveled “the playing field for corporate speech … We now have, I think, the most free and open system we’ve had in modern times.”
The Senator, whose 35-year tenure in the Senate has seen, as The Nation pointed out, the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and the ensuing war in Iraq (both of which killed thousands of Americans), the complete meltdown of the housing market and economy in 2008, and the election of Barack Obama — twice, said that “the worst day of [his] political life” was when George W. Bush “signed McCain-Feingold into law.”
The Grimes campaign and other Democratic groups have pounced on these recordings.
“On issues like raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance and helping Kentuckians with college affordability,” the Grimes camp said in a release, “McConnell promised his party’s rich bankers that he stands with them, no matter the cost to Kentuckians and this nation.”
Head of the Kentucky Democratic Party, Dan Logsdon, called McConnell’s remarks “shocking.”
“His pandering to wealthy out-of-state backers to help his party gain power at the expense of of hardworking Kentuckians is staggering and beyond deplorable,” Logsdon said.