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Friday, April 12, 2013

Group behind McConnell recording a long-running clown show

Alex Seitz-Wald: Liberal super PAC Progress Kentucky is at the center of controversy after a Democratic strategist in the state said activists affiliated with the group bragged to him that they secretly recorded the audiotape of Mitch McConnell’s strategy meeting that was leaked to Mother Jones this week. If true, they could face criminal sanctions. The treasurer of the super PAC resigned this afternoon [i.e., 4/11/13].

Now, it’s worth stating that we don’t know for sure that Progress Kentucky produced the tape or is involved in any way — this is just the word of one Democratic strategist, who has an interest in distancing his party from the group.

But it’s not the first time the super PAC has gotten into trouble. In late February, they made a series of offensive “jokes” about McConnell’s wife on Twitter, attacking her for being Chinese-American. Even Ashley Judd felt compelled to issue a public condemnation.

But there’s something important you should know about Progress Kentucky: No one took its members very seriously in Kentucky, even before the slurs or the secret tape. I know this because I once quoted Curtis Morrison, who was one of what appears to be only two or three people associated with the group (he resigned in March), and a number of liberal activists in the state told me to never do it again.

“I feel inclined to warn you that he (and they) are a long running joke in Louisville,” a progressive activist and writer messaged me on Feb. 25. “Everyone in KY (liberals included & especially) can’t believe how much attention they’ve gotten in the national media, especially considering no one here takes them seriously (due to a long history of incompetence). An anti-Mitch group needs to emerge, but dear God, it is not Curt & Co. Just an FYI!”
How much of a mover and shaker is Progress Kentucky? Well, in the last cycle this “Super PAC” raised a whopping $1,005 and spent $18. So, in the grand scheme of political powerhouses in the state, Progress Kentucky isn’t one — not even remotely.

“Kentucky Democrats have never taken Progress Kentucky seriously. If you can’t raise more than $1,000 to defeat the most unpopular Senator in the country, you are not a remotely serious political organization,” a Kentucky Democratic operative told Seitz-Wald. The local political blog PageOne Kentucky calls the group a “walking disaster.”

In the end, Progress Kentucky has done more harm than good — as is the case usually, apparently. McConnell has bundled up the PAC with other liberal and Democratic groups when talking about the incident, using Progress Kentucky to broadbrush the entire left. Seitz-Wald writes that their ineffectiveness “won’t stop McConnell’s forces from trying to connect the audiotaping and the group to other Democratic groups, no matter how unfairly.”

Given how profoundly irrelevant the group is, it would be inaccurate to say that they’re why Democrats have a hard time winning in Kentucky. But they’re clearly not helping, either.

[photo by _gee_]

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