Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bruce Ditching Mitch? Don't Count On It

As fun as it is to watch everybody go nuts over this Rasmussen poll that shows Democratic nominee Bruce Lunsford beating Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell by five points, I have to throw cold water on this premature and unwarranted celebration.

Ain't gonna happen.

Even if it were gonna happen, a poll five months before the general election wouldn't tell you anything about it.

Bruce Lunsford won the Democratic primary last Tuesday. Today's poll reflects a primary bump from the heavy coverage the primary campaign and Lunsford's victory received in both the MSM and the blogosphere.

Remember that Mitch McConnell was a severe underdog in 1984 when he set out to upset secure sitting Senator Dee Huddleston. McConnell was almost laughed out of the state when his ads first aired. Featuring a pack of bloodhounds sniffing through the U.S. Capitol, "searching" for the often-absent Huddleston, they were dismissed as ridiculous by political professionals.

It was only later, after the comical but viciously effective attack ads worked, that political pros praised and copied them.

To win this race in a landslide, Mitch needs to run one ad. Just one. It'll show Bruce Lunsford embracing Barack Obama. Even if it's a photo-shopped fake.

No, of course it didn't work in Mississippi; Democrats in Mississippi love Obama 61-37. In Kentucky, they hate him, 30-66. Here, it'll work.

The only thing that will save Lunsford from dying by that ad is if he denounces Obama now, denounces Obama loud, and keeps on denouncing Obama at the top of his lungs every day from now until November 4.

However, such Obama-hating will guarantee that the anti-Lunsford Democrats whom Lunsford needs to win this election, and who for the moment are willing to hold their noses and actually vote for Bruce in order to get rid of Mitch, will change their minds and sit this one out.

Don't get me wrong. I believe strongly that Obama will have great coattails in November and will provide the margin of victory to scores of down-ticket Democrats throughout the country who would have lost under a different presidential candidate.

But Kentucky's Senate race is a hat-trick for republicans: a Democratic Senate candidate purely hated by half his state party, led by a Democratic presidential candidate hated by two-thirds of his state party, up against a meaner-than-a-snake national power-broker with more than enough money to buy every spare minute of TV time in the state for the next five months.

There is no scenario, including a Democratic tsunami that takes out almost every Republican incumbent in the nation, that permits a Lunsford victory.

Ain't gonna happen.

But if you must have a ray of hope, that depressing prediction comes from the same person who predicted Clinton would win Kentucky by less than 10 points.

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.