Sunday, October 26, 2008

This is the thanks he gets? Stumbo turns on McConnell after Mitch's big favor to him

When former Attorney General Greg Stumbo sought to take down Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher, no one aided Stumbo more in his quest than Sen. Mitch McConnell, who was once Fletcher's political mentor.

By staying silent and not speaking out about Stumbo's politically-motivated prosecution of his protege, McConnell gave Stumbo confidence and strength. In fact, McConnell may have saved Stumbo's political career by not using his influence with the U.S. Attorney's office to have Stumbo's role in the Johnny Ray Turner-Ross Harris scandal (and he had a key role, we hear) further investigated. We hear that Stumbo was under close scrutiny for his role in vote buying and other fraudulent activity in southeastern Kentucky. We're sure that all it would have taken to have him thoroughly investigated and possibly indicted would have been a phone call from the GOP leader of the U.S. Senate to the federal prosecutor, and Stumbo may have been in deep, deep trouble.

But for whatever reasons -- reasons that obviously are coming back to haunt McConnell as he fights for his political life this year -- the senior senator from the Bluegrass State chose not to get involved. He never made any statements in support of his party's first Republican governor in three decades -- a man he had tirelessly worked to get elected in 2003 -- and he never targeted Stumbo for any criticism or retribution.

McConnell's dishonorable acts during the hiring investigation emboldened Stumbo and helped the deadbeat dad attorney general kill Fletcher's re-election chances. Stumbo owes McConnell a debt of gratitude for his help in his effort to bring down Fletcher.

So, how does Stumbo pay McConnell back? He lashes out at McConnell because the senator had a short-lived military career.

Stumbo's comments last week while stumping for Democrat challenger Bruce Lunsford, on whose ticket Stumbo ran for lieutenant governor last year, were yet another thinly veiled attack on McConnell's sexuality. Democrats have long whispered vile rumors about McConnell's discharge from the Army, and the "Mitch is Gay" claim has been around since McConnell unseated Dee Huddleston for the Senate seat in 1984.

While there's nothing new about the "Mitch is Gay" attacks, we find it very odd that such claims would be coming from Stumbo. After all, Stumbo made himself a hero among Kentucky Democrats by bringing down a Republican governor, and he couldn't have done it without McConnell's help.

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