When Alison Lundergan Grimes first announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate, one of us went off on a rant about her father, the notorious Jerry Lundergan.
The K-Pac'er in question told anyone who'd listen how it would be terrible for Kentucky to let the offspring and progeny and ideological heir of that corrupt political hack and disgraced former legislator and state Democrat leader anywhere near a position of power. Bad enough that she was elected to a state government office where she has control over elections, but to put an inexperienced lightweight like her with a no-count daddy in the most powerful legislative body in the world?
One right-leaning friend was a little quick to try to defend the Lundergan spawn from her father's taint, saying she should be judged by her own (lack of) capabilities and not by her parent's sins.
We never bought into that reasoning. In politics, you're all about your cheerleaders and supporters, especially when that web is as dirty as the one Jerry Lundergan and his ilk have woven over the decades. That's why we make sure we always refer to her by her maiden name; e.g., "Lundergan Grimes" instead of just "Grimes."
Still, for most Republicans, her father hasn't really been a campaign issue up to this point as the race between her and Mitch McConnell begins to heat up.
That may all be about to change.
Starting with Kathy Groob's offensive tweets on the day of Fancy Farm, Democrats and the Lundergan Grimes campaign seem intent on making McConnell's wife a major focus of the campaign. She is, of course, Elaine Chao, former Labor secretary in the George W. Bush administration, which makes her a target. Add her family's wealth and her Chinese heritage, and the liberals are having a field day.
(Funny, isn't it? Democrats claim the Republicans are anti-female and are waging a "war on women," yet they point to Chao's presence on a couple of foundation boards and wonder aloud why McConnell can't control his wife. Does anyone else see the extreme irony and predictable hypocrisy in that?)
Well, if Elaine Chao is legitimate campaign fodder for the Democrats, then it should be open season on Jerry Lundergan. And he's a much more lucrative target than Chao could ever be.
Anyone who's remotely familiar with Kentucky politics knows all about Jerry Lundergan. He's a former state representative and Democrat chairman. He was convicted of criminal charges relating to official corruption but the conviction was later overturned on a technicality relating to the timing of the indictment, not the actual offense. Given the way Democrats seem to celebrate political legacies, that should be a huge black mark against his daughter as it is. Indeed, McConnell himself has made a few references to Lundergan's entry back into the Kentucky political scene, since he's the de facto chairman of his daughter's campaign.
But as personally tainted as Lundergan is, that's not the biggest black mark against him. He personifies the cronyism that has controlled Kentucky state government for decades and has prevented this state from moving forward. He may have had an ongoing feud with Gov. Steve Beshear -- set aside temporarily as his daughter makes her Senate run -- but the truth is, they are two sides of the same coin. Both are immersed in a good old boy network that has stalled progress in the Bluegrass. The names and faces may change, but the mindset among the state's prominent Democrats is the same.
Is that what Kentucky needs in the Senate? It's bad enough that she would be a cheerleader for President Obama and Harry Reid and other powerful national liberals. Do we really want the enemies of improvement in Kentucky to have a direct connection in Washington, D.C.?
Alison Lundergan Grimes may anatomically be a female, but she's just as much a product of the good old boy network of Democrat politics in Kentucky as Andy Beshear or Ben Chandler or Chris Perkins or John Y. Brown III or… You get the point. She is claiming to be a fresh face, but behind that face are the same old ideas that have stagnated Kentucky.
It's time to unleash the cannons on Jerry Lundergan. It's impossible for his daughter to distance herself from her daddy and his sliminess. Republicans and the McConnell campaign need to take advantage of that.