Anyone listening to political analysis coming from the national talking heads is likely constantly pulling hairs out or slapping their heads if they are bald. The lack of consistency and deep thought is simply astounding. It is like they are playing political checkers instead of chess.
Alison Lundergan Grimes answered the question appropriately
The narrative Friday was that Alison Lundergan Grimes was caught off guard when asked if she voted for President Obama. Here is how she answered the Louisville Courier-Journal editorial board on Thursday.
Editorial Board: Did you vote for President Obama 2008 20012?
Alison Lundergan Grime (D-KY): You know, this election isn’t about the President. It’s about making sure we put Kentuckians back to work.
Editorial Board: Could you answer it?
Alison Lundergan Grime (D-KY): I was actually an 08 delegate for Hilary Clinton. And I think that Kentuckians know I am a Clinton Democrat through and through. I respect the sanctity of the ballot box and I know the members of this editorial board do as well.
There are no sound bites in that clip that allow the GOP to tie her to President Obama. An extensive part of the answer shows her deference to the Clintons. Kentucky voted for President Clinton twice. President Obama’s is polling in Kentucky at 33%.
Chuck Todd decided to echo Philip Bump’s poor analysis in The Fix.
Grimes tries to pivot off of the board's question (for some reason!) by linking herself to Hillary Clinton. There's not a lot of good data on Clinton's approval in Kentucky, but at least the state voted for her husband twice. If you have to be a type of Democrat in Kentucky, be a "Clinton Democrat" as Grimes puts it. Fine.
But there was no reason to do this. Grimes is fairly new on the national scene, but she's not new enough not to know how to answer this fairly simply. "Yes, I voted for him," you say, "but I've been disappointed by a lot of the things he's done, particularly on COAL and JOBS and GUNS" or whatever. It's simple. And then you can say, "but I backed Hillary in the primary" and so on and so on. 2008 was a landmark year, a wave for Democrats, when Obama's approval was sky-high. Of course she voted for him! Dodging the question looks like she's trying to hide her position, which is never the face you want to show -- particularly when conservatives are accusing her of hiding her positions on other things.
There is no independent thinking with these guys. It was a stupid question from the editorial board. They were attempting to get a sound bite for Mitch McConnell. Of course as a Democrat she voted for the President.
The claim that she would alienate Democratic voters is ludicrous. At 33% the President is not only unpopular with Conservatives in Kentucky. He is also unpopular with a substantial number of Democrats. The media have done a great job in allowing the GOP to malign him unfairly.
Alison Lundergan Grimes will not get the real Conservative vote no matter what she says. As such her answer does not care if the few that will listen or see this snippet are Conservatives. Her concern is that there are no sound bites that can show her in an ad saying “I voted for Obama.” That ad would definitely leave out the “but” Chuck Todd and the other national pseudo political wizards would have liked her to say. Even worse, what came after the but would likely alienate the die-hard Democrats and Liberals much more so than not answering who she voted for at all. But these talking heads are unable to process more than one level of indirection.
Chuck Todd made a rather explosively partisan statement whether he realized it or not.
It just came across as you are trying to be a US Senator, you want to cast tough votes? You can’t even answer that question? It borders on disqualification. To some voters they are going to sit there and say I can’t vote for you and I don’t want to vote for him. I don’t know what to do.
Really Chuck Todd? The voters that we need to matter are a lot more sophisticated than you think. If you are the political go to guy NBC is attempting to make into the next Tim Russert, they have failed. This is why a strong blogging community is needed. Be the media.
The national talking heads may be hyperventilating about Alison Lundergan Grimes’ answer. However they missed the most important part of the answer. “I respect the sanctity of the ballot box and I know the members of this editorial board do as well.” This sentence gives many who hate Mitch McConnell but could not tell their friends they voted for her permission to do so. If Alison Lundergan Grimes doesn’t have to tell, no one needs to. Of course they could always lie.