Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

March 6, 2013

Racism, super PACs have no place in politics


March 6, 2013 — Anyone who knows anything about Kentucky politics is well aware that our senior U. S. senator, Mitch McConnell, is a hardball player in the political arena.

He obviously likes the rough and tumble of politics and deserves most of the credit for the resurgence of the Republican Party in this state.

And, as leader of the Republican minority in the Senate, McConnell has been a constant thorn in the side of President Obama and the Democrats who barely control the upper chamber in Washington.

It has been said and written that McConnell, an incredibly prolific fund raiser, is the No. 1 target of the Democratic National Committee heading into the 2014 election cycle where he will seek a record sixth term.

We don’t always agree with his tactics or his rhetoric but McConnell is smart and tough and loves to hassle his political opponents.

For example, his campaign already has released a funny video about the bumbling efforts of Kentucky Democrats to find a credible candidate to run against him next year.

At this point, Ashland native and Tennessee resident Ashley Judd seems to be getting the most attention as a potential McConnell challenger, despite her opposition to surface mining in the mountains of East Kentucky.

Without a doubt, McConnell is a source of great frustration for Democrats at all levels of the political landscape in Kentucky.

But none of that justifies the gutter politics of Progress Kentucky, a super PAC, which recently allowed the Internet publication of race-baiting comments targeting McConnell’s wife, former U. S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.

A super PAC is a new, scarier type of political action committee which was created in July 2010 when the federal courts removed all limits on political fund raising and spending in the U.S.

Although technically known as independent expenditure-only committees, super PACs may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to support or oppose political candidates.

The only restriction is that they must report their donors to the Federal Election Commission and may not give money directly to a candidate.

As of last week, 1,319 super PACs reported total receipts of more than $838 million and expenditures of $631 million in last year’s elections.

Progress Kentucky, facing criticism on all sides, removed the offensive comments and apologized to Ms. Chao, a native of Taiwan who immigrated to America as a child.

In our view, super PACs are an evil influence and racial slurs are even more despicable.