Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) last week made an unusually crass move, and quickly realized he’d made a mistake. For some reason, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) learned nothing from the flap.
Grimm, who had announced his support for President Obama’s intervention policy in Syria, did a 180-degree turn a few days later. Within hours, the Republican was asking his supporters to reward his flip-flop by sending him $25.
It was an ugly move, even by congressional Republican standards. What kind of politician adopts a foreign policy position he disagrees with, then exploits a national security crisis with a cheap fundraising ploy? Does decency no longer matter?
Grimm, embarrassed, soon after withdrew the appeal, insisting it went out by mistake. Mitch McConnell and his campaign team saw all of this and decided to do the exact same thing anyway.
Not long after President Barack Obama finished his Syria speech Tuesday evening, people on Mitch McConnell’s campaign mailing list received a fundraising pitch touting the Kentucky Republican’s decision earlier in the day to oppose a military strike in the war-torn country.
The email featured a letter to supporters from McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton, who included the full text of McConnell’s floor speech on Tuesday morning. During the speech, McConnell announced his opposition to a resolution authorizing military intervention.
The letter to donors specifically reads, “Today was a ringing example of why we need to keep Mitch fighting for us in the United States Senate. Anything that you can contribute will go a long way towards our goal.” The entire second sentence was hyperlinked to a contribution page. The bottom of the McConnell message also included a large “contribute” button.
I’d love to know which strategic genius told the Senate Minority Leader this would be a good idea.
Mitch McConnell, too afraid of his own shadow to lead, has spent the last three weeks hiding from taking a position on U.S. policy in Syria. Yesterday, ignoring his own foreign policy views, the Kentucky Republican announced his opposition to intervention.
Fine. McConnell’s hardly the only Republican being craven about this.
But to exploit this a few hours later for fundraising? Even after another congressional Republican caught hell for trying the exact same stunt?
This shouldn’t be necessary, but let’s make this plain again: don’t try to exploit a national security crisis involving a chemical-weapons attack to pad your campaign coffers.