Thursday, October 18, 2007
He can't luxuriate in a reputation for personal caution and political control, yet claim he knew nothing about the role his office tried to play in sliming a Baltimore boy and his family when they came forward in support of the SCHIP health care expansion.
By now you know the story: Twelve-year-old Graeme Frost and his sister, Gemma, suffered severe brain injuries in a 2004 car crash and got help from the SCHIP program -- all within the rules, as it turned out, much to the chagrin of would-be right-wing spoilers.
Graeme spoke out when President Bush vetoed the SCHIP expansion bill, which the Republican minority in the House is expect to kill today.
A McConnell aide, Don Stewart, admits he sicced reporters on the Frosts when "trusted" bloggers began to question their authenticity as an income-qualified CHIP program participant.
But he says he quickly called off the dogs when he decided there wasn't a story there after all, because the family's situation was legitimate. Mr. Stewart told The Courier-Journal he explained all that to his boss on Thursday.
So Sen. McConnell was deliberately untruthful the next day, when he told WHAS-TV's Mark Hebert, "There was no involvement whatsoever." The senator will object to any suggestion of lying, but what else is it when you knowingly misrepresent facts?
It's clear what Mitch McConnell knew and when he knew it. It's clear he deceived the public when he answered Mr. Hebert as he did about the e-mail sent by his press agent.
Mr. McConnell is so used to Washington-style gamesmanship and inside-the-beltway rules that he has forgotten what constituents back in Kentucky want: the simple truth.
They want that every bit as much as they want the bags of tax money he sends home.