I'm always pleased when Republicans assemble a circular firing squad, so I was initially happy to read this:
Tea Party challenger to McConnell emergingBevin made a lot of money in the investing business in Louisville, so if he runs, he's got a fortune to tap into. But he's not a Kentucky native -- in fact, he's from New England, although it was rural New England (we're told he "grew up in a small, rural town in northern New England, making do in an eight-person family in a small farmhouse with one bathroom and no central heat"). He's the president of a family bell-manufacturing business that makes bells for the Salvation Army, and that dates back generations (it made the bell in It's a Wonderful Life that rings whenever an angel gets its wings) -- but the company is based in Connecticut.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could see a primary challenge from local businessman Matt Bevin, who sources say is reaching out to Tea Party groups in the state to gauge support for a 2014 Senate run.
Sarah Duran, president of the Louisville Tea Party, told The Hill that Bevin had been in touch with her over the phone to discuss his run multiple times over the past few weeks, and that he met with the group two weeks ago to discuss his interest in the race....
When I read that the tea party is looking at a challenger for a very right-wing incumbent, I assume the challenger must be an "Obamacare"-denouncing, "socialism"-decrying, "gun-grabber"-fearing blowhard. But I've searched the Web in vain for that kind of talk from Matt Bevin. Are the 'baggers really going to vote for someone who deprives them of overheated rhetoric?
Bevin seems like just the opposite kind of guy. There was a fire at his bell factory last year. He swore he'd rebuild, and he did. Shortly after the fire, he went before the town council in East Hampton, Connecticut, and talked like this:
"We have an opportunity to work together, to be of like mind, to rally around something that has nothing to do with partisanship, it has nothing to do with politics, it has everything to do with doing the right thing," he said. "It's bigger than us, we're a little bell company. We have two businesses under that roof. We made pressurized cylinders at PSI, we made bells at Bevin Bros. Manufacturing Company. It’s so much bigger than these two little companies. We have 26 employees, there’s thousands of people in this town. ... Every great thing turns on something. Every great chance to turn something around begins with one event. I'm asking the people of this town to rally around everyone whether you voted for them or not. I'm asking for the people on this council to work together ... and give this town a chance for a do over. There is no reason why the town of East Hampton can not become a beacon for what it means to live the American dream. To rally around a cause, whatever that cause is."Really? The folks who like Todd Akin and Sharron Angle and Rand Paul and Joe Miller are going to vote for a guy who talks like that? And doesn't rant about the vast left-wing conspiracy of Kenyan Muslim gun-grabbing medicine-socializing 47-percenters?
Maybe the Jesus thing will work. Bevin and his wife did provide the endowment for the Bevin Center for Missions Mobilization at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which will aid Baptist missionaries (the center is in honor of the Bevins' late daughter, Brittney, who wanted to be a missionary).
Still, it all seems too uplifting. Where's the rage? Where's the division of the population into real Americans and traitors?
This guy seems like the Jon Huntsman of the teabag world. I wouldn't count on him beating McConnell. If he somehow does, he sure doesn't seem crazy enough to lose the general election. But I don't think he'll ever get that far. He won't get the base's juices flowing.