Jump Alison Jump. Or Not.
Everyone, it seems, has an opinion to press upon Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Voices shout at her from all angles to "Jump" or "Don't Jump!" into a race against sitting Senator Mitch McConnell.
It is beginning to remind me of a crowd standing below a high rise urging a troubled soul on a ledge to take that final fateful step.
It won't turn out well for the jumper - but there will be plenty of excitement for all on the way down.
Not that I think that Grimes will hit bottom with a splat.
Quite the contrary. Recent polling gives her the best chance of beating McConnell polling only four points behind him in an April poll conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP). Those four points are within the margin of error. The only other Dem within the margin of error is former Congressman Ben Chandler, who trails McConnell by five points.
Grimes is the kind of politician and lawyer who has shown when she jumps, she will do so on her schedule - when she knows that the firemen 's trampoline will be there to catch her. No depressed miss, Grimes conveys a real joy in campaigning. She exudes joy wading into a crowd. Her speeches are loud and boisterous. Her gestures expansive. One cannot say that about any of her potential opponents in either political party. Grimes conveys on the campaign trail that she is having FUN.
So far, she has resisted the impulse to snarl at the media's whining that she won't make up her mind. The media's goal is tomorrow's headline. The press wants a contest and they want it NOW. Wisely, she hasn't given them what they want - yet.
She has not been herded by the Grande Dame of the Democratic Party, Crit Luallen, telling her to run. Grimes is, in the parlance of an earlier time, keeping her powder dry.
Good for her.
It's a long way to November 2014. While I understand that fundraising begins in earnest the minute she announces her decision, I also understand, as does Grimes, that the knives being sharpened in GOP headquarters also come out. Preemptive strikes citing her age and lack of experience have already been rolled out. So far voters are either not paying attention or just don't care.
Voters just are not interested in a race over a year away.
Surely Senator McConnell looks in his mirror and sees an experienced politician. He also should see a politician looking tired and shopworn. Senator McConnell has almost reached the pinnacle of his career - becoming Senate Majority Leader. On his way there, he will have to pass through thickets of tea partiers, a junior senator who's most definitely got higher office in another branch of government in mind and a national Democratic Party hungry to take out the Big Guy of the other party. Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader, could offer McConnell some advice on falling from great heights to the private sector. (Like that's gonna happen)
Secretary of State Grimes is doing something refreshing for an up and coming politician.
Grimes has cloaked any naked ambition, working in the Legislature to get serving military the right to vote while deployed.
(There are other up and comers doing the jobs they were elected to do - but this is Alison's column. Hold on, fellas - your turn will come.)
I am not going to join the chorus yelling "Jump."
There is time for Grimes to carefully consider her options, to realistically assess what she's getting into. Running against Mitch McConnell is only slightly less bruising than going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. McConnell is a fierce competitor and he will not give up. No how. No way.
That's why I refuse to join the chorus.
Alison will jump. Or not.
Only she will be able to gauge whether she will survive the fall.