The tea party is very much enamored with Matt Bevin, the grass-roots challenger to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the Senate seat in Kentucky — a bout that will be decided in the state’s May 20 primary. Mr. McConnell does not appear worried, advising voters that incumbents would “crush” their tea party opponents. Did he know that a certain powerful endorsement was in the works? Oh, could be.
“Mitch McConnell is a true champion of our Second Amendment rights, leading the fight against President Obama, Harry Reid and Michael Bloomberg’s anti-freedom agenda,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman of the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund upon announcing the organization would back the incumbent on Saturday.
“Sen. McConnell’s steadfast support of our right to keep and bear arms and hunting heritage has earned him an A-plus rating from the NRA.”
The feeling must be mutual. Mr. McConnell will be a featured speaker at the NRA’s annual membership meeting which opens next week in Indianapolis, sharing the stage with, among many others, Sens. Dan Coats of Indiana and Marco Rubio of Florida, Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Mike Pence of Indiana, plus former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
Back in Kentucky, none of this has gone unnoticed by Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic challenger who invited Mr. McConnell for some target practice back in November. He rejected the offer. The candidate has not given up on the showdown, however.
“I invited @TeamMitch to join me at the gun range 155 days ago. The invitation still stands, Senator,” she tweeted following the NRA endorsement announcement.
AND THE LATEST FROM IRKED VOTERS
“More voters than ever would rather scrap the current Congress than to see it re-elected. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 9 percent of likely U.S. voters think it would be better for the country if most incumbents were re-elected this November. Seventy-two percent say it would be better if most of them were defeated instead, 19 percent are undecided,” reports pollster Scott Rasmussen.
A TAXING SITUATION
Yes, tax day dawns in 24 hours or so. But some are more concerned with Tax Freedom Day — the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay its total tax bill for year. And here’s the startling math, courtesy of the independent researchers at the Tax Foundation. In 2014, Americans will pay $3.0 trillion in federal taxes and $1.5 trillion in state taxes, for a total tax bill of $4.5 trillion, or 30.2 percent of income.
And the moment of truth. Tax Freedom Day falls on April 21, or 111 days into the year. It is three days later than last year, mainly due “to the country’s continued slow economic recovery,” the foundation says. Some states are better off than others, though.
“The total tax burden borne by residents of different states varies considerably due to differing state tax policies and because of the progressivity of the federal tax system,” say analysts Kyle Pomerleau and Lyman Stone.
“This means a combination of higher-income and higher-tax states celebrate Tax Freedom Day later: Connecticut (May 9), New Jersey (May 9), and New York (May 4). Residents of Louisiana will bear the lowest average tax burden in 2014, with Tax Freedom Day arriving for them on March 30. Also early are Mississippi (April 2) and South Dakota (April 4),” the pair note.
UKRAINE: SUBJECT TO INTERPRETATION
Sen. John McCain is still calling Russia a “gas station masquerading as a country.” The Arizona Republican has employed this snappy metaphor for weeks, introducing it in mid-March during a speech when he visited the besieged nation himself. And right on schedule. Mr. McCain made the comment on Sunday to CBS News, adding on a message for President Obama about the unfolding Ukraine matter: