Via the Free Beacon, note well that James O’Keefe is promising lots more in this vein to come before the midterms. To be clear, Grimes’s staffers aren’t claiming they know for a fact that she’s lying when she tells Kentucky voters she’s pro-coal. This is what they surmise, partly because they’re lefties who dearly want to believe she’s secretly anti-coal and partly because they know that “centrist” Democrats from red states are party hacks who will always vote with their leadership when the chips are down. If a bill that would wreck Kentucky coal comes up in the Senate and Senator Grimes is the 60th vote, she’ll cast that vote. Just like Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu, and Kay Hagan all bit the bullet and screwed their constituencies by voting for ObamaCare.
That said, apart from that one highly unlikely circumstance — Grimes as the 60th vote — she would vote reliably pro-coal, wouldn’t she? Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership would have every incentive to let her protect herself by crossing the aisle if her vote is meaningless. It’ll be hard for a Democrat to hold this seat even if they’re mostly in line with Kentucky’s conservative electorate. If they’re voting against coal on top of it, it’ll be impossible. (How many Iowa Republicans are anti-ethanol?) What you’re seeing here from her staff is wishcasting about how she’d like to vote if she could, not necessarily how she will when she can’t.
Oh well. She’s been down a steady four or five points to McConnell for many weeks; unless she’s ready to spring some killer oppo on Mitch the Knife, she’s going to lose this race regardless. I think the real impact of this vid, especially with O’Keefe hinting there are more shoes to drop, is that it’ll encourage both parties to do more of this hidden camera stuff with underlings from their opponents’ campaigns. (In particular, it wouldn’t surprise me if one of Rand Paul’s rivals, either in the primaries or in the general election, pulls it with his libertarian staffers to try to paint him as out of the mainstream by association.) Once that happens a few times, staffers will be told that they must push the campaign’s talking points even in the most private conversations as a hedge against traps. If you think message discipline nowadays is strict, wait a few years until online electioneering has exploded even further.
Update: Annnnnd, no sooner am I done drafting this post than Survey USA comes out with a new poll showing Grimes ahead of McConnell by two points. Gulp.