Last week I suggested that Mitch McConnell’s biggest political asset was harnessed to his biggest vulnerability: his mastery of the dark arts of negative campaigning has made him less than a lovable figure in Kentucky, or for that matter, in Washington.

We’re certainly seeing that in his initial attacks on his Tea Party challenger, Matt Bevins, who is campaigning on the idea that McConnell is a RINO sell-out for, among other things, refusing to shut down the federal government until eternity, or until Obama abandons Obamacare, whichever comes first.

You’d think McConnell might label Bevins a dangerous radical whose manifest extremism would make him, if nominated, the next Todd Akins or Richard Mourdock, upset bait for a strong Democratic opponent like Alison Lundergan Grimes. But no:

Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) reelection campaign is out with a new ad hitting Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin as “bailout Bevin” and highlighting a number of tax liens assessed on his business and vacation home.

“Matt ‘bailout’ Bevin is not a Kentucky conservative,” a narrator opens the ad.

The narrator mentions the eight tax liens assessed on the company for failing to pay $116,000 in taxes and a state grant Bevin obtained to help his family’s bell-making company rebuild after a 2012 fire.

McConnell appears inclined to go after Bevins as a CINO (conservative in name only) and a crook. God forbid he should deal with Bevins’ own crazy arguments, or even disagree with them.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.