Saturday, August 30, 2014

Who's the bigger liability, Jesse Benton or Jerry Lundergan?

It's been very entertaining the last 36 hours or so, watching the Democrats try to claim that the 2012 Iowa presidential endorsement scandal is the smoking gun that will take Mitch McConnell's campaign down.

We have news for them: That dog won't hunt.

Plus, they need to remove the board from their own eyes before they point out the splinter in someone else's eyes.

Jesse Benton was a hired hand. He's already been cut loose. Even if he ever was an issue for the McConnell campaign, he no longer is.

The Democrats' problem is that they can't remove the Jerry Lundergan taint from Alison Lundergan Grimes' campaign. In addition to being her de facto campaign manager, he's also her father. And his record of corruption is a matter of fact. After all, his conviction was reversed on a technicality, not because of any evidentiary reason.

The Lundergan Grimes camp brought Mitch McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao, into the campaign, thus opening the door for McConnell's team to interject Jerry Lundergan into the mix. If they want to use Jesse Benton as an issue, it gives Team Mitch yet another opportunity to tie Lundergan to his daughter's candidacy.

The smart thing for Lundergan to do would be to distance himself from Alison's candidacy, but he's already in too deep, and the growing controversies over the bus he's providing for her campaign are making matters worse for them.

Jesse Benton hasn't even been charged with a crime. Jerry Lundergan was convicted of an offense relating to his conduct while in public office. And it's appearing that he may be running afoul of the same campaign finance laws that may become a factor with Benton.

So, Democrats -- do you really want to go there regarding Benton?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rand Paul bucks conventional wisdom, moves to the left for the primary

Conventional wisdom is that Republican presidential candidates have to move to the right to win the nomination, then move to the center to have any chance of winning the general election.

But there's nothing conventional about Kentucky's U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, as shown by his frequent moves to the left as he sets out on his as-of-now unofficial quest for the 2016 nomination.

From vote fraud to drug control policy to law enforcement to felon voting rights, Paul has frequently taken liberal positions that are at odds with the conservative base of the Republican Party.

Just last week, he staked out a position to the left of Hillary Clinton on national defense. Her response was, in essence, to wish that Saddam Hussein was still alive. Although Paul may be the only person in the world who might consider her a "war hawk," the truth is that either one of them would be a disaster where defending our country is concerned.

We've long been skeptical of Paul and his motives. He is basically a more polished version of his father, who has been better able to appeal to the masses instead of being a fringe figure like his daddy was. But we honestly don't see how he can have any hopes of succeeding if he continues trying to play both sides of the aisle.

If he thinks that black liberals are going to vote for him over a Democrat because of his positions on drugs and felon voting rights, then he's been hitting his Aqua Buddha pretty hard. No amount of pandering is going to get a bloc of habitual Democrat voters to turn away from their natural inclinations and vote for him. And if he continues to take positions on the left that repel conservatives, he'll be lucky to have any base of support outside the minority of hard-core libertarians that don't represent the base of either party.

The most frequently heard 2008 criticism of Barack Obama -- that he lacks executive experience and is too wet-behind-the-ears as a first-term senator to be president -- is equally applicable to Paul. (Unfortunately, it also applies to putative conservative favorites Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz; not to mention that Cruz has that same not-born-in-America thing that excludes him from being president that some have tried to use against Obama). No one who used the inexperience reason against Obama has any room to now turn around and support Paul.

While many look at the list of possible 2016 GOP presidential candidates and become discouraged at the thoughts of liberal Republicans like Jeb Bush or Chris Christie being the nominee, Paul has proven himself to be far more liberal than those two on many issues about which conservatives are passionate. Yet somehow Paul picks up a lot of support from various TEA party sympathizers.

With control of the Senate looming and Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign in the spotlight, and Paul's not-so-secret presidential hopes on the radar screen, Kentucky is getting its share of national political attention. It's a rarity for a state that doesn't have very many electoral votes up for grabs and isn't usually considered a swing state that could tip the presidential contest. We're just not sure we like the kind of attention that Paul is attracting.

It's time for conservatives to take the blinders off regarding Kentucky's junior senator. In many important ways, he's not conservative at all. And with threats to our nation building in the Middle East and in Russia, our country doesn't need a leader cut from the Obama cloth, who isn't willing to protect our interests.

It will be interesting to see how many other liberal positions Paul takes as 2016 draws nearer. His leftist positions on certain issues are no different than liberal views by others (Bush, etc.) on other issues.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's open season on Jerry Lundergan

When Alison Lundergan Grimes first announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate, one of us went off on a rant about her father, the notorious Jerry Lundergan.

The K-Pac'er in question told anyone who'd listen how it would be terrible for Kentucky to let the offspring and progeny and ideological heir of that corrupt political hack and disgraced former legislator and state Democrat leader anywhere near a position of power. Bad enough that she was elected to a state government office where she has control over elections, but to put an inexperienced lightweight like her with a no-count daddy in the most powerful legislative body in the world?

One right-leaning friend was a little quick to try to defend the Lundergan spawn from her father's taint, saying she should be judged by her own (lack of) capabilities and not by her parent's sins.

We never bought into that reasoning. In politics, you're all about your cheerleaders and supporters, especially when that web is as dirty as the one Jerry Lundergan and his ilk have woven over the decades. That's why we make sure we always refer to her by her maiden name; e.g., "Lundergan Grimes" instead of just "Grimes."

Still, for most Republicans, her father hasn't really been a campaign issue up to this point as the race between her and Mitch McConnell begins to heat up.

That may all be about to change.

Starting with Kathy Groob's offensive tweets on the day of Fancy Farm, Democrats and the Lundergan Grimes campaign seem intent on making McConnell's wife a major focus of the campaign. She is, of course, Elaine Chao, former Labor secretary in the George W. Bush administration, which makes her a target. Add her family's wealth and her Chinese heritage, and the liberals are having a field day.

(Funny, isn't it? Democrats claim the Republicans are anti-female and are waging a "war on women," yet they point to Chao's presence on a couple of foundation boards and wonder aloud why McConnell can't control his wife. Does anyone else see the extreme irony and predictable hypocrisy in that?)

Well, if Elaine Chao is legitimate campaign fodder for the Democrats, then it should be open season on Jerry Lundergan. And he's a much more lucrative target than Chao could ever be.

Anyone who's remotely familiar with Kentucky politics knows all about Jerry Lundergan. He's a former state representative and Democrat chairman. He was convicted of criminal charges relating to official corruption but the conviction was later overturned on a technicality relating to the timing of the indictment, not the actual offense. Given the way Democrats seem to celebrate political legacies, that should be a huge black mark against his daughter as it is. Indeed, McConnell himself has made a few references to Lundergan's entry back into the Kentucky political scene, since he's the de facto chairman of his daughter's campaign.

But as personally tainted as Lundergan is, that's not the biggest black mark against him. He personifies the cronyism that has controlled Kentucky state government for decades and has prevented this state from moving forward. He may have had an ongoing feud with Gov. Steve Beshear -- set aside temporarily as his daughter makes her Senate run -- but the truth is, they are two sides of the same coin. Both are immersed in a good old boy network that has stalled progress in the Bluegrass. The names and faces may change, but the mindset among the state's prominent Democrats is the same.

Is that what Kentucky needs in the Senate? It's bad enough that she would be a cheerleader for President Obama and Harry Reid and other powerful national liberals. Do we really want the enemies of improvement in Kentucky to have a direct connection in Washington, D.C.?

Alison Lundergan Grimes may anatomically be a female, but she's just as much a product of the good old boy network of Democrat politics in Kentucky as Andy Beshear or Ben Chandler or Chris Perkins or John Y. Brown III or… You get the point. She is claiming to be a fresh face, but behind that face are the same old ideas that have stagnated Kentucky.

It's time to unleash the cannons on Jerry Lundergan. It's impossible for his daughter to distance herself from her daddy and his sliminess. Republicans and the McConnell campaign need to take advantage of that.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

He who doesn't live in his district shouldn't throw stones

Because Mitch McConnell's family moved from Alabama to Kentucky when the future senator was a teenager, the Democrats pushing Alison Lundergan Grimes as his potential replacement in the U.S. Senate have hit on what, to them, seems to be an ideal campaign issue. They are mentioning the state of his birth as evidence that he's some sort of outsider, and he can't relate to Kentuckians as well as the native-born Lundergan Grimes can.

And, as if on cue, the attacks on McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao, have already begun. Since she's a native of China, any accomplishments she has achieved can be discounted. That's why it didn't take any time at all for McConnell to feature her in television advertising after this past weekend's Twitter rampage by the laughable Kathy Groob, who fancies herself as some sort of female Democrat strategic powerhouse but in reality is shunned and scorned even by members of her own party.

(If the Democrats want to promote Lundergan Grimes' lineage as something that matters in this fall's election, we welcome that, because it just gives us even more reason to talk about her corrupt father's history and tie that unpleasant fact around her neck to weight her down).

But in a day filled with irony, one of the prominent Democrats who was trotted out yesterday to prop up Lundergan Grimes' lagging campaign pegged the meter.

Greg Stumbo, the speaker of the state's House of Representatives, called McConnell as a "carpetbagger," an obvious reference to the fact that he was born in and spent his single-digit years in a state other than Kentucky.

Seriously? The man who doesn't even live in the district he purports to represent is calling someone an outsider?

For the uninitiated, Stumbo is a native of Floyd County, and he represents that county in the House. And it's true that he still owns a house near Prestonsburg. But he actually lives in Lexington, where he works as a lawyer. Whenever he's been in Frankfort on business and goes home for the day, he gets off the interstate in Fayette County instead of continuing east on I-64 to the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway to Prestonsburg.

Alison Lundergan Grimes really ought to be ashamed of the surrogates she's using in her bid to unseat Kentucky's senior senator. But when she's a part of the good ol' boy network that produces politicians like Bill Clinton, Stumbo and her father, it's impossible for her to divorce herself from them.

When Greg Stumbo sells his home in Lexington and moves back to Prestonsburg, then he'll have a little more standing on which to discuss McConnell's place of birth. But for now, he ought to take a little lawyerly advice and remain silent.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Lundergan Grimes' warriors against women set to invade Hazard

Shortly after Alison Lundergan Grimes released an ad accusing Sen. Mitch McConnell of being hostile to so-called women's issues, two things happened.

Her campaign announced that former President Bill Clinton would be coming to Kentucky to keynote a rally for her.

Then, Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo held a news conference, in which he said he would attend the rally and he reiterated his support for her. The rally is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 6, in Hazard.

The timing couldn't have been better, the irony any thicker and the hypocrisy any more pronounced.

For all the talk about a Republican "war on women," we can think of no two politicians who have been more hostile to women than Democrats Clinton and Stumbo. Their sordid legacies are a matter of record. It goes beyond personal behavior. (There are still people who think Clinton was impeached because of a sexual act with an intern, instead of for perjury and obstruction of justice in a sexual harassment case). Both of these men used the power of their positions and the legal system in an attempt to absolve themselves of responsibility for their despicable acts.

And then there were the actions of a notorious northern Kentucky female Democrat operative this past weekend, who used the occasion of the annual Fancy Farm picnic to launch a racist and sexist rant on Twitter against Mitch McConnell's wife, the highly accomplished Elaine Chao, because she's Asian and therefore not a real Kentucky woman.

We have said it before, and we will say it again. Alison Lundergan Grimes loses all credibility to speak about women's issues if she takes the stage with and accepts the support of Bill Clinton and Greg Stumbo. She's already trying to mislead female voters into believing that just because she has a vagina and they do too, she is the only candidate capable of representing them in the Senate.

And where is the McConnell campaign? Why hasn't Bill Cliinton's history with Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey been mentioned in advance of his visit? It's almost as if this subject is off-limits for some reason. This is an area where the vaunted McConnell political machine ought to be front and center. It seems as if Lundergan Grimes' handlers sense McConnell's unwillingness to emphasize this hypocrisy and are willing to take their chances with Clinton, who still remains popular among Democrats despite his impeachment and disbarment. If we ran McConnell's campaign, we'd be pointing out this hypocrisy nonstop.

It's sad but true that there are a lot of women who would love to have the opportunity for Clinton to stain their blue dress. And we hear through the grapevine that the mother of Stumbo's out-of-wedlock child still carries a torch for him, even though he failed to pay child support for years and then sued her for political harassment when she did try to collect what he owed her. Yet these same women will be drawn to their presence when they try to rally support for Lundergan Grimes.

Lundergan Grimes may be a female, but she has a set of testes the size of basketballs to claim to be a champion of women's issues but then trot out Bill Clinton, a serial abuser of women, to endorse her and campaign for her. It's hypocrisy of the greatest magnitude, but no one else seems willing to point that out. But that's why we're here -- to put forth the truth and say the things that no other conservative outlet in Kentucky has the guts to say.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Being frank about criticism of Andy Barr's constituent outreach

The Official Media Partner of the Elisabeth Jensen for Congress Campaign -- also known as the Lexington Herald-Leader -- recently came out with a hit piece on Congressman Andy Barr, lashing out at his constituent communications, in particular being critical of his mailings to residents of his district through a process known as "franking."

Since this blog caters to the politically astute, there's no need to go into depth about Barr's history, or that of his predecessor. But a brief refresher is always good.

Republican Barr defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler two years ago. Chandler is the grandson of A.B. "Happy" Chandler, one of the most revered political figures in Kentucky history. Happy Chandler never knew a stranger and was always accessible.

But when Ben Chandler cast a few votes in Congress that riled up his constituents, he went into hiding. At a time when members of Congress were being grilled over subjects like Obamacare and cap & trade at town hall meetings, Chandler started avoiding the public.

Even with the Kentucky General Assembly drawing a new district for him that appeared to be more friendly in terms of the number of Democrat voters, Chandler couldn't survive the public's wrath two years ago. Barr came close in a district more friendly to Republicans in 2010, but he put Chandler out of office two years later in a rematch.

One of Barr's campaign promises was to be more available and accessible to the voters. He's kept that promise, through written communications and in public events.

But we think we know the real reason the Herald-Leader was so critical of Barr's mailings.

While Barr has used the U.S. Postal Service for his written communications, Ben Chandler used to have the Herald-Leader distribute his newsletters as advertising supplements in their newspapers. The paid advertising was even distributed in counties outside the Sixth District. The loss of that revenue couldn't have set well with the crew at Main and Midland in downtown Lexington, hence the criticism of Barr mailing his newsletters rather than running them in the newspaper.

There's a big difference in the two types of communication. No real money is involved when an official "franks" a mailing. There's no real additional cost involved, since the mail is going to run anyway. There is an additional charge for newspaper inserts. It would be interesting to see a comparison between the real cost of a Barr mailing vs. a Chandler newspaper supplement.

It's no secret that the Herald-Leader is hostile to Barr and his campaign. We fully expect a Jensen endorsement as November approaches. But the newspaper should at least be transparent as to why it's being critical of Barr's outreach efforts.

Pachyderms have long memories. We remember Chandler's newsletters. And now you've been reminded too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Back to the future

When Jamie Comer recently announced that he would be announcing that he'll be announcing his run for governor in next year's race, Ronnie Ellis' coverage of the pre-pre-announcement announcement mentioned something that haunted Kentucky's last Republican governor, and will no doubt be an elephant in the room should either Comer or Hal Heiner emerge victorious next November.

Ellis speculates that Comer will make his preliminary announcement at Fancy Farm and his formal announcement in his hometown of Tompkinsville, the seat of Monroe County in the heart of Kentucky's GOP-leaning Old 5th congressional district.

The columnist takes a trip down memory lane and mentions 2003 Republican nominee Ernie Fletcher getting questions while campaigning in Tompkinsville about why state government discriminated against Republicans in hiring for state civil service jobs, and what he would do about it.

In recalling that episode, Ellis mentions a fact the Democrats would prefer we forget. So much so that they have scrubbed all public references to a study commissioned during the Fletcher administration that confirmed how under previous Democrat governors, the state had favored Democrats over Republicans in hiring for jobs that are supposed to be free of political influence.

The story mentions that while voter registration runs 7.5-1 in favor of Republicans in Monroe County, employment at the local state highway garage favored Democrats by nearly twice that margin, 13-1. And as a report issued by a state-appointed commission revealed, that phenomenon was repeated in virtually every county with a GOP majority.

We don't need to recount what happened during the Fletcher administration. That's a matter of history, even if that history has been totally distorted by the Democrat sympathizers in the Kentucky press. It's a fact that Democrats played games with patronage hiring, yet cried foul when Republicans tried to end that process. It's a fact that hiring managers spoke in code, saying applicants had to be "the right religion" to be considered for a job, or their political operatives outright told Republicans that they'd have to change their registration if they hoped to be hired. It's a fact that mid-level managers in the state bureaucracy continued to run a patronage system in the Fletcher administration, basing their hiring decisions on the wishes of the local Democrat power brokers instead of appointees within their own departments.

We don't believe in quota systems, but we have no trouble seeing how something fishy was up, not only just in Monroe County but all across the Old 5th and in other Republican counties. As the persecution of the Fletcher administration dragged on, his Department of Personnel produced research showing how the registration of state employees was heavily skewed toward the Democrats even in counties where Republicans dominated the total voter registration rolls.

After Steve Beshear took over, all references to that Blue Ribbon Commission's report were scrubbed from Personnel's website and other state records. We'd bet that if you wrote the Personnel Cabinet today and made an open records request for those documents, you'd be told the state no longer is in possession of them.

Ending the political discrimination against hiring in state government was a major concern for Fletcher's constituency. Had he not addressed their desires, his term would have been even more hampered because of the support he would have lost from within his own party.

And that's something that Heiner and Comer need to take into consideration. Democrats are back to their old ways, playing politics with hiring in the Beshear administration. They talk a good game about how they're playing by the book, but the results pretty much speak for themselves. Any inroads the Fletcher people had made into reversing the political discrimination against Republicans have been lost.

If a Republican wins the governor's race next fall, which many believe to be very likely, there will be intense pressure once again to stop the Democrats' patronage system. If the governor does not respond, it will come at a price in political capital. Perhaps the governor's appointees will handle it better than did some of Fletcher's people -- never forget that Dan Druen was basically placed in his job by Mitch McConnell -- but a Republican governor will have to ensure that Democrats are no longer favored in state hiring decisions for merit system jobs.

When Ellis goes back to Tompkinsville, perhaps he can inquire again as to the percentage of Democrats to Republicans in the state highway "barn." And perhaps his brethren in the statewide press will ask how a county with vastly more Republicans than Democrats has so few Republicans who are qualified and capable to drive graders or flag traffic.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Jamie Comer's growing problem with inaccurate gas pumps in Kentucky

When Jamie Comer runs for governor, he's going to do so primarily on his record as agriculture commissioner over the past three years.

His primary accomplishment was getting fellow Republican Richie Farmer thrown in prison, but among the other feats he'll tout, undoubtedly one of them will be the sale of the state's fuel testing laboratory.

It's interesting that something fuel-related will be listed among his positives, since there's an emerging situation regarding fuel sales in Kentucky that could turn out to be a real negative where Comer's political aspirations are concerned.

One of the responsibilities of the Department of Agriculture is to inspect gasoline pumps at filling stations across Kentucky. We're getting reports from several sources that there's a growing problem with the accuracy of gas pumps in the state.

At some retailers, gas pumps are recording sales of gasoline that actually do not occur. The pump starts running and recording gallons and cents before any fuel is dispensed. Videos showing this happening are starting to pop up on the Web and on social media.

We first heard of this happening in the southeastern Kentucky mountains, in the Hazard area. As soon as the customer swiped a card at the pump and removed the nozzle, a few cents ticked off before the first drop of gas was pumped. We then started hearing about other instances of this occurring in that area, and even saw proof on a Facebook video.

Yet another instance took place in the northern Kentucky area, near Florence. The customer shot video as the pump slowly ran up from 7 to 10 cents while the nozzle was resting on the back of the truck, with no one touching it.

Gas prices are a sensitive subject as it is, and this won't help matters. And it certainly won't help Comer, whose name is in big letters on those state inspection stickers that adorn every gas pump in the commonwealth.

We know that the stickers proclaim that testing and maintenance to ensure accuracy is the responsibility of the owner, but we also know that when people feel like they're being cheated, they often turn to the government for help. And when the name of a prominent elected official who is seeking the state's top position adorns the machine that cheated them, they'll likely assign blame to him instead of calling out to him to fix the problem. It's quite likely that they'll ask Attorney General Jack Conway, who's running for governor himself, to intervene. And Conway will waste no time laying this scandal at Comer's feet as he attempts to ingratiate himself with voters who have already seen through his pathetic attempts to control the rampant price-fixing among gas station owners.

Of course, it's in the stations' best interests to fix the faulty pumps immediately, lest they start losing customers as word spreads about which businesses are charging people for gasoline they don't actually purchase. Public pressure will no doubt force their hands.

We haven't seen any media coverage of this situation yet, although as the "shares" continue to grow on social media, they can't ignore it for long. Neither can Comer, who needs to get out in front of this problem as soon as possible lest it come back to haunt his gubernatorial aspirations and cast a pall on what has otherwise been considered by many, even a hostile press, as an effective tenure in statewide elective office.

Hal Heiner's campaign might want to start scouring the Internet for these videos for future use if Comer continues to allow these inaccurate pumps to stay in operation.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Another reason we'll never understand Democrats (or, the delusions of Ed Marksberry)

We've followed the quixotic U.S. Senate campaign of Ed Marksberry, from the day he announced his candidacy to his withdrawal from the Democrat primary amid allegations that Alison Lundergan Grimes' people tried to buy him out of the race, and finally to this week's announcement that he's abandoning his attempt to get on the ballot as an independent.

Marksberry is even more liberal than Lundergan Grimes, and he makes no bones about it. His chief complaint about Lundergan Grimes is that she's too conservative, and that she's pandering to Kentuckians in an attempt to unseat Mitch McConnell.

He declared that he has no plans to support Lundergan Grimes in the November election.

Marksberry says his health is one reason that he's been unable to get enough signatures on his petition to appear on the ballot, but we have to wonder if his problem is mental, rather than physical.

Does he really think that if elected, Lundergan Grimes will vote as a conservative? Is he really crazy enough to believe that she will promote a pro-coal, pro-growth, pro-family agenda in the Senate?

Lundergan Grimes comes from a political family. She knows that no matter her true beliefs, there are certain things she has to say in order to get elected in Kentucky. Marksberry never had a change to win because he holds so many anti-Kentucky positions, and he voices his opinions. Lundergan Grimes will certainly be no champion for the Bluegrass State, but at least she knows she can't say so publicly. She has a real shot to win, but only if she masks her real intentions. If she does win, she will do whatever President Obama and Harry Reid want her to do, regardless of whether or not it hurts Kentucky and its residents.

Marksberry doesn't understand that. He seems proud to hold positions at odds from the majority of the state's inhabitants. It's one thing to believe that, but it's another thing to try to get elected on those beliefs. There's not a dime's worth of difference in Lundergan Grimes and Marksberry.

We have to admit, it would have been entertaining to see Marksberry on the same stage as Lundergan Grimes, accusing her of being too conservative. At least she knows she can't win if she embraces the Obama agenda. Marksberry would probably run up and give him a big wet kiss if he showed up in Kentucky.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sen. Brandon Smith couldn't see what he was saying

It's probably fitting that the first time we ever heard the phrase,"He had his tongue wrapped around his eyeteeth so he couldn't see what he was saying," it was uttered by a native of Perry County.

Because something similar happened a couple of weeks ago to State Sen. Brandon Smith, a Republican from Hazard, that earned him national ridicule and scorn from liberals who don't know any better.

Smith was speaking to an interim General Assembly committee meeting on the Obama administration's war on coal. We're not going to repeat his comment here; it's easy enough to find by looking at practically any liberal blog or news source.

As usual, the libs focused on the words that were used and not the intent behind them. While we agree that Smith probably could have made his point a little better, we know what he was trying to say: That the temperature on Mars is subject to similar fluctuations as what have been noted on Earth, but Mars doesn't have a human population to cause the changes the way the liberal "climate change" disciples claim we do. He was saying that Mars experiences the same thing that happens here, so it's a totally natural phenomenon.

Liberals are funny creatures. Well, they would be funny if they weren't ruining our nation. They change the language to fit their beliefs. For years, they preached "global warming" but when people began to see through that, the mantra became "climate change." As more meteorologists and climatologists start questioning the global warming gospel, defenders of the faith become more rabid in their defense. Liberal-leaning newspapers refuse to publish letters to the editor questioning the absolute truth that the planet is getting hotter and people are causing it. Never mind that much of the "research" was faked; just Google "East Anglia" + "climate change" for proof.

Kentucky is suffering greatly from the war on coal. Between tightening of EPA regulations and restrictions on mining permits, the coal business and supporting industries are struggling. Coal's enemies are quick to blame inexpensive natural gas as the reason for coal's decline, but that's disingenuous. Besides, fracking has enemies, too, and sooner or later the natural gas market will collapse as the government clamps down on its production.

Bluegrass politicians of both parties generally defend the coal business, to varying degrees, but as usual, the Democrats speak with forked tongue. Greg Stumbo recently made headlines and drew the wrath of national party bigwigs when he made reference to the Obama administration's "dumb-assed" policies. But someone needs to tell the deadbeat dad who lives in Lexington but still claims to reside in Floyd County that it's his party that's leading the war on coal.

And who is Stumbo supporting in the U.S. Senate race? Fellow Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, of course. Does anyone believe she will be a voice for Kentucky's coal miners and coal industry if she's elected? She will vote exactly as Harry Reid and President Obama direct. She will get permission to vote against their agenda only if they already have enough votes and can afford to let her represent her home state instead of the Washington elites and the radicals on both coasts. Stumbo may talk a good game, but he's not fooling anybody with any sense. If he really cared about coal miners and the coal industry and the economy of the mountains, he wouldn't be a Democrat.

But back to Smith. As far as we know, no media outlet ever reached out to him to allow him to explain or clarify his comments. He did tweet out a clarification of his statement, but it got very little play except to be ridiculed by one of those woeful Kentucky liberal bloggers that makes us want to vomit. The libs in the press were perfectly happy to let his words stand for themselves, without any context. A few pundits were able to interpret what he meant, us included, but the vast majority were happy to have a verbal gaffe from a Republican to use as an example of how clueless conservatives are about "climate change" and what a real threat it represents.

When two-thirds of the people in the mountains of Kentucky are unemployed and destitute, and when electricity rates are so high that we're driven back technologically to the turn of the 20th Century, none of this will matter. Liberals will have won their war on coal, but the real victims will be the people of the Old 7th District who still remain loyal to the party of Carl D. Perkins, even though that party left their interests behind decades ago.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Shoeless Steve Beshear

Say it ain't so.

The text of yesterday's federal court ruling by Judge John Heyburn in striking down Kentucky's state constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage gives credence to a theory we've heard mentioned that Gov. Steve Beshear only went through the motions in appealing the ruling, and did not put a true effort into the appeal.

Many were amused when the state's private lawyers offered up the laughable argument that same-sex marriage needed to be banned because only opposite-sex couples can have children and thus keep up the state's birth rate and economy.

"These arguments are not those of serious people," Heyburn's ruling stated.

If you need a refresher course, here's a brief one. When Heyburn ruled several months ago that the state could not refuse to accept same-sex marriages performed in other states, Attorney General Jack Conway refused to appeal the ruling. In short, he failed to do his sworn duty. Beshear, however, pushed forward an appeal by the state using private counsel, doing his required duty.

No one really believes that Beshear is opposed to same-sex marriage. Many suspected that although Beshear was going through the motions in pursing the appeal, his heart really wasn't in it. He is a Democrat, after all, and Democrats in general support same-sex marriage. That suspicion got stronger when the attorneys put forth that procreation argument. And that argument was what the judge referenced his ruling yesterday on the question of Kentucky performing gay marriages on its own.

To sum it up, Beshear deliberately threw the appeal. He did his duty as required, but he did not make a serious effort. If this was baseball, he'd be Shoeless Joe Jackson and his legal team would be the Chicago Black Sox.

Although Beshear has announced that the state will appeal yesterday's ruling as well, we don't expect a serious or sincere effort. There are all sorts of arguments that could be made in opposition to the redefinition of marriage -- which is the prism through which we view this issue -- or to the state's regulation of who can and cannot engage in certain types of conduct or activities. (You can legally marry without parental permission at age 18, but you have to be 21 to drink a beer to celebrate that marriage?)

Liberals and those who want to redefine marriage to suit their desires are aghast at the state's appeal, saying it's a waste of taxpayer money in what will ultimately be a losing effort. And they're partly right. If the state's contracted attorneys continue to make laughable arguments, it is a waste of money. Not so if they do it earnestly and correctly.

Say it ain't so, indeed.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

No rooster-fighting drama next year? Dems' gubernatorial race may be over before it begins

Given the tenor of many of the past several open primaries for the gubernatorial nomination on the Democrats' side, we were looking forward to another rock-em sock-em campaign next winter and spring.

But are we -- and the rest of Kentucky's political aficionados -- going to be deprived of the drama and vitriol in 2015? Early signs say the Democrats may be trying to consolidate support early behind one candidate, eliminating a down and dirty primary.

So far, only one Democrat, Attorney General Jack Conway, has announced his candidacy. Two oft-mentioned candidates, former Auditor Crit Luallen and current Auditor Adam Edelen, have said they won't be running.

Even though a few other prominent Democrats are said to be considering entering the race, they seem to be waiting until after this year's U.S. Senate race between Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mitch McConnell is over before announcing.

In the meantime, a number of influential party bosses have already thrown their support to Conway. In addition to Luallen, who was Conway's mentor as well as Edelen's, former governor and senator Wendell Ford and John Yarmuth, the only Democrat in Kentucky's congressional delegation, have announced early endorsements of Conway even though no one else is running.

Are they trying to clear the field to avoid a divisive primary in an election year in which a Republican is thought to have a better-than-average chance of winning?

Who knows, but we're afraid they're going to bring down the curtain on some certain political drama.

We've been watching Kentucky politics for decades now. We have faint memories of John Y. Brown's late entry and whirlwind campaign in 1979, but the first race we really paid attention to was in 1983, the close contest between Martha Layne Collins, former Louisville Mayor Harvey Sloane and eastern Kentucky's Dr. Grady Stumbo.

Four years later, a particularly nasty campaign between Brown and then-Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear opened the door for businessman Wallace Wilkinson to win in a crowded field that also included Stumbo as well as former Gov. Julian Carroll. Wilkinson's signature issue was the creation of the state lottery, and his campaign brought national prominence to a consultant named James Carville.

In 1991, the fireworks weren't quite as loud or bright as Lt. Gov. Brereton Jones, a former Republican from West Virginia, moved up the ladder. The oddest part about that campaign was the presence of Wilkinson's wife, Martha, in the race because Jones and Wilkinson had not enjoyed a good working relationship. Martha Wilkinson dropped out about three weeks before the primary, and the race was not a headline-grabber.

The 1995 primary wasn't full of animosity, either. Paul Patton was the first candidate to run on a slate (he chose Dr. Steve Henry from Louisville) and was the first governor who was eligible to succeed himself. He wasn't challenged for renomination and cruised to victory in the general election. We still believe that Mitch McConnell made a deal with him about not pushing a Republican candidate against Patton in 1999 if Patton would not run against him for re-election to the Senate.

So it wasn't until 2003 that there was another Democrat primary, and it was probably the nastiest one we've ever seen. Attorney General Ben Chandler was the front-runner, but was under siege from Louisville businessman Bruce Lunsford. Less than a week before the election, Chandler launched a television ad featuring a woman who attempted to personally blame Lunsford for the death of her mother at one of the nursing homes Lunsford owned. Lunsford didn't have time to release a counter ad, so he dropped out of the race and endorsed House Speaker Jody Richards. When Chandler beat Richards, Lunsford ended up endorsing Republican nominee Ernie Fletcher because he was so angry over Chandler's dirty trick.

With Fletcher winning in 2003, Democrats had to regroup, and the open primary of 2007 was mostly devoid of rancor. Beshear was running against a group that included Henry and Lunsford, but both of them brought baggage to their campaigns. State Treasurer Jonathan Miller, who also had plenty of personal baggage that was well-known to political insiders but not by the general public, dropped out of the running and endorsed Beshear. Richards was back in the race, and his loss probably sealed his fate as House speaker.

We were really hoping for a repeat of 2003 or 1987 in next year's race. We really wanted to see a blood-letting among the Democrats. That's beginning to look increasingly unlikely.

By the time the U.S. Senate race is decided, so many prominent Democrats may have jumped on the Conway bandwagon that speculative candidates like Dan Mongiardo or Greg Stumbo may have nowhere to turn to for support or financial donations. It may be the Republicans who are treated to a hostile campaign if (when) Jamie Comer jumps in against Hal Heiner.

We'll continue to hope for an explosive Democrat gubernatorial race, but the odds are looking slimmer. That's too bad, because catfighting among the donkeys and roosters is always highly entertaining.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fauxcahontas coming to Kentucky, business owners who did build that prepare to be insulted

Elizabeth Warren, the U.S. senator from Massachusetts who is sometimes mentioned as the next person most likely to break Hillary Clinton's heart by stealing the Democrats' presidential nomination away from her, is best known for two things.

One is her false claim of being an Indian and using that to advance her career and referring to herself as Harvard Law School's first minority female. That has led to her being not-so-flatteringly being dubbed as "Fauxcahontas" by conservative commentators. Just Google the term and you'll see what we mean. As should be expected, Twitchy amply captured a sampling of the well-deserved mocking.

Her other claim to fame is being the first person to ever advance "you didn't build that" as a way to diminish the accomplishments of American business owners. That concept and phrase got more play when President Obama uttered it at campaign event in Virginia during his re-election bid, but Warren was the first person to, in so many words, say that those who have succeeded owe their success more to socialistic government policies than to their own knowledge, hard work and perseverance.

That narrative won't play well in Kentucky, where so many people have struggled to create, own and operate businesses in spite of the government, not because of it.

So when Warren said she planned to come to Kentucky to campaign for Alison Lundergan Grimes against Mitch McConnell, it's no wonder the McConnell campaign cheered.

We can almost hear Brer Rabbit hollering, "Please don't throw me in the briar patch."

We can't imagine Fauxcahontas' appearance garnering much support for Lundergan Grimes, or for Elisabeth Jensen, who's running against Andy Barr in the Sixth Congressional District. Many Kentuckians already feel that the government puts too many burdens on them and inhibits their ability to conduct business or earn a living. Being lectured by someone who thinks that they don't deserve the credit for their success is probably not something they want to endure.

If Warren does come to Kentucky to campaign for Lundergan Grimes, we think she should pick either Richmond or Mt. Sterling as her rally locations. Because in both towns, the high schools have the nickname "Indians" for their athletic teams. For Fauxcahontas, those would be fitting venues.

Maybe some of the local business owners can greet her by holding up signs saying, "Yes, we DID build that."

This is just more proof that Lundergan Grimes and her campaign are more in line with liberal national Democrats than they are with Kentucky, Kentuckians and Bluegrass values.

Master of puppets, Reid's pulling her strings

With apologies to Metallica's James Hetfield, who recently admitted to leaning conservative-to-libertarian in his political beliefs, we can't help but have the title track from the band's third album, "Master of Puppets," go through our heads as we dissect Alison Lundergan Grimes' recent exhibit of saying one thing in Kentucky and doing another in Washington, D.C.

Because Lundergan Grimes knows how important coal mining and coal-fired electricity production is to the state's economy, she's positioning herself to Kentucky voters as a defender of the coal industry. This is in stark contrast to the national leaders of her political party, most notably Senate President Harry Reid and President Obama, who can no longer be accused of not running a war on coal after an EPA bureaucrat got caught using that phrase to describe the federal government's position.

In fact, Lundergan Grimes said that she planned to discuss coal's importance to Kentucky with Reid at a D.C. fundraiser for her a couple of weeks ago.

Except she didn't. A recording of her remarks shows that not once did she mention coal when she was in the room with Reid and his cronies. The Lundergan Grimes people claim that instead, she discussed the matter with Reid in a private conversation, but evidence indicates that no face-to-face meeting occurred, and neither did a phone conversation. What makes this even more fascinating was that the story was broken not by any conservative outlet, but the left-leaning Politico, which one would think would be sympathetic to her campaign and not interested in reporting news that will hurt her chances of being elected.

It's obvious that Lundergan Grimes thinks Kentuckians are dumb enough to believe she will be an independent voice for our state and its interests if she is elected to the Senate. No one with an ounce of intelligence believes that. She will do exactly as instructed by Obama, Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the out-of-touch leaders of the national Democrat Party unless the matter can pass without her vote. Then, and only then, will she be given dispensation to vote against the Democrats and with Kentucky. One only has to look at former Congressman Ben Chandler's votes on cap-and-trade and Obamacare to see how that works.

The story gets more interesting. One of Kentucky's most disgusting liberal pundits, who formerly operated a blog out of Lexington but now blogs for a leftist Louisville outfit, has been doing a guest gig for a couple of national outlets recently. He's claiming that the recording was made by a Mitch McConnell operative who infiltrated the fundraiser, and is crying foul about it.

This coming from the same category of people who cheered when Jimmy "Thank God for Obama, now I'm no longer the worst president in American history" Carter's grandson recorded Mitt Romey's truthful remarks about 47 percent of Americans being lost to Republican candidates because they're takers, not taxpayers? There's a reason we hold this particular Louisville blogger in so much disregard.

A pro-Republican PAC has seized on Lundergan Grimes' lies and has produced a commercial on the subject, and it's getting heavy rotation on television. This, while her campaign has placed a media buy in community newspapers, extolling her virtues as a nonpartisan, independent voice for Kentucky and Kentuckians.

No one's buying that. We admit to not being the biggest fans of Mitch McConnell, but for the most part we think he's supported policies that are good for Kentucky.  It's painfully obvious that Lundergan Grimes will be under the control of the most liberal politicians D.C. has to offer. She will do what they say and vote how they say, irregardless if it hurts her home state. She should change her name to "Mary," short for "marionette," since she will belong to Reid and Obama and Pelosi and will be their puppet if she's elected to the Senate.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Edelen drops a bombshell

To the surprise of most political observers in Kentucky, Adam Edelen announced this week that he would not run for governor next year, instead choosing to run for re-election as auditor.

This came as a shock to many, us included, because not only was Edelen expected to run for governor, he was seen by many as the front-runner.

His decision leaves Attorney General Jack Conway as the only announced Democrat candidate for the governor's race.

It was really no surprise when Crit Luallen announced she wasn't going to run. We believe she loves the attention and speculation and the courtship more than she really wants to lead the state. But all signs pointed toward Edelen running, setting the state for a contest between two Luallen proteges.

We don't expect Conway to have a free pass for his party's nomination. Greg Stumbo continues to be mentioned as a candidate, although he keeps saying he won't have a decision until after this fall's Senate race. Former Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo's name keeps coming up as well.

Of the announced or perspective Democrat candidates, Mongiardo has the least amount of baggage. Conway has issues dealing with his brother's involvement in a Louisville drug case. Plus, he's getting a lot of grief from one liberal Kentucky blogger over his inaction in a controversy involving the school board and superintendent in Montgomery County. And Stumbo's problems are well-documented, and we'll be glad to repeat them again and again should he jump into the race.

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Edelen's announcement is Agriculture Commissioner Jamie Comer, who still hasn't committed to a run on the Republican side. We've previously documented how Comer handed Edelen a campaign issue that would have been very effective against a Comer candidacy. With Edelen out of the picture, that will no longer be the case.

While Comer continues to sit on the sidelines, the only announced Republican in the race, Hal Heiner, is already out running ads and establishing an Internet and social media presence in an attempt to introduce himself to voters outside the Louisville area. While Comer has the weight of his office available to travel the state and appear at public events, Heiner has to resort to paid advertising to build name recognition. He starts out behind Comer in that regard, but he may be able to close the gap, especially if Comer continues to wait to declare his candidacy.

We recently heard the name of former Congressman and 2003 gubernatorial candidate Ben Chandler mentioned. This is the same candidate whose district was gerrymandered to help him win re-election two years ago but was still unable to beat back a challenge from Andy Barr. He's also the same person who basically said he was glad he lost the governor's race because of all the headaches it brought Ernie Fletcher when dealing with various budgetary issues. To date, Chandler still holds the record for the dirtiest campaign ad we've ever seen, when he ran a blatantly misleading ad against Bruce Lunsford in the waning days of the 2003 primary.

But for now, it's Conway and Heiner and a whole bunch of speculative candidates. Heiner's hit the ground running while Conway's been very quiet. Mitch McConnell vs. Alison Lundergan Grimes notwithstanding, we expect the campaign for governor to heat up later this year.