Saturday, November 11, 2006

Target: John Yarmuth

Congressman-elect John Yarmuth ought not get too comfortable with his new digs in D.C. For he now wears a huge target on his back and if Kentucky's Republicans and conservatives have any fight left in them, they'll point their political weapons on that big liberal bullseye Yarmuth now sports.

Our state's Republicans screwed up mightily when they allowed Ben Chandler to gain a toehold on his congressional seat, and now it'll be difficult to dislodge him. Had they handled the situation properly after Chandler won the special election, they could have ensured that he didn't last past the 2004 election. But they botched the aftermath of Chandler's win in the special election, and now Kentucky's apparently stuck with him for awhile.

But we're not here to look backward. We're looking forward. And our goal is to make Yarmuth a one-termer.

Even given the advantages incumbents supposedly enjoy, it won't be impossible to get rid of Yarmuth. His margin of victory over Anne Northup was not very large, despite the huge advantage Democrats have in Jefferson County in terms of voter registration. But it'll take a huge effort, and that effort needs to begin now, before he is even sworn in for his first term. It's time for a scorched earth policy.

How does it get done?

First, the Jefferson County Republican Party and its leaders need to be out in front in their criticisms of Yarmuth. They must loudly and publicly denounce every action he takes and every vote he casts. If Jack Richardson will expend half as much energy criticizing Yarmuth as he has his party's own governor, that'll be plenty. Jefferson County Republicans must see to it that Yarmuth doesn't get one minute's peace. They need to be on him like files on crap. Every vote, every public statement, every deed of his must be put under intense scrutiny. When he screws up, the voters and the public need to be told about it, loudly, quickly and repeatedly.

Second, voters in Jefferson County must have it made clear to them that there are consequences for the way they voted. Yarmuth's first year in office will coincide with the final year Gov. Fletcher's first term. Yarmuth's support for the Louisville bridges project, particularly the new bridge on the east end of the county that would link I-265 in Kentucky with I-265 in Indiana and complete the highway, is already suspect. That project is vital and needs to continue, but the Fletcher administration should start dropping other Jefferson County projects, highways and otherwise, and make it known that this is because the new congressman from Louisville is not on the same page as the state government. Fletcher's team made a strategic error in not using this same tactic in Floyd County against Greg Stumbo when the merit system persecution began. It's time to play political hardball and tell the voters in Jefferson County that if they want their state projects restored, they'll cut Yarmuth loose after one term.

Third, the party very quickly needs to find a short list of candidates to oppose Yarmuth in two years. One of those on that list should NOT be Northup. Even though she had a very distinguisted tenure as the U.S. Representative from Louisville, and she only lost re-election by around 4,000 votes, the public gets tired of former officeholders trying to get their old jobs back. If Northup wants to run for another office (besides governor) that would be fine. Her service to the state would be greatly appreciated. But voters would probably feel more comfortable choosing a new representative than voting for someone who's running against her past opponent to get her old job back.

Two or three people need to be identified as potential candidates, and those people need to be on the front line of Yarmuth critics and be evaluated in terms of public support. Then the local and state party organizations should tacitly ask all but the clear front-runner not to file for office in '08, leaving the tallest-standing Yarmuth critic as the candidate. By then Yarmuth'll have a liberal voting record to go along with all those out-of-touch-with-Kentucky columns he wrote for the Louisville Eccentric Observer and he can be pilloried on that record.

Fourth, the rank-and-file conservatives and Republicans need to become engaged. They need to watch Yarmuth's performance very closely, and speak out when he makes missteps. They need to write letters to the Courier-Journal and post on blogs and do everything possible to spread the seeds of dissent.

The battle starts now. Are Jefferson County and Kentucky Republicans ready?


At 1:15 PM, November 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with this post. Louisville voters made a very bad decision on Tuesday and they will pay for it the next two years when Yarmuth doesn't deliver like Northup did.

As far as candidates for 2008, Bobbi Holsclaw is the absolute best we have up there. We need to get her into this race and into it quickly. She could run in 2008 and not have to give up the Clerk's Office.

At 12:50 PM, November 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wht do u think of jyarmuth? r u reb. or democratic

At 9:05 AM, November 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yarmuth may be hard to beat as we threw everything (his quotes from LEO) we could at him and he still got elected.

A lot is going to be determined by who gets elected Governor.

We only stand a shot of keeping the Governor's mansion if the Dems nominate Steve Henry.

At 4:42 PM, November 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yarmuth would have gotten trounced in any other year. He is just extremely lucky. Truth be known, Yarmuth isn't worthy of Congress and Louisville voters will soon realize this, especially when they say bye-bye to the bridges. They will get what they deserve, IMO.

At 2:38 PM, November 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure how one say "bye-bye" to the bridges. What bridges? Where? Are there any more bridges built across the Ohio today than there were when Anne Northup took office?

At 10:01 AM, September 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Little did any of you know, that a great leader, ahem Yarmuth!, would be elected, and positive change would be made against this kind of negativism in our Jefferson County community. Yarmuth has only BEGUN to make his mark as a positive effect in our lives and we can't wait to see two more years of excitement and positive changes! Anne Northup would only bring us down and push us backward from our progressive mindset. We want innovation! We want energy alternatives! Norhtup will not bring us any of these things, she will NOT win, like you said!

Yarmuth! For Congress!!!!


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