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.