Sunday, November 9, 2014

Time for a Post Mortem on KY House


Bill Stone's comments to Joe Gerth in today's C-J were spot on:  the election results in the Kentucky House were not acceptable, and we need to determine what went wrong. (Apologies:  the story is not linking for some reason.  It appears in the Sunday C-J)

Money was not the problem.  Three Super PACs focused on Republicans flipping the Kentucky House. There has never been more money directed to that goal.

The political environment was not the problem.  The Republican wave Tuesday night swept in GOP candidates at all levels of government.  We didn't just reelect Mitch McConnell and win the U.S. Senate.  As Gerth points out, Kentucky is now the only state in the South where Democrats still control  a legislature.  Even West Virginia has left us behind.  Compare that to the nine (count 'em, 9) Democratic state legislative bodies that flipped to Republicans this week.

Getting out the vote was not the problem.  Thanks to McConnell running a presidential-caliber campaign,  Republicans finally used technology effectively to identify and target supporters.

So what on earth went wrong?

My hunch is that Republicans did a poor job recruiting candidates and training and supporting those once recruited.  There may be other factors, as well.

On the one hand, the Kentucky Republican Party deserves huge props for its awesome mailer  -- the hologram that morphed Obama into Grimes, with "Hope" being replaced with "Nope."  This is the first and only mailer that my kids thought so cool that they actually saved it.   This mailer was so effective that it cut through all the clutter in the last days of the campaign.  It was like an exclamation point on the election.  So well done to whoever conceived and executed that mailer.  If only some of that creativity had been directed at the House races.

Further, candidate recruitment and training also falls within the province of the state party and the Republican leadership in the House.  I echo what Bill said:  I am not calling for heads to role.

I am calling for a serious and searching discussion of what went wrong so that we can fix it.  Part of leadership is having the humility to admit to making a mistake.  This is not about pointing fingers but rather finding answers.






Thursday, November 6, 2014

This Election Gets Better and Better

This made my day:  the Washington Free Beacon has obtained CIA reports showing that Iranian leaders have been worried for weeks about Republicans winning control of the Senate. It seems that the Iranian powers have access to better pollsters than, ahem, some in Kentucky.

If the Islamofascists are worried about the GOP's big wins Tuesday night, that is yet another reason to celebrate.  The Iranian mullahs do not have America's interests at heart.  And they have repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel off the map.  Their unhappiness with the election results therefore makes me happy.

The Iranians have correctly concluded that Obama will no longer be able to appease them as they make progress with their nuclear program.  Republicans understand that the point of a nuclear Iran is to bomb Israel -- not for energy.  Given Iran's access to cheap and plentiful oil,  they have no need whatsoever for nuclear energy.

As the Washington Free Beacon writes,

The eventual outcome of Tuesday’s elections prompted many Iranian commenters and officials to express concern that years of U.S. capitulation to Iranian demands might soon come to an end.
Republican gains in Congress appear to have motivated Iran to work harder toward inking a nuclear deal with the Obama administration before the lame duck legislative session concludes, according to an official analysis by the CIA’s Open Source Center authored ahead of the midterm elections.
Some Iranians are now betting that the White House will fully lift sanctions before the new Congress assembles and that it will also sign a deathat permits Tehran to continue enriching uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon.
Iranian hardliners are pushing to cut a deal with Obama before the lame duck session ends because they recognize that Obama will not be able to get a sweetheart deal through the Republican-controlled Senate come January.

It reminds me of Iran releasing the American hostages -- kidnapped under Jimmy Carter -- because Ronald Reagan had won the presidential election.



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Have You Stopped Pinching Yourself?


It was great night, so filled with gratitude and hope at the Kentucky Republican Victory Party. I am so happy for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for his stunning reelection.  At 15 points, it is more than I could have asked for or imagined. I am still shocked at how quickly the race was called. It happened almost too fast to comprehend.

Allison Lundergan-Grimes so-called "concession" speech -- in which she could not bring herself to mention McConnell by name -- was tasteless and ill-mannered, whereas McConnell was gracious to her in his victory.  She confirmed what many women had grown to suspect over the course of the campaign: she is a mean girl.

Sure, it was disappointing that Republicans did not flip the Kentucky House. This was not a surprise, unfortunately, to most who follow the House races closely. Even with three Super PACs pouring money into flipping the House, these are inherently local races. Money cannot buy elections, contrary to Democrat sour grapes.  Money is necessary, but not sufficient.  I suspect Republicans could do a better job recruiting and training candidates.  GOP state party leaders need to look closely and honestly at what could have been done differently to achieve a better outcome in the House races. We have come close for several cycles, but it feels like we're stuck.  Let's determine what needs to change so that we can get un-stuck.

 My only suggestion on the Victory Celebration is that next time, let's hold it downtown, not in the East End.  Nate Haney and Sen. Rand Paul are making real inroads, competing for votes in the West End.  So let's hold the victory party in a location that is easier for people who rely on public transportation to get to. We have to change the way we think as Republicans.  If we are going to compete for votes everywhere, this has to be reflected in all aspects of the organization, and that includes the celebration.  Let's keep that in mind next November when we celebrate electing Kentucky's next governor.

It was wonderful to see so many local high school students in attendance.  There was a good showing from St. Xavier and from Sacred Heart and from Oldham County.  This bodes well for the future of the party; these teenagers understand that they will get stuck with the bill for the Democrats' profligate spending.  They have a keener appreciation for the financial implication of the national debt than many adults.

All in all, I am grateful for the opportunity to end the dysfunction in  the U.S. Senate.  It's time to vote on the 200-plus bills that the House of Representatives passed, that Harry Reid refused to bring to the Senate floor.  If Obama wants to veto him, let him.



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Prediction Time

  • Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell wins by seven.
  • Republicans win control of the U.S. Senate.  We learn this tonight irrespective of Georgia and Louisiana.
  • Allison Lundergan-Grimes doesn't shut down her campaign operation and converts it run for the Democratic nomination for a Governor. The Clintons encourage her in this because they own her Senate loss and need the vindication for Hillary's presidential bid.
  • The Kentucky Republicans pick up a few House seats.  Not enough to flip the House but perhaps enough to tempt some Dems to switch parties.
  • Matt Bevin announces he is running for the Republican nomination for governor.
  • John Yarmuth wins reelection but sees GOP gains as a sign that he will be in the minority for the foreseeable future; he has had enough of that and quietly makes plans to retire.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mitch and Rand Barnstorm Kentucky


Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell winds up his campaign today, flying around the state with his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and Sen. Rand Paul.

I would love to be a fly on the wall of that plane.

The day gives McConnell and Paul ample opportunity to set the agenda what Republicans can accomplish upon taking control of the Senate.  The first 100 days are critical; let's make them count.

It is extraordinary that a state as small and poor as Kentucky has two such consequential Senators:  a future Majority Leader and a future presidential candidate. As McConnell has often said, Paul has been influential in the Senate from the very outset -- highly unusual in a venerable institution based on seniority.

Paul and McConnell have very different yet complimentary skill sets. McConnell understands the rules and procedures of the Senate better than anyone.  Paul has a political instinct that  discerns not just where public sentiment is now, but where it can go. I think their friendship is genuine. McConnell should take the opportunity between campaign stops to pick Paul's brain and prioritize what a Republican Senate majority can accomplish. First on that list should be the Keystone Pipeline.

Paul's boldness plus with McConnell's realism can combine to produce votes on bills that can demonstrate that Republicans are serious about governing, not obstructing.  Of course, Obama will probably veto most of the bills we'd like to see become law.  Let him.  Force him to go on record.

Paul and McConnell should also take this opportunity to plan for the contingency of what Obama may try to do by Executive Order in the lame duck session after the election but before the new Congress is sworn in.  If, for example, Obama tries to achieve amnesty through Executive Order, Republicans need to be ready to seek an injunction.






Thursday, October 30, 2014

McConnell Takes 48-43 Lead in new Bluegrass Poll

A New Bluegrass Poll, commissioned by The Courier-Journal, WHAS-11, The Lexington Herald-Leader and WKYT, was released today showing Senator McConnell up by five points with less than a week until election day. This is the same poll that was previously dead even when other polls showed McConnell up by several points.

The poll also finds that only 27% of Kentuckians view President Obama favorably. As Obama's Kentucky Candidate, it's no surprise that Grimes is struggling to find support in a state that has been so disproportionally harmed by Obama's policies. Kentuckians also understand the significance of Senator McConnell potentially becoming the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, a position that no Kentuckian has held since 1947. As Governor Huckabee pointed out last week at the Turn Kentucky Red Rally, every other state, big or small, would do anything for the influence that comes from having the majority leader as its senator. On November 4th, we have the opportunity to make our voices heard and restore this nation, starting by reelecting Senator McConnell.

No There There in Alison's Job Plan


Alison Lundergan-Grimes showed up to the KET debate with a prop:  her supposed job plan.  She clutched it and waved it at very points; she has done this on the campaign trail, as well. But she never says much about what's in the plan.

So I checked out her website for the specifics.  Like the entire Grimes campaign, it's just platitudes. She asserts that Kentuckians are hurting.  This is not news. Grimes attempts to pin that pain on McConnell rather than the Obama economy -- just like Obama has spent the last six years blaming everything on George W. Bush.  At some point, Obama and Grimes cross the line of reality.

She promises to cut red tape.  I am all for cutting red tape. Yet when was a Democrat ever in the history of the two parties better at cutting tape than a Republican?  Not even Bill Clinton can triangulate that issue.

She says she will remove " federal regulation of Kentucky's energy sector, allowing our state to create new middle-class jobs across the state."  This cannot be squared with the EPA regulations that Obama has issued by Executive Order.  Not only do those regulations make it impossible to build a new coal plant, regulations to be implemented in the coming months call for 18 coal plants, including in Kentucky, to be closed.  That is, Democrats plan to take the depression that plagues Eastern Kentucky and bring it to Western Kentucky, as well.  Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told the coal miners of Western Kentucky to not think they'd evaded the scrutiny of Obama's EPA:  they are coming for you.

Even if Grimes sincerely opposes what Obama's bureaucrats in the EPA are doing, she will have no seniority, no clout to stop them.  None.

Grimes says she wants to bring manufacturing back to Kentucky through tax reform.  Again, this is cheap advice.  McConnell has pointed to tax reform as an area where Congress might be able to get something done, if Obama moves to the center.  The difference between Grimes and McConnell, however, is that he will not use "reform" as a pretext for a tax increase.  America's corporate tax rate is now the highest in the developed world. No wonder corporations look to other countries to base their operations.

 It is the same within this country as states compete with other states:  jobs flow to the lowest tax rate.  That's why Kentucky is losing out to Tennessee.  That's yet another reason why Kentucky must #fliptheHouse.










Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The McConnell - Lee Greenwood Show


I attended Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's rallies in Somerset and Liberty to see not just McConnell but Lee Greenwood, best known for singing "Proud To Be An American." McConnell and Greenwood hit 14 cities in two days. I don't know how they have the stamina.

At 72, Greenwood's voice is still clear and powerful. He had the entire audience singing by the end, many moved to tears. That song has always given me chills, ever since I first heard it on the Reagan '84 campaign trail.

As McConnell pointed out, Greenwood's composition encapsulates conservative American values, beyond the lyrics. That song conveys American exceptionalism, pure and simple, in a way that no book or speech or think tank ever could.

Greenwood singing "Proud To Be An American" was a fitting epilogue to McConnell's speech.  Although McConnell hit hard on the damage that the Obama-Reid Democrats have done to the country, McConnell encouraged the audience not to give up hope.  It is not too late:  we can turn this around, save our country.  The only concrete action we can take this year, however, is to make Mitch McConnell Senate Majority Leader.

Greenwood and McConnell stayed and met with every person in the audience who wanted a photo or an autograph.  Both seemed to enjoy interacting with the crowd.

A note about the crowds at these rallies and the liberal narrative that McConnell's support was astro-turf.  Many people, like me, had taken the day off of work to hear McConnell and Greenwood.  Despite the rumors that McConnell was paying people to attend, I certainly have yet to receive a check!

I would expect and hope that the campaign staff who set up the microphones and the like were paid; they appeared to be working hard. When liberal media refer to McConnell campaign staff attending every rally, this is to whom they are referring.  It is no different than any other campaign I have seen.  Indeed, I would expect that Alison Lundergan-Grimes has paid campaign staff to set up her podium at every stop.  We wouldn't want her to chip a nail.