Thursday, November 19, 2015

Rep. Denny Butler Switches to Republican Party

According to Insider Louisville, Rep. Denny Butler (District 31 in Louisville) has flipped to the Republican Caucus. With Butler's move, Republicans now hold 47 of 100 seats in the Kentucky House of Representatives. Butler's switch comes as a surprise to many and raises the distinct possibility that enough Democrats could switch parties to give Republicans a majority before next year's election.

Monday, November 16, 2015

KY Should Hold Off Accepting Syrian Refugees For Now

I'm all for welcoming refugees, but Homeland Security needs to make sure it is properly vetting people. That's why governors across the nation are demanding answers from the administration and refusing to take in any more Syrian refugees until these questions are answered.

It's now well known that a passport found near one of the attackers in Paris indicates that he came from Syria as a refugee through Greece. Thus the fear that inadequate measures to identify refugees allow terrorists to slip in undetected. Indeed, ISIS boasted that it would do just that.

Let's focus on screening and then resettling mothers and young children first. They should be the priority as refugees.

So what say you, outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear?  Common sense would dictate caution.  Why not delay taking in any more Syrian refugees and let Gov.-elect Matt Bevin determine how he wants to proceed?  Bevin will be stuck with the repercussions; let him make the decision.

Once Homeland Security can weed out potential terrorists from true refugees, then let's be generous and welcoming to these people. They need our compassion. But first, due diligence is in order.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

John Kasich Needs to Quit the Race

Last night's debate was mostly tedious -- a problem that Gov. John Kasich exacerbated. Every time he opened his mouth, he was like nails on a blackboard. There is just something terribly irritating about the man. It may be his lousy posture. Or his tendency to whine.

Some rave about his record of achievement, but  that's just not enough.

Although I don't think that Central Casting needs to pick our nominee, we do need to select someone who won't make people want to throw a brick through our TV screens.

Kasich is cutting into the time of more viable candidates, and he is hurting the Republican brand. Time for him to go.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Congratulations, MacBrown

Kentucky Republicans are very fortunate that Mac Brown has agreed to serve as Republican Party of Kentucky Chair.

Brown is a prolific fundraiser.  But he is so much more: a guy who thinks deeply about policy as well as politics -- someone who wants to find solutions to help all Kentuckians. Brown is a conservative, but resists being pigeonholed. He's willing to reexamine our positions on issues, as evidenced in his C-J column earlier this year on restoration of voting rights for felons who have paid their time. He is logical but also creative.

I was struck that Brown was aware of, and bothered by, the fact that the West End has no public middle schools. Like Rand Paul, he does not accept that Republicans should write off the votes of African-Americans, who have been so poorly served by the Democratic Party. I look forward to Brown continuing  and broadening the outreach efforts that Rand has started in that regard.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What a Great Night in Kentucky

Kentucky Republicans are ecstatic; we are all pinching ourselves because the victory was so much more extensive than most of us had thought possible.

Matt Bevin did not just win:  at nearly nine points, that's not just a mandate, that's a landslide. Note that even if Jack Conway had picked up every single vote cast for independent Drew Curtis, it still would not have been enough.

I thought there was a possibility that Bevin would win based on yard signs in even the most liberal parts of Louisville, but the margin is stunning. The polling could not have been more off the mark.

I am so proud that the first African-American elected to statewide office in Kentucky is Republican, Jenean Hampton, a unabashed conservative and early Tea Party patriot. This puts the lie to the notion that the Tea Party is racist. It also dispels the myth that Kentuckians hate Obama -- and Democrats suffer from association with him -- because Obama is Black and Kentuckians are racist. Kentuckians hate Obama because he's liberal and his policies hurt us. His race is beside the point, as Hampton's election makes clear.

It was certain to me months ago that Allison Ball and Ryan Quarles would win comfortably. No surprise there. But 61 percent for Allison -- wow. The Republican bench is deep, young and talented.

How sweet that Mike Harmon upset Adam Edelen. Mike had no money and suffered the indignity of some very unfair negative ads from Edelen. Meanwhile, as he was campaigning to be reelected as auditory, Edelen was telling people -- even Republicans -- that he was planning to run against Rand Paul next year. And he was viewed as an up and coming star within the Democratic Party. So much for the mainstream media narrative that Rand Paul's Senate seat is in jeopardy because of Edelen.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Vote Bob Heleringer for District Court Judge

There are close to two dozen candidates for Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge. I will be voting for Bob Heleringer. He's smart, experienced and a good guy.

There is an unfortunate tendency for lawyers whose practices are languishing to run for judge as a way to get a steady salary. That is not true of all candidates, by any means, but it is something the voter should be alert to. Need for a job is not an adequate reason to elect someone judge. In fact, it should be a disqualification.

Bob Heleringer does not need the job. He's had a successful career. He's also been able to juggle a career in the State House and more recently as a columnist in addition to practicing law, That speaks l to his time management skills as well as his interest in public service.

District Court is a very intense place. The judge's demeanor is of paramount importance. Heleringer has the intellect for the job, as well as three decades of legal experience. But his most important attribute is that he treats people with respect and is good at helping people of divergent views work collaboratively. He has a sense of humor -- very important in a place as stressful as District Court -- and he demonstrates humility and courtesy in how he interacts with others.

To my mind, he is the clear choice.

That MSNBC Debate Was an Outrage

Here's a guest post from Jack Richardson on the Republican Presidential Debate:


On October 28, 2015 the third Republican Presidential Debate was hosted by CNBC. Recriminations over the format, the host network and the moderators were swift and like a tidal wave washing over the Republican National Committee, as well it should. While some of the Neanderthals at the Republican National Committee are still ringing their hands and trying to figure out why Donald Trump is leading in the polls, the debate debacle on Thursday night proved that the Republican voters have already figured it out.

As Rush Limbaugh and others have suspected and are now talking about more openly, is this a rigged game? Is the fix in? Are the people we have trusted, i.e., the RNC in on the fix? It would sure seem so given the utter incompetence and lack of control the RNC has exhibited in the way it has managed the debate format for its candidates.

Well, I'm one of those who believe it's a fixed horserace. I will never forget the night that George H. W. Bush was debating Bill Clinton and in the middle of the debate Bush looked at his watch. Boom. The campaign was then and would later be reported as being one of the worst run re-election campaigns in history. At that moment it hit me like a ton of bricks.....the powers to be have tapped Clinton on the shoulder. The fix was in. No one with Clinton's scandals and background should have won that election, but sure enough ole George turned it over to Clinton. George's glance at his watch told the story. He was tired and ready to be done with it and  be off to Kennebunkport, Maine. 

Back to the CNBC debate. The Republican voters already know that if officers of any of Donald Trump’s companies had delivered a disaster as occurred with the CNBC moderated debate, the next morning Trump would have called a meeting, walked in and said, “you are all FIRED!” That’s why the Republican voters support Trump. He’s on target, he's to the point, and he doesn’t tolerate incompetence.

Don’t misunderstand. This is not an endorsement of Donald Trump, it’s a condemnation of the RNC’s mismanagement. The hierarchy within the RNC has allowed the Republican field to be cast in a horrendous light as we have agonizingly watched over the last three debates. Quite simply, the degree of ineptitude and sheer stupidity with which the RNC has allowed the debates to be structured and hosted is nothing short of the most egregious political malpractice imaginable. If this were a Middle East venue, there wouldn’t be a simple firing, heads would and should roll.  

In view of the importance of this election and the importance of these debates, heads should roll and the Republican voters are going to be the executioners. I was not completely on board with the voters' decisions until Thursday night. Forget firing anyone, let’s break out the pitch forks and torches and hunt down those at the RNC responsible for the ambushing the Republican candidates have experienced over the last three debates. Those RNC decision makers should be run out of town. 

Senator Cruz, Senator Rubio, Donald Trump and Chris Christie gave red meat to the audience Thursday night. You could almost hear a collective roar across the country when Cruz castigated the CNBC moderators for their bias. The Republican voter gets it.They have been screaming for someone to come to the rescue, for someone with the guts enough to stand up and tell it like it is. The Republican voter knows that something is dreadfully wrong and it’s in our leadership.

The greatest threat in this country is the insidious liberal ideology and political correctness  that has infected and plagued the media, our universities and our political discourse. It is a suicidal mentality that is delivering us into the hands of our enemies and the voters are alarmed. Just when this country needs leadership that leadership is missing particularly within the RNC. The Leaders in the RNC have been and are committing political malpractice on a scale not seen since the re-election campaign of President George Herbert Walker Bush. 

The Carson and Trump campaigns are attempting to get the other campaigns to get together and force the RNC to restructure the debate format. It’s outrageous that our candidates are having to fight within their own party to protect the candidates. The RNC should be ferociously protecting our candidates. The Republican voters have now come to the realization that we can’t win anything with the leadership we have. They have truly become the loyal opposition, that is loyal to our opposition.  Hillary Clinton couldn’t have any better friends than those in charge at the RNC who are responsible for the debate debacles.
Whoever allowed the Republican presidential field to be displayed to the American public as they have been over the last three debates should forever be ostracized from the political process. Whoever chose CNBC with the sanctimonious, arrogant, smug moderators straight from the rotting socialist bowels of the Democrat Party should be nailed to a stockade and put on display to forever endure the scorn of the Republican voters who have become exasperated at the incompetency at the RNC.

Any one of the people in the Republican slate running for President would be a healing salve to the open festering wound that socialist policies have brought about in this country. The Republican voters are screaming out for its leaders to help the party save the nation. But no, the RNC leadership is proving as deadly as liberal corruption is proving lethal to the country. The voters are watching their country die and they are terrified. Likewise the Republican voters are enraged over the ineffectiveness of their party and have concluded that the problem lies with the leadership. Consequently, the Republican voter has embraced the outsiders, Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson, to lead the party.

Some in leadership say these candidates are unelectable and will never survive a campaign against Hillary Clinton. That just further emphasizes all the more how the failure of RNC leadership policies has brought us to this crisis. Heads should roll. 

The deafening cheers of the crowd Thursday night when Cruz went on the attack against the media explains why Trump and Carson are leading. The RNC is still scratching its head. That alone is evidence enough that RNC incompetence runs so deep that we need a wholesale purge and the Republican voter is about to do it. How much clearer does the message need to be to the RNC than the debate audience’s response to Cruz, Rubio and Trump’s attack on the media? How dare those at the RNC be so stupid as to allow such a debate format, much less the liberal moderators. The rest of the Republican field would do well to follow the examples of Cruz and company.

Of no little discomfort to this writer is why has it taken so long for the field of Republican candidates to recognize that the media is the enemy. Why have so many of the candidates taken the bait the media types have thrown at them and attacked one another as if those attacks would never be used by the Democrats in their general election ads against whoever the Republican nominee might be? Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment needs  to be implemented: speak no ill of another Republican.

When it comes to the moderators every Republican candidate should be schooled in how not to let the moderator set the premise of the question or the agenda. If a question is ridiculous then attack the question. Point out why it is ridiculous and state how it should be rephrased and then answer the question as rephrased. Never, never, never allow a liberal moderator to get by with framing the issue or setting the agenda. That’s why Trump, for all his shortcomings, is ahead.  The audience will never hear a candidate’s answer until the ringing in their heads of the absurd question from the moderator is exposed, disposed and rephrased.  The Republican field was at fault for allowing the moderators to draw blood for nearly fifteen minutes before attacking the questions and the questioners.  Trump has no hesitancy doing that. The voters love him for it. The RNC was at fault for the format and for the host and allowing the pick of the moderators. 

The debate formats were wrong headed from the beginning. To have picked CNBC is political malpractice in the extreme not to mention the moderators. There is no excuse for not knowing the pedigree of the moderators. That kind of virulent, unbridled and obsessed liberal bias doesn’t just emerge overnight. All three of the moderators have a trail of liberal bias stench that even a blind blood hound could have detected. The RNC has failed the Republican voters. To have allowed the debate to go forward with this news outlet with these moderators, heads should roll. 

​The Republican voter wants; the Republican candidates to be unified against the enemy, which includes the media. They want what Cruz, Rubio, Trump and Cruz delivered in their assault on the media. They want competency at the helm of the RNC where CNBC-like debates do not occur. Without Republican solutions soon, we are doomed as a nation. Until the RNC is fixed the nation will not have a solution to its problems. Heads must roll.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My C-J Article on the U of L Hooker Scandal

Reprinted with permission of the Courier-Journal

Katina Powell’s Breaking Cardinal Rules is a blemish on the face of the University of Louisville, but it is not the face. And like all blemishes, this sordid episode will eventually go away and the face will heal.
U of L is taking appropriate steps to investigate Powell’s allegations; we should reserve judgment until the facts are confirmed and that process complete. Calls for Coach Rick Pitino’s resignation are premature. He’s entitled to the same presumption of innocence any of us would want.
Even if Powell’s allegations are true, she does not, cannot fully and accurately portray U of L as an institution. Context matters. There’s a big campus outside Minardi Hall.
Based on exhaustive coverage of her e-book, I’m sure Powell makes no mention of theninety (90!) U of L students who have won Fulbright Scholarships since 2000. That’s more than all Kentucky schools combined. In several recent years, U of L led the nation in Fulbright winners, surpassing Harvard. The NCAA cannot take that away.
The Fulbright statistic reflects two realities. First, U of L is attracting smart students as quantified by the rise in its ACT scores. More important, U of L gives students with the desire and ability the mentoring, advising and encouragement they need to win scholarships like the Fulbright, Rhodes and Truman.
I doubt that Powell’s e-book mentions that this fall, thanks to a $6.3 million grant, U of L opened the John H. Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise at the College of Business. While self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders draws huge crowds, U of L is becoming a haven for the teaching and research of free enterprise and entrepreneurship as a way of  “advancing the well-being of society.”
Papa John’s Founder John Schnatter, the primary donor, wrote in this paper recently:
"The Center for Free Enterprise teaches that free enterprise empowers people to reach their full potential and achieve great things. It also teaches that everyone, regardless of his or her station in life, is blessed with gifts and talents that can be used to benefit others. When people are free to apply their skills and pursue their dreams, they are capable of finding tremendous self-fulfillment, self-esteem, and self-respect."
The Center for Free Enterprise is not just a huge catch for U of L; it also can play a critical role in our nation remaining a capitalist economy at a time when many “progressives” reject the concept of the free market. I particularly look forward to the Center's speaker series.
The Center for Free Enterprise is the latest vehicle to draw top-notch students to U of L under President Jim Ramsey, but by no means the only one.
Take, for example, the McConnell Center for Political Leadership, of which I am honored to serve as chair of its Board of Advisers. The McConnell Center offers not just scholarships, but seminars, trips and programming for undergraduates, as well as civics education for Kentucky teachers and a strategic broadening seminar for select members of the U.S. Army. Many of its lectures and speeches are open to the public. (Those who enjoy history and politics should get on its mailing list.)
The Brown Fellows Program similarly has caused many high-caliber students to apply to U of L, matriculate and do important research, even overseas. And the U of L Honors Program gives students small, rigorous classes and opportunities for additional international travel.
I admit that I view U of L through the prism of proud parent of a current undergraduate who is getting an excellent education. He is challenged, knows many of his professors well, and while working hard is enjoying his experience as Cardinal immeasurably. Like 5,000 U of L students, he lives in campus-affiliated housing.
U of L is no longer a commuter school. New construction has rendered the campus unrecognizable compared to when I moved here 20 years ago. This, in turn, has drawn new restaurants and shops near campus.
U of L has benefited from a powerful and loyal alum, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He has been an important champion of U of L, helping it secure millions of dollars in federal and private money. The transformation of U of L’s campus is a direct result. That metamorphosis  continues: The U of L Foundation expects to spend another billion dollars in new construction by 2020.
The U of L student who sued Powell for allegedly tarnishing U of L and diminishing the value of her education should take heart when that suit is dismissed, as it will be. The Powell saga will pass. No matter how it is resolved, no matter what the NCAA does or the news coverage that ensues, U of L will move forward, and upward.