Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Democrats Turn Surreal

For those old enough to remember, Johnny Carson once had a dialogue with his audience about the weather.  After he opened by remarking about how really hot the weather was that day, the audience responded in unison, "how hot was it?" then Johnny replied with the punch line, "it was so hot today that I just saw a pigeon was walking in the shadow of Orson Welles." 

For the Orson Welles (albeit a skinny one) casting his shadow over a pigeon in the 2014 Kentucky Senate Race -- that is, the punch line known as Barack Obama -- the dialogue begins with how really unpopular the President is today.  How unpopular is he?  He is so unpopular today that I just saw a liberal newspaper columnist trying to boost Allison Lundergan Grimes' campaign by claiming that -- get this -- Mitch McConnell is more like Obama than is Grimes!  Yes, that's right.  Apparently, the Democrats' latest strategy to get voters to forget that Obama needs Grimes is to make the absurd argument that he really needs McConnell.  How else is there to describe Sam Youngman's article, "On Battling Islamic State, Mitch McConnell is Barack Obama's 'Kentucky Candidate'"?  Do they really think Kentuckians are dumb enough to believe that?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cosmo Endorses Allison Lundergan Grimes


Cosmopolitan Magazine has announced that it is endorsing Allison Lundergan Grimes.  The rationale given was that Grimes is pro-choice, whereas Mitch McConnell has said that he will introduce legislation to ban late-term abortions. As Cosmo put it, Grimes has

earned endorsements from NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and she's recommended by EMILY's List.

Cosmo is trying to boost the Dems' War on Women's Ladyparts narrative in an effort to turn out young single women.  Grimes' already had their vote.

Married women, in contrast, will not be impressed with the Cosmo endorsement.  To the contrary, many Kentucky women find the magazine off-putting.  It is a slutty, silly magazine that objectifies women.  Really gross. The endorsement just underscores how unserious Grimes is as a candidate, and how unsuited she is to represent Kentucky.

It will be interesting to see how Grimes handles the endorsement and even more interesting to know to what extent the Grimes campaign actually courted Cosmo to get the endorsement.

Friday, September 5, 2014

McConnell Gets Warm Reception at U of L Opener


Senate Republican Mitch McConnell was in the stands to watch the University of Louisville defeat University of Miami in the first game of the football season Labor Day evening.  McConnell rarely misses a home game. He is always decked out in his Cards gear and watches every minute. As he is with his politics, McConnell,  is steadfast. He is no fair weather fan.

Generally, the other fans at the football game pay no mind to McConnell, or perhaps give him his space. He is just another guy in the stands chanting "Cards First Down!"

The Miami game, however, was different.  People treated McConnell differently.  As he walked from the tailgate area to the stadium, people kept asking to have their picture taken with him. McConnell's presence generated a buzz, an excitement in the crowd. He was warmly greeted.  There were no hecklers, perhaps because the Allison Lundergan Grimes had no presence whatsoever.

One large group of maybe six or eight couples politely asked for a photo. Apparently this group did not receive the DNC memo that Republicans are waging a War On Women.

 While the half dozen or more wives surrounded McConnell, their husbands all snapped photos.  I am sure these are floating around Facebook and Instagram. This particular encounter was illustrative of McConnell's advantage with married women.

As McConnell drew closer to the stadium, another woman approached McConnell. She was approximately 30 years of age and with her husband.  She told McConnell that she is a small business owner and thanked him for all he had done to fight Obamacare.  They talked for some time. He listened intently as she explained the devastating impact that health care premiums are having on her business. I couldn't hear most of the conversation, but her support for McConnell, her gratitude for his service and his respect for him spoke volumes.

This is why McConnell is essentially tied with Grimes for women's votes. Grimes's lead with young women is not enough to overcome the Marriage Gap advantage that Republicans have with married women. Democrats do well among young, single women, and pander to this group with promises of free birth control and fear-mongering about Republicans coming to imprison their Lady Parts.

 Married women, with a few more years of life experience, see through this nonsense. That's why they are backing the grown-up in the race, McConnell.




Monday, August 25, 2014

Alison Grimes, Daddy's Little Girl


Alison Lundergan Grimes doesn't have just a bus problem:  she has Daddy Issues.  It was only a question of time before the Jerry Lundergan would become the focus of his daughter's campaign.  He is irresistible both to Grimes supporters and those who oppose her.

On the one hand, Lundergan is well-connected with prominent Democrats, most notably the Clintons.  As former Chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party and a former member of the state House, he is an experienced pol in his own right, and widely believed to be making all the strategic calls for his daughter's campaign. Given the political landscape nationally this year, the fact that Grimes has access to buckets of cash through Daddy and friends made her an attractive candidate.

However, there is a perception that like the Clintons, Lundergan  is a grifter who skates awfully close to the line.  Grimes's supporters write irate comments whenever it is pointed out that Lundergan was convicted of a felony. He is technically not a "felon," Grimes's supporters  argue, because his conviction  for a state ethics violation was overturned on appeal.  Though true, that is an unsavory point for Grimes's supporters to have to debate.

Here's the reason that the bus issue is resonating and won't go away:  it is vintage Lundergan.  We knew this scandal was coming in one form or another. Grimes's Daddy essentially bought for her and then rented her a bus on the cheap. That's a generous impulse from a doting dad, but given his previous run-ins with the law, one would have thought that Lundergan would have been more careful.  Clearly, he has learned nothing.

Grimes, moreover, compromised her integrity and has seriously undermined her campaign to save a few bucks -- which makes no sense whatsoever given that her campaign is rolling in dough.  Thanks to Daddy and Slick Willie calling in favors, Grime is hauling suitcases full of money from Hollywood and New York. Even Woody Allen contributed to Grimes.

So why not rent a bus from a transportation company unrelated to her father, so as to avoid the accusation that she is violating federal election law?  It was a risk she did not need to take.

And yet she used Daddy's companies, not just to rent her bus but for many other aspects of her campaign, as well.. The unescapable conclusions is that Grimes's political instincts are not good.  Further, Grimes appears to be detached from the running of her own campaign. Grimes is a lawyer, and the daughter of someone who was convicted for an ethics violations.  This should have been one  part of the campaign where she should have taken a keen interest. But she did not. If this is the kind of attention to detail she pays to her own affairs, Kentuckians cannot count on her to navigate her way through the U.S. Senate.

Grimes does not have the gravitas to survive in the U.S. Senate.




Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mitch Momentum


Fancy Farm Photos


Fancy That

The Fancy Farm picture on the first page of today's Courier-Journal says it all:  the Republicans are young, energetic and on their feet; the Democrats are middle aged, tired and sitting on their party mascots, to put it politely.  It brought to mind the latest SUSA poll:  Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is winning both the youth and senior vote, while Alison Grimes' coalition is at the crisis point, composed mostly of middle agers.

Clearly McConnell has momentum.  That was evident from the level of enthusiasm of his supporters yesterday.  They were far more relaxed and confident than last year, when general unease divided the right field at Fancy Farm.  One never knew when or where an isolated Matt Bevin supporter would ring a cowbell next.  This year, though Bevin did attend the Graves County Republican breakfast (which he curiously boycotted last year), he made no podium remarks comparable to his last year's, "look how smart I am to make a literary allusion," quoting of John Donne's poem about the tolling bell. Indeed, he had no microphone at Fancy Farm at all this year.  Bevin sat on a bench near the back of the school cafeteria where the breakfast was held. Good for him, though, for at least showing up this year -- and for biting his tongue when one of the speakers made reference to McConnell's landslide victory in the primary.

And good for Senator Rand Paul, who delivered poetry also -- a lampoonish Lundergan-Grimes limerick.  Attorney General Jack Conway continued as character foil to Paul.  Conway spent most of his speech crowing about how great Jack Conway is as Attorney General, and how great it would be to elect Jack Conway as Governor, before ending with an, oh, and you should vote for Grimes for Senate also.  Paul, in contrast, said nothing about himself during his speech -- despite that he is the Republican frontrunner for the Presidency -- and remained the bigger candidate and man than the one who thought Aqua Buddha would get him elected to the U.S. Senate.

The Paul-Conway contrast was just one example of difference between the Republican and Democratic speakers at this year's Fancy Farm.  The Republicans had their National A-Team, led by the likely next Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate and possibly the next President of the United States.  The Democrats had their farm-league club.  Where was that Major League pitcher like President Barack Obama's teleprompter when the Democrats really needed it?

The only mentions of Obama (and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid) were by the Republicans.  The Grimes supporters awkwardly responded to their party leaders' names.  Obama and Reid were like  embarrassing, distant relatives at yesterday's Democratic family gathering.  The Grimes folks mostly just tried to ignore them, though Grimes did not dispute the Republicans' repeated point that her first vote as U.S. Senator would be for Uncle Harry to be her leader.

Other Democrats oddly missing at Fancy Farm were minorities.  In his breakfast speech Paul continued to advocate for the party of Lincoln to make more of an effort to reclaim its historic support from the African American community. But, again the C-J's picture tells a story:  there are no African Americans in sight, either on the Republican or the Democratic side.  From personal observation, however, I can say there were some African Americans and other minorities among McConnell's supporters who were outside the lens of the C-J's camera.

But I can't say I saw any minorities anywhere on the Grimes side.  This recollection seemed all the more significant this morning when I read in the C-J about a Northern Kentucky Democrat tweeting that McConnell's wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, "isn't from KY, she is Asian."

Indeed, whether you were born in Kentucky seemed to be a Democratic talking point yesterday.  A self-appointed "news" videographer from the Grimes camp -- at least I figured so since he was wearing a Grimes tee shirt -- came over to the McConnell side to interview Republicans.  One of his questions was whether we knew that McConnell wasn't born in Kentucky.

You know you are winning when the other side starts making the birther argument.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Claudia Tenney is the Real Deal


Congressional candidate Claudia Tenney is a true conservative, always has been. We have been friends since high school.  I am delighted that she is running for the Republican nomination in New York's 22nd Congressional district, where we grew up. Good for Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin and the many other conservative talk show hosts and writers who have endorsed Claudia.

Claudia is a lawyer and a constitutional conservative.   Her late father was a highly respected conservative judge and a true gentlemen.  He would be proud of the campaign she has waged against incumbent Richard Hanna -- the third most liberal Republican in the House of Representatives. Having grown up in Judge Tenney's household, Claudia learned early on that rule of law requires judges to apply the law rather than legislate from the bench.  She likewise respects the plain text of the constitution, including the second amendment.  Claudia is not one for discovering new "rights" in the constitution's penumbras and emanations, and so it is no surprise that Claudia opposes abortion.

Claudia is a single mother and justly proud of her son, who graduated from Annapolis and is a Marine officer. She raised him while running a small business, practicing law and doing volunteer work with Bosnian refugees.

I think the fierceness and intensity of her campaign stems from Claudia's ability as an athlete. She is a superb equestrian, one of the best on the U.S. Hunter-Jumper circuit back when we were in high school.  In show-jumping and also skiing, she was fearless.  She took up basketball and later golf and I have no doubt she's very, very good.  Claudia likes to compete and she is an extremely hard worker -- all attributes that will serve her well in Congress.

Although Claudia has Tea Party backing, she is no wild-eyed Mourdock or Akin. Claudia's family has been active in the Republican Party in Central New York for generations. She will be able to move comfortably with Establishment Republicans to get things done for the district, but will never go wobbly. Washington won't change Claudia.  To the extent that it is still possible, however, Claudia might change Washington. 

Notwithstanding her tenacity, Claudia is kind.  She is generous.  She is a loyal friend, has a great sense of humor and is one of the most honest people I have ever met.  I wish I still lived in the district so I could vote for her tomorrow.  In the meantime, I am praying for the Republicans in NY-22 give her the nomination.  Her opponent is so liberal that the Democrats did not bother to nominate anybody.  If Claudia wins tomorrow, she will be going to Congress. 

Central New York conservatives, you need to turn out tomorrow.  The nation is watching so get it right.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Matt Bevin Does the Right Thing


At Saturday night's Lincoln Day dinner for the Kentucky Republican Party, the highlight was the surprise appearance of Matt Bevin.

Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had taken to the podium. He reminisced about how not that many years back, it was hard to recruit Republicans to run for office, given the Democrats' commanding lead in voter registration.  Now, that gap has closed significantly.  As a consequence, McConnell said, candidates value the Republican nomination.  The inevitable result is more Republican primaries. Reflecting upon his recent primary, McConnell said that there was someone he needed to thank for making him a better candidate for the general election:  Matt Bevin.

At that point, McConnell gestured to the left corner of the ballroom and Matt Bevin stood up.  A surprised and delighted audience immediately gave Bevin a standing ovation.

 It was a show of unity that few expected in light of the tone of Bevin's concessions speech.  Concession speeches, however, are given in the raw moments when the reality of the loss is just beginning to sink in.  Two and half weeks later, Bevin demonstrated true graciousness.  But Bevin's presence was more than good sportsmanship.  His campaign argued for conservative policy solutions and by showing up at the state party dinner -- the bastion of  Establishment Republicans - he put the focus on the need to elect the most conservative candidate.  After the primary, that is McConnell. (Indeed, I would argue that McConnell was the most conservative candidate before the primary, but that is now beside the point).

I never believed that many of the Bevin supporters would stay home come the general election.  The Bevin supporters I know are committed conservatives, deeply patriotic Kentuckians who recognize that men and women put their lives on the line to defend our freedom. The most precious exercise of that freedom is when we vote. To stay home out of bitterness about a primary loss is unworthy of the right to vote.

Unlike the Rand Paul - Trey Grayson primary,  there was no "unity rally" after the primary this year. That was a source of disappointment and consternation to many Republicans. Then Matt Bevin showed up and demonstrated unity when we least expected it, and for that he deserves our respect and gratitude.