Sunday, August 4, 2013
Fancy Farm 2013
The Courier-Journal overstated the number of McConnell supporters who rode on buses. In the first place, four, not five buses were planned; if there was a fifth, it was likely due to overflow -- a good problem for Team Mitch. Secondly, roughly half of the Republicans present did not ride the bus. A fair number who drove separately did leave after listening to Matt Bevin, but not because their ride was pulling out. More out of disgust or indifference.
The Democrats who came were mostly dressed in chartreuse union shirts. Not only were there way less Democrats than Republicans, the Democrats were quite a bit older.
Tackiest moment of the whole day: when the Democrats booed former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. Democrats wage a war on women, they just pick and choose who to go after. Apparently an American success story, who immigrated here at age eight, speaking no English, graduated from Harvard Business school and was appointed to serve our president in the cabinet, that's the sort of women Democrats want to wage war on, because she has the gall to step off the Feminist reservation and think for herself.
The speeches generally were geared to minimize gaffes. Every speaker was very aware that their opponent would like nothing better than to seize upon a clip for a future opposition ad. Rule changes similarly reduced the antics of Fancy Forms of yore. For example, the rule that prohibits props -- that stems from McConnell bringing a giant cut-out of Bill Clinton on stage and daring any Democratic candidate to come have a picture taken with Bill. (Stupidly, one did, resulting in the election of Congressman Ed Whitfield.)
McConnell's speech correctly framed his election in national terms: it is not about who represents Kentucky in the U.S. Senate but rather who runs the Senate. He's right about that. If Alision Lundergan Grimes wins, Harry Reid will almost certainly be Majority Leader. And if Matt Bevin wins the primary, AL-G will win the general, again making Harry Reid Majority Leader. We saw what happened in the first two years of the Obama administration, when Dems controlled the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. That's when they muscled through Obamacare (without even reading the bill prior to the Christmas Eve vote). We cannot allow them to control the Congress. Because McConnell has been the firewall in the Senate, his defeat is the Democrats number one priority this election cycle.
Grimes's speech was much uglier than I had expected. For all her talk about not wanting to be bullied, she is a mean girl. Elaine Chao shook her head in disgust as Grimes misrepresented McConnell's record. Note to Grimes: saying no to a bad idea is called wisdom and courage. The teenager who tells his car mates that it's not a good idea to race the train could be called an obstructionist. He could also be called a hero. McConnell has stood up to the train wreck that is Obamacare from its inception, as he has stood up to all the other steps Obama would take to turn us into Greece.
As far as the other speeches by elected officials, Ed Whitfield's was outstanding. He methodically attacked the Obama administration's war on coal and tied Grimes to it. He's right. Grimes's personal views about coal are beside the point, because if she is elected, Harry Reid will be able to bring regulations to the Senate floor that will cripple what is left of Kentucky's coal industry.
Jack Conway's speech, to my mind, was the worst. Recall that the No Profanity Rule at Fancy Farm was instituted because Jack Conway at a previous Fancy Farm boasted that he was "one tough son of a bitch." Not real genteel for a church picnic. Conway didn't curse this time, he just boasted. He lauded his record ad nauseum Clearly he is running for governor. And clearly, he is a narcissist of the highest order. He also looked angry; still bitter not be be a U.S. Senator, maybe.
Matt Bevin's speech came second to last. Remaining Republicans from Team Mitch sat in polite but stony silence at first and then began to quietly leave. Plainly, Bevin is a smart, articulate guy. His few supporters (maybe two dozen) shook cow bells that Bevin's Connecticut company made -- the one that took the bailout. This was in violation of the Fancy Farm rule, announced at the beginning, and not particularly effective. Bevin, like Grimes, pulled no punches in attacking McConnell. At one point, he appealed to the Democrats to applaud his attacks on McConnell, saying "we're on the same page here." (Note to Republicans: remember that line.) Democrats mostly seemed unconvinced.
The net effect of the combined attacks on McConnell by Grimes and Bevin reminded me of Goldilocks and the Three Bears: one bed was too long, one bed was too short, but the third bed was just right. Grimes complained that McConnell was too right wing and Bevin complained that McConnell was not right wing enough.
As best I could tell, the only Democrat who spoke to mention the name Obama was some crank at the end who is challenging Grimes in the primary. For all the other Democrats, Obama was He Who Must Not Be Named. What a pity McConnell couldn't bring a cardboard cutout of Obama on stage for the Democrats to come be photographed.