Monday, December 29, 2014

Obama Never Ceases to Amaze

It is no secret that President Barack Obama suffers no insecurity issues.  To the contrary, his sense of self-worth is wide and paved with self love.

So this story should come as no surprise, and yet it shocks me:  Obama booted off of a Hawaiian golf course two Army Captains who had planned to marry there.  They were forced to relocate their wedding to suit the president's tee time.

To be sure, Obama gave them 24 hours.  Anyone who has ever planned a wedding can imagine the inconvenience, outrage and panic the poor bride must have felt.  Well, maybe not panic.  She is, after all, an Army Captain and presumably resilient, courageous and used to overcoming adversity.  This was not, however, a foray by an enemy or a terrorist attack:  it was Obama, playing golf.  Something he gets to do - a lot.

Obama is the Commander-in-Chief to both this bride and groom. His rudeness in displacing any couple in these circumstances is hard to comprehend; to do so to his soldiers is disgraceful.

Obama called the couple and apologized.  Maybe he didn't know that his underlings had told the bride and groom to go elsewhere.  However, that doesn't give a lot of comfort because it simply reconfirms the perception that Obama's staff is arrogant and unchecked.  The tone is set from the top.

The fish rots from the head.  

Friday, December 19, 2014

Grimes Gives Rand a Gift

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes might have thought she was sounding tough recently when she told Sen. Rand Paul that she will go to court, if necessary, from keeping Paul from appearing on the ballot twice.

Grimes told WHAS 11's Joe Arnold:

The law is clear,” Grimes told WHAS-TV in Louisville. “You can’t be on the ballot twice for two offices.”
“We’ll look to the court for any guidance that is needed,” she added. “And at the end of the day, we’re not going to be bullied.”
That removes a legal hurdle for Paul, a doctrine called standing, that might have been problematic for him but for Grimes's statement.  Standing is a doctrine that court's use to avoid ruling on a case.  It requires that the plaintiff have a particularized injury that could be redressed by the relief sought in the case. That allows courts to dismiss cases where the connection between the relief sought and the injury alleged is speculative.  
For Paul, standing might have been an issue if he challenged Kentucky's statute prohibiting one's name from appearing on a ballot twice.  If Paul brought suit before he had actually filed to run for both the U.S. Senate and the presidency, there is a very real possibility that the court would dismiss on either standing or ripeness.
Grimes's comments, however, make clear that Paul's injury is neither speculative nor premature.  She has, in effect, teed up his legal challenge for him by removing several possible procedural hurdles.

My C-J Column On Free Trade

In case you missed my Courier-Journal column on free trade this week, here's the link.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Jeb is Running

Jeb Bush has just announced on FaceBook that he has" decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States."  This is no surprise; one of his good friends told me last March that Jeb would run. 

I wish him well.  I really do.  

But I do not want to see him become the nominee.  It is not his last name.  I think the Bush fatigue that the country experienced at the end of W's term has largely dissipated due the incompetence and mendacity of Obama.  Every day that Obama remains in office makes W look better by comparison.  (Hell, Jimmy Carter looks better by comparison).

 Jeb is by all accounts a smart and decent man.  However, he is not conservative enough on immigration or on Common Core.  

I am sick and tired of the Republican party nominating moderates.  When we nominate moderates we lose.  We saw this with Ford, Dole, Bush 41's bid for reelection, McCain and Romney.  All moderates.

When we nominate bold and unapologetic conservatives -- Reagan and W -- we win.  To my mind, Jeb would govern more like his father than his brother.

To be sure, he'd be a better president than Hillary or Fauxaontas.  If he is the nominee I will therefore support him.  I just hope that isn't the case. 

Mayor Fisher to Veto Minimum Wage Hike

Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher announced last night that he will veto the Metro Council ordinance that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10.

Fisher said that he supports a minimum wage hike on a state-wide and national basis.  The problem with just raising the minimum wage in Jefferson County, he explained, is that it would drive jobs to nearby counties.

That's the same point I made in my Courier-Journal column a few months ago. I have to commend Fisher for his courage in taking this position, for which he took tremendous heat on Twitter immediately upon announcing it.  For a Democrat, Fisher has been relatively pro-business.

Where Fisher gets it wrong is that a state-wide minimum wage hike takes the same problem and just magnifies it; jobs would flow to states surrounding Kentucky that have not raised their minimum wage. A national minimum wage increase, according to the CBO could cost America between 600,000 to one million jobs.

My youngest son, reading the rants against Fisher on Twitter, observed to me that the market is already pricing labor above the current minimum wage.  That's why he earned $9 and hour for flipping burgers.

The minimum wage is a terrible policy that hurts those it is designed to help:  the poor and unskilled, particularly young minorities.  Instead of increasing the minimum wage, it would be better to repeal it altogether.


Monday, November 24, 2014

The Obamnesty Travesty

My column in this Wednesday's Courier-Journal will address Obama's Executive Amnesty and the underpinning of Obama's legal education that in my opinion helped him rationalize that overreach.

One point that space did not permit:  Obama's Executive Amnesty will disproportionately harm blacks, the one voting block that has been most devoted to him.  Katie Kieffer makes that point on Townhall, here.  It makes me quite sad.  Obama has taken advantage of the loyalty of blacks to beef up another part of his coalition, Hispanics, that vote for Democrats but in less reliable numbers.

Those poor blacks who are struggling for employment now will find their prospects changed, alright, thanks to Obama.  He has taken these voters for granted for too long.

That's why Sen. Rand Paul's outreach efforts -- echoed locally here by Jefferson County GOP Chair Nate Haney -- offers a real alternative to voters who Democrats have failed.

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.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Grimes Insults KY Women

When I  went through the mail last night I was astonished to saw that Alison Lundergan Grimes had sent me a campaign mailer, addressed to me. I could not decide if she is desperate or  just not very smart. Of course, these two explanations are not mutually exclusive.  And there is a third possibility:  she is a rich girl accustomed to Daddy getting her whatever she wants -- even a campaign bus! No need to pinch pennies!

Asking around, it became apparent that Grimes is sending direct mail to women who are registered Republicans.  Apparently she is so awash in money that she can squander it on people who will never, ever vote for her.  If Grimes is this bad a steward of her own campaign's resources, imagine what she would do with a federal budget.

Even more bizarre, Grimes is mailing Republican women who live in the suburbs.  To the extent that Mitch McConnell has not closed the gender gap among women of all ages, it is beyond dispute that married women overwhelmingly prefer McConnell.  Memo for Grimes:  registered Republican women who live in the suburbs are more than likely married.  They are McConnell voters. Again, she is just profligate with her own resources in total disregard of common sense and reality.

It is insulting that Grimes thinks that Kentucky women will vote for her simply because she is a woman.  Her invocation of the so-called war on women will not work.  She keeps accusing McConnell of opposing equal pay for equal work in disregard of the fact that pay discrimination based on gender has been illegal since the 1960's.  

Grimes is so busy purporting to solve phony issues that she ignores the biggest issue of the election:  the Obama "recovery" stinks.  Those of us who are parents are worried about our children's future. We worry that what Obama has done to this country is on the brink of becoming irreversible.

If Grimes wants to show what a "strong Kentucky woman" she is, how about starting by standing up to Daddy Lundergan.  How about asking him why he objectifies and demeans women  with his "Hugh Jass" burger restaurant.  Perhaps Grimes should request Daddy Lundergan to take off the menu "Charlotte's rack"  -- the name of her own mother's breasts.  Grimes's sister gets a shout-out on the menu as "Abby's hugh ass."  

If a Republican did that, the Democrats would be screaming about misogyny.  Where are the feminists to complaint about this sexism?

It is insufficient for Grimes to respond that it is not her restaurant.  She is the company's lawyer.  If any of my clients publicly referred to my mother's breasts, I would give them a peace of my mind pro bono.

Then there is Grimes's hypocrisy about the minimum wage.  She wants to raise it, but her family restaurant pays its waitresses a whopping $2.13 an hour.  So much for charity beginning in the home.

I just hope that Grimes doesn't run for governor after she loses next week. As McConnell has said, she is a "new face for the status quo."  That is true regardless of what office she sets her sights on.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Huckabee Rocks Turn KY Red Rally

Mike Huckabee did more than just encourage Kentucky to flip the state House:  he made an impassioned argument as to why the country is counting on us to reelect Mitch McConnell.

It was perhaps the best Get Out the Vote Speech I've ever seen.

Huckabee pointed out that if McConnell becomes Senate Majority Leader, he will be in a position to set the agenda in the Senate.  More importantly, he will have power to protect our state to an extent that all other 49 states would love that opportunity.

We all know that it is not often that Kentucky is the envy of the nation.  With McConnell as Senate Majority, however, we will have an champion second to none to look out for us.

Huckabee explained how the current Majority Leader, Sen. Harry Reid, has prevented 360 bills passed by the House of Representatives from coming to a vote in the Senate.  The back log is such that Harry Reid's desk is a fire hazard, Huckabee joked.  Amplifying the point, Huckabee said that Reid has turned the Senate into a "roach motel" where bills from the House go in but never come out.

Noting a sign in the audience that read "I am pro-life and proud,"  Huckabee stated that McConnell is the pro-life candidate in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race.  He spoke on the issue with a moral authority that stilled the crowd.  It was touching, therefore, after he finished speaking and greeted the crowd, that he gave extra time and attention to a number of individuals in motorized wheel chairs with severe disabilities.  His time and attention showed how deeply he believes what he had just said: all individuals, even a Downs baby, are created in God's image.

Huckabee's background as a preacher came through when he made essentially an alter call for each person there to go out and bring 10 right-minded people to the polls.  He conveyed an urgency for Kentuckians to do this not just for Kentucky but for America.

The man is a superb speaker, and he exudes such humility and decency.  I was not a Huckabee fan when he first ran for president.  I was wrong.

Former U.S. Ambassador Cathy Bailey's Kentucky Rise PAC put on a terrific rally.  The hangar at Bowman field was nicely filled with approximately 400 people in a wide range of ages and even races. Sen. Paul's efforts to grow the party seem to be bearing fruit (a big part of this is Jefferson County GOP Chair Nate Haney's opening a West End GOP headquarters.)

Though Huckabee was the headliner,  we heard excellent speeches from former Secretary Elaine Chao, Ambassador Bailey (who is quite a good stump speaker herself), Congressional candidate "Dr. Mac" and  state and local candidates.

  Altogether an impressive group of conservatives, worthy of a straight ticket vote

[Note:  photos to follow].

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Huckabee to Help Flip the House

Former Arkansas Governor and Fox News Host Mike Huckabee will headline a rally Saturday, October 25th at Bowman Field in Louisville.  The rally is free and open to the public at 5:00. (Enter off of Cannon's Lane and follow the signs.)

Huckabee will appear on behalf of the Kentucky Rise PAC in support of its efforts to give Republicans our first GOP House in Kentucky since 1922.  Kentucky Rise PAC is chaired by former U.S. Ambassador to Latvia Cathy Bailey.  "In a year that is extremely crucial to our country's future, we cannot ignore the opportunity to win the Kentucky House in 2014, " Bailey said.  "Governor Huckabee knows first-hand the importance of Republicans controlling both chambers of the statehouse and is committed to helping us here in Kentucky. It's imperative we create a pro-business state that could allow Kentucky to serve as a regional economic powerhouse, encouraging job creation and is committed to helping our educational system, which will provide a strong Kentucky workforce."

Now that the DSCC has fled Kentucky after Alison Lundergan Grimes's embarrassing refusal to admit she voted for Obama, it is time to focus on the State House.  Huckabee's appearance comes just ten days before the election -- perfect for rallying the base to make a historic change in who governs in Frankfort.

Given that a veto by Kentucky's governor can be over-ridden by a simple majority, control or the legislative chambers is more significant in Kentucky than in most other states.  It is key to transforming the Commonwealth.  Huckabee and Bailey deserve our gratitude for their efforts to flip the House. Thank them in person on October 25th, 5:00 at Bowman Field.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Debate Predictions

Tonight's debate between Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Democrat candidate Alison Lundergan-Grimes is like the Super Bowl of Kentucky politics.

This is Grimes' last chance.  Nothing she has done to date suggests that she has what it takes to upstage McConnell tonight. If she was fleet-footed enough to debate, she wouldn't have been so tightly scripted this entire campaign.

McConnell's mastery of the facts of every issue of public policy that will come up will be insurmountable for Grimes.  We saw a preview of this when, at the Farm Bureau Breakfast, she did not understand the subtleties of agricultural price supports.  And again, when she opined that Israel's iron dome protected against Hamas's tunnels.  McConnell, therefore, wins in the contest of who looks best informed and most able to lead now. This will reinforce the public's suspicion that Grimes is just not ready for the task at this juncture.

Look for Grimes to feign outrage at McConnell supposedly condescending to her because she is a women.  He would not do such a thing -- he is married to a former Cabinet member, for heaven's sake -- but Grimes will make the accusation nonetheless.  She will probably say something about not being an empty dress.  (In point of fact, that's exactly what she is).  This exchange will probably occur when she is advocating equal pay for equal work or talking about the Violence Against Women Act.

Let's review.  It has been illegal since the 1960's to pay women less than men for the same work.  This is a fake issue, wherein Grimes purports to solve a problem that does not exist.  Likewise, McConnell was an original co-sponsor of the Violence Against Women.

Grimes is doing so poorly among Kentucky women because we see through her War on Women rhetoric.  Nor does the Democrat strategy or warning that Republicans are coming for our Lady Parts work in Kentucky.  Most of us -- unlike Grimes -- are pro-life.  Maybe someone should ask Grimes about the Democrats' War on Unborn Women.

Kentucky women are worried about our children's future.  We don't want our children to be on our health insurance at age 26 -- we want them to move out of the house, become gainfully employed, and start their own families. The fact that Democrats boast about Obamacare permitting 26 year old children to remain on parents' insurance policies shows the degree to which Democrats just don't understand our values of hard work, personal responsibility and independence.

Kentucky women smell a phony in Grimes. The robotic hand-gestures, the doe-eyed innocence, the hair carefully coiffed to fall over her left shoulder, the ceaseless platitudes, generalities and lack of substance. She is a daddy's girl of the highest order.  Some daddy's girls convince daddy to buy them a pony.  Grimes convinced her daddy -- the notorious Jerry Lundergan -- to buy her a campaign bus. She is no woman of the people.  For her to pretend that she speaks for Kentucky women is beyond laughable, it is offensive.

Dr. MacFarlane's Take on Ebola

From the campaign of Dr. Michael MacFarlane, Congressional candidate for Kentucky's 3rd district.  I share Dr. MacFarlane's concerns (though his take is informed by him being a medical doctor).  My C-J column this week also addresses the administration's response to Ebola.

Yesterday, Dr. Macfarlane wrote a thoughtful and timely Op-Ed piece in the wake of breaking news from Dallas, TX. The Courier Journal has responded this morning that they will not run any more pieces from Dr. Macfarlane before the election.  Just to clarify, Dr. Macfarlane had only one article published by the Courier Journal in June.  This is the letter to the editor that you will not see published.

Ebola virus and politics
I, like you, have been following the stories concerning Ebola around the country and particularly at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.  This morning we awoke to discover that a Dallas nurse who had treated patient Thomas Duncan who succumbed to Ebola last Wednesday, has now tested positive with the infection.  She was fully aware of the patient’s diagnosis and used full CDC isolation precautions including gown, gloves and mask while she cared for the patient, yet she still has fallen victim to the disease.  Her sacrifice to care for a sick patient is exactly what healthcare providers do on a daily basis. 
Each new Ebola infection triggers an elaborate and expensive protocol of contact screenings and monitoring of hundreds of potential people in addition to decontamination procedures by hazardous material professionals.  Routine care at a hospital with infected patients will be impaired.  Texas Presbyterian has temporarily halted new emergency room admissions.  It should be apparent that the situation could easily become overwhelming if more cases are encountered.  We are presently out of the new experimental drug ZMapp, which has already been credited in saving the lives of other healthcare workers.  The medication is a biologic of monoclonal antibodies and it takes time to produce. 
Unfortunately, the Ebola topic has become a part of the political debate for the upcoming midterm elections. Is the federal government doing all that is necessary to prevent a major out break in the United States?  Presently the disease is endemic only in a few West African nations where presently over 4,000 have already died.
The Federal response at this time is to set up screening facilities at major airports in the U.S. for travelers who have already entered the country.  Each passenger will need to be evaluated based on their most recent travel destinations, undergo a mini-medical examination, and then have a decision made whether or not to allow them entry, begin further monitoring, a quarantine or hospitalization.  I do not envy anyone who must make that call. Public health is at stake.
Common sense on the other hand would suggest treating such a deadly disease at its source rather than bringing it into the US.  Common sense would also suggest curtailing unnecessary travel to and from these endemic countries temporarily, at least until we have more immunoglobulin and better procedures in place to ensure infected individuals do not get on planes.  To be clear, travel bans would not restrict aid and humanitarian work in endemic countries or travel for medical professionals who are working to stop a pandemic at its source. We need a common sense approach and we need it quick.

Unfortunately common sense seems to be lacking in our government at every level.  Fortunately for us, the people still have it and will soon weigh in.

Michael Macfarlane, M.D.
Candidate for KY 3rd Congressional District


Please support Dr. Macfarlane today.  We appreciate any contribution that can be made.

Best Regards,

Macfarlane for Congress

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?
Please note: The postings of "G. Morris", written by John K. Bush and which end in 2016, stated his views as of the dates of posting and should not be understood as current assertions of his views. The postings, which have not been altered since they came to an end, remain on this blog to preserve the historical record. In 2017, Mr. Bush took a position that precludes further public political comments or endorsements. He will no longer be contributing to this blog.

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

Please note: The postings of "G. Morris", written by John K. Bush and which end in 2016, stated his views as of the dates of posting and should not be understood as current assertions of his views. The postings, which have not been altered since they came to an end, remain on this blog to preserve the historical record. In 2017, Mr. Bush took a position that precludes further public political comments or endorsements. He will no longer be contributing to this blog.

Fancy Farm Photos

Please note: The postings of "G. Morris", written by John K. Bush and which end in 2016, stated his views as of the dates of posting and should not be understood as current assertions of his views. The postings, which have not been altered since they came to an end, remain on this blog to preserve the historical record. In 2017, Mr. Bush took a position that precludes further public political comments or endorsements. He will no longer be contributing to this blog.

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.
Please note: The postings of "G. Morris", written by John K. Bush and which end in 2016, stated his views as of the dates of posting and should not be understood as current assertions of his views. The postings, which have not been altered since they came to an end, remain on this blog to preserve the historical record. In 2017, Mr. Bush took a position that precludes further public political comments or endorsements. He will no longer be contributing to this blog.

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.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Great News For McConnell

A new Rasmusson poll shows that those voters who backed Bevin in the primary are coming back to McConnell for the general election.

The new poll has McConnell beating Alison Ludergan Grimes 48-41 percent among likely voters.  This is a significant shift, given that poll after poll before the primary showed the race as neck and neck.

According the the poll, McConnell now has the backing of 76 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of Kentucky Democrats.  Grimes has 67 percent of Democrats and 18 percent of Republicans. Grimes is ahead of unaffiliated voters by three points.

Before the primary, one out of four Bevin supporters planned to vote for Grimes in the general if Bevin lost.  That margin was unsustainable. To the extent that the Bevin supporters truly thought that McConnell was not conservative enough, it never made any sense to think that Grimes would be more conservative than McConnell.

Grimes's appeal to the Bevin supporters could never offer anything substantive, just dislike for McConnell. Most Bevin supporters, however, were motivated in the primary by substance, not atmospherics. They sincerely thought that Bevin was the more conservative candidate.  He was not, in my view, but no matter:  it is beyond dispute that McConnell is much more conservative than Grimes.

I predict that Republican voters will further unite behind McConnell as the general election draws nearer.  Grimes claims that she is an "independent Kentucky woman."  That is beside the point. If elected, Harry Reid will be the boss of her.  Literally.  She will have no choice but to vote with his caucus

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thanks For the Mail, Alison!

I have a letter from Alison "Who's Your Daddy" Grimes. She sent it by mistake, but no matter.  The good news is that Alison has cleaned up her grammar.  She no longer boasts, "I don't scare easy."  Now she boasts "I don't scare easily."  Hooray!  Alison has mastered the distinction between an adjective and an adverb. Thata girl!

Now if only she could master the distinction between unemployment benefits and welfare.

Grimes complains that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell voted not to "Extend unemployment benefits in the wake of the Recession."  She points to votes on March 10, 2010, April 15, 2010, and July 20, 2010.

It is fascinating that Grimes describes these dates, particularly the last one, as the "wake of the Recession." Grimes has forgotten that Obama decreed 2010 as the Recovery Summer. Not that it's been much of a recovery. To the contrary -- many Americans remain underemployed, working multiple part-time jobs, and jobs for which they are overqualified.  Many other Americans have simply given up looking.  These people, more than any other, need the opportunity that only comes from a growing economy and an infusion of new jobs from new businesses.

At first blush, extending unemployment seems compassionate. But to keep extending it -- over and over, literally year after year -- is disingenuous.  At some point, unemployment ceases to be a temporary aid to pay bills while between jobs. At some point, it is no longer unemployment, but rather welfare hiding under a different name.

The distinction matters for several reasons.  Using the correct word matters.  Democrats like Obama, Harry Reid and Grimes are prone to obfuscate the debate by using the wrong word (think "fetus" for "baby").  According to Democrat lore, Bill Clinton abolished "welfare as we know it."  It is his big claim to fame (well, maybe his second).

 Heaven knows we Kentuckians will be subjected to lots of Clinton visits to help Grimes, daughter of their buddy Jerry Lundergan.  These visits will attempt to make us wax poetic for the Clinton years and the Clinton economy.  That nostalgia hinges on Clinton having "abolished" welfare.  The problem for Grimes is that to the extent that Clinton "abolished" welfare, Obama brought it roaring back.

Whether characterized as welfare or as unemployment benefits extended ad infinitum, the extension never addressed the root of the problem of why so many Americans remain unemployed for so long.  The main reason:  Obamacare.

While the Democrats tried to buy Americans off, McConnell was attempting to address Obamacare, the obstacle to a true recovery. Recall that when Democrats shoved Obamacare down America's throat that Christmas Eve, McConnell held together a Republican caucus that spans the spectrum from Olympia Snow to Ted Cruz; not a single Republican voted for Obamacare.  Consequently, Democrats -- including Grimes's party Leaders Reid, Obama and Pelosi -- own it.  And they own the consequences, including the stagnant job growth.

Sen. Rand Paul explained that at some point, extending unemployment benefits actually does a disservice to the recipients, because it causes them to become a part of a permanent class of unemployed; the unemployment benefits become a disincentive to employment.

In complaining about McConnell's votes, Grimes never tells us, is there ever a point at which she would vote against extending unemployment benefits? Ever? Can there never be a cut-off? If not, she is every bit as rigid, obstructionist and ideological as she accuses McConnell of being.

Grimes never addresses the fact that America borrows 40 cents of every dollar of unemployment benefits from the Chinese. That is no longer just fiscally irresponsible, but a threat to our national security.  At the very least, an extension of unemployment benefits should be matched with a cut in spending.  McConnell understands that. Grimes, apparently, does not. McConnell's vote was a sober, adult, courageous response to a bad situation caused by an inept and profligate administration, one that very much wants to see Grimes win.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bevin Underwhelmed and Underperformed

Josh Holmes, Senior Advisor to the McConnell Senate Committee '14 (and a brilliant tactician) has compared  ten years of  results of U.S. Senate races in which the incumbent was "primaried."  These races reveal that primary challengers to an incumbent senator who spend more than $1 million average 47.57 percent of the vote.

Matt Bevin's campaign has spent in excess of $3.3 million, and yet, going into Primary Election Day, he trailed McConnell by 20 points.  Even if Bevin gets a late rush of support, there is no universe in which it is possible for him to win 47 percent of the vote, despite the fact that he has spent more than three times the magic million dollar number.

 Bevin spent more than any primary challenger of an incumbent senator in the last two cycles, thanks to Senate Conservative Fund, Freedomworks, Tea Party Patriots and the Madison Project.  All those dollars spent by outside groups ended up helping the paid consultants and operatives, but did little to advance Bevin as a serious candidate. (Contributors to those organizations, you've been duped.)

Moreover, Bevin got a huge boost in name idea by the amount of media coverage of him, approximately 3.5 times more than the winner of last week's Senate primary in Nebraska, home to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid.  The coverage overstated Bevin's ability, not only as a candidate, but as an existential threat to McConnell.  Recall that Joe Gerth said that McConnell "would rather have a strangulated hernia than face Matt Bevin."  Well, sure, McConnell undoubtedly would have preferred to avoid a primary. Even still, Bevin, was more of a distraction and an annoyance, hardly comparable to a "strangulated hernia."

I will resist the temptation to compare the media predictions and assessments of Bevin at the outset with the reality of how he actually performed.  There is no point.  He is by many accounts a good father and neighbor. He says that he is a conservative, and if so, he will get behind the most conservative candidate who will be on the ballot come November, the future Senate Majority Leader:  Mitch McConnell.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Senator McConnell Campaigns At Bowman Field

Mitch and Elaine
start the day off right . . .

. . . and greet supporters.
Please note: The postings of "G. Morris", written by John K. Bush and which end in 2016, stated his views as of the dates of posting and should not be understood as current assertions of his views. The postings, which have not been altered since they came to an end, remain on this blog to preserve the historical record. In 2017, Mr. Bush took a position that precludes further public political comments or endorsements. He will no longer be contributing to this blog.

Grimes Spies Drone On

"Here's looking at you."  

Spotted at Mitch McConnell's rally at Bowman Field today
Please note: The postings of "G. Morris", written by John K. Bush and which end in 2016, stated his views as of the dates of posting and should not be understood as current assertions of his views. The postings, which have not been altered since they came to an end, remain on this blog to preserve the historical record. In 2017, Mr. Bush took a position that precludes further public political comments or endorsements. He will no longer be contributing to this blog.

Last Push For the Primary

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao met a group of supporters at Bowman Field this morning before boarding a plane to fly around the Commonwealth for one last day of campaigning before tomorrow's primary election.

Three opposition trackers filmed the send-off as McConnell  worked the crowd and waved good bye.   

Both McConnell and Chao seemed relaxed and ready to hit the stump.  The atmosphere was cheerful about the certainty of McConnell's impending win over Matt Bevin. 

Bevin has been an annoyance and a minor distraction to the McConnell campaign.  Nonetheless, the silver lining of the primary is that it gave the McConnell campaign a dry run for November -- an opportunity to refine get out the vote and ballot security initiatives.  In that regard, the McConnell campaign appears to be taking initiative that the national party and Romney campaign failed to achieve in 2012.  These efforts will not only help McConnell in November, but will also increase the odds of Republicans flipping the state House.

The most remarkable thing about the primary is that McConnell has been subjected to $4 million in negative advertising and direct mail, and yet he is better positioned now; he has maintained a 20 point lead in the primary against Bevin and improved by three points against Lundergan Grimes.  Most interestingly, the gender gap has closed by eight percent.  And with good reason:  Kentucky women -- especially mothers -- don't want to hear the Democrat fairy tale about a non-existent "war on women."  Kentucky women don't want Sandra Fluke and Nancy Pelosi talking to us about our "lady parts."

Kentucky mothers want to elect the U.S. Senator who gives us the best chance for allowing the private sector to flourish, to provide the kind of jobs to which our children aspire -- not a permanent class stuck at the minimum wage, who can only get a raise when the government so orders business.  Kentucky mothers know that Mitch McConnell is the best bet for our children being able to get good jobs, buy a home and support a family, not live in our basements and stay on our insurance plans until age 26,

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Matt Bevin's Crappy Luck Continues

It's symbolic of his whole campaign:  Matt Bevin got rear-ended by a McConnell supporter while campaigning.

It was raining hard, and Bevin inexplicably stopped his SUV on an entrance ramp while he and a friend or aid decided where to go next, when a teenaged girl rear-ended him.  As they were surveying the damage to their cars, Bevin commented on a pro-Republican bumper sticker on the girl's car. He asked who she was supporting in the U.S. Senate race and the girl replied that she was supporting McConnell.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Alison Lundergan Grimes is Wrong on Minimum Wage

Alison Lundergan Grimes's argument for increasing the minimum wage reflects the doe-eyed naivete that has characterized her campaign:  the policy she advocates would actually hurt those she purports to help.

It's as if Grimes thinks that the government can outlaw poverty by ordering businesses to give workers a raise. Why stop with just the minimum wage?  Let's give everyone in Kentucky a raise!

In Grimes's op-ed in the Courier-Journal, she makes the spectacular assertion that raising the minimum wage would create jobs, when in fact, it  would do the opposite.

Grimes's inability to grasp basic economic concepts such as the laws of supply and demand underscores that she is not ready to lead. The cost of labor is no different than the cost of raw materials.  When the cost goes up, an employer has three choices:  (1) cut the number of employees -- either by firing existing employees or declining to hire new ones; (2) cut workers' hours; or (3) pass along the increased labor costs to consumers by raising the prices for goods or services.

Grimes points out that more and more Kentuckians are working minimum wage jobs.  But that is just a function of the "Obama recovery."  The last thing that Kentucky businesses need is more government regulation making it more difficult and more expensive to survive. To the contrary, for Kentucky to attract new businesses, we need to cut taxes and regulation -- which is why Kentucky needs to flip the House.

Though she pitches her argument to Kentuckians, Grimes is advocating the national minimum wage increase that Obama has been seeking. Plainly,  Grimes and Obama are of the view that Washington knows best and one size will fit all, thereby preventing Kentucky from using our lower cost of living and lower labor costs to lure businesses here from higher labor states like New Jersey (which is reaping the disastrous effects of increasing its minimum wage).

Grimes's makes the argument that "[p]rivate-sector leaders, including Gap. Inc. and Costco, have independently raised wages for their workers, including Kentuckians right here in the commonwealth."  (Note to Grimes:  we all understand that Kentuckians, by definition, are "right here in the commonwealth." Stop treating voters like we're stupid.)  But as to her point about Gap and Costco, that  illustrates that employers can raise the minimum wage without government compulsion.  If an employer like Gap or Costco wants the best workers, it will pay more to get them.  That's how supply and demand works.

Grimes then goes own to assert that 'recent polling shows that a majority of small business owners support increasing the minimum wage."  Again, Grimes's point undercuts her argument; if a majority of business owners want to increase wages, they are free to do so.  There is no law or regulation preventing them from doing so.  And if Grimes's assertion was true, it would already have happened, and other businesses would respond in kind by similarly offering higher wages.  The reality in the age of Obamacare, however, is that businesses are struggling to keep open under its onerous costs; the last thing they need is the government mandating that the cost of production and services go up even more.

Grimes ignores that minimum wage jobs are an entree into the workforce.  They offer employment experience for young people and women who may be returning to the work force after having taken time off to raise children.  A minimum wage job offers much more than just the wage -- it is an opportunity to get a fresh line on the resume showing recent employment history, a chance to earn a reference so that one can eventually move on to a higher paying job.  An employer will be less likely to take a chance on a worker if the government forces it to pay a wage for which that worker may not be able to deliver value.

Perhaps most disturbing about Grimes's and Obama's characterization of the minimum wage is the unspoken assumption that workers will stay stuck in minimum wage jobs, permanently.  To be sure, Obama and Harry Reid have created an economy where entrepreneurs are loathe to take a risk, start a business, hire new employees. Wages are stagnant and employment is such that huge chunks of the potential workforce have simply given up looking for a job. Yet Grimes wants to go to Washington to help Obama and Reid do more of the same.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell understands that the best way help minimum wage workers is through economic growth and innovation that only comes when we cut the shackles of government regulation and taxes.  The best way to help a minimum wage worker is not by mandating a raise -- which might get that worker fired -- but by creating an economic environment whereby the minimum wage job is a first job, not a sentence for life.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

KY Republicans Need to Continue Outreach to Minorities and Youth

Thomas Solwell's column today, on How Republicans Can Win Black Votes, reminded me of a bit of progress I observed recently.

The Jefferson County Republican Party tried something different this year.  Instead of a traditional Lincoln Day dinner,  a few weeks ago it hosted a "Party for the Party," complete with a band and a nominal entrance fee. The idea was to make the event fun and relaxed.  The genius of this approach is that it drew people who would not have paid to eat rubber chicken at a Lincoln Day dinner with a bunch of old white guys who all knew each other. This kind of outreach is key to the very survival of the Republican party.

So I was encouraged at the Party for the Party by the presence of Blacks and young people (teens and early 20's).  To be sure, there were not huge numbers of either group, but the presence of any is real progress, and we cannot let political correctness stop us from acknowledging this. 

One Black woman we spoke with observed that she is sick and tired of Democrats taking for granted that African-American voters will always vote for the Democrat. She therefore appreciated the real efforts that Sen. Rand Paul has made to court the Black vote.

Paul received considerable media coverage for speeches he has given to historically-Black colleges such as Simmons College and Howard University.  In addition to those speeches, however, Paul has quietly been meeting with African-American leaders on a continual basis.  That is how Paul came to recognize the importance of restoration of voting rights for felons who have served their time. He sat down and listened, and thereby learned that it matters deeply to members of the Black community.  Then he went to Frankfort and testified for and successfully lobbied for the necessary legislation to change Kentucky's constitution. In all likelihood, restoration of felony voting will help Democrats more than Republicans, at least in the foreseeable future.  Paul understood this and pressed on anyhow, because he thought it was the right thing to do.

As Sowell notes in his column, school choice is an issue where conservative principles can transform the lives of children -- disproportionately minority children -- stuck in failing schools that the teachers' unions oppose closing. This, too, is an issue that Paul has been vocal about, calling it the "civil rights issue of our day."

School choice (vouchers) and charter schools have a chance of becoming reality in Kentucky in the near future. Republicans stand poised to gain a majority in this state House come November, for the first time in nearly a century.  The House is the last obstacle to preventing school choice, given that it only takes a simple majority to override a veto by the governor here. And maybe we will get a Republican governor in 2015; Hal Heiner has been a strong proponent of school choice for years.

As for the young people at the Jefferson County Party for the Party, Paul gets some credit for speaking to issues that they care about:  that our profligate government is saddling them with debt and also invading their privacy.  Paul's recent speech at Cal Berkely shows that he is willing to go into unfriendly territory to grow the party. (Credit must also be given to the Nate Haney and his staff at the Jefferson County Republican Party for aggressively reaching out high school students as a new source of volunteers.)

Republicans have issues that can appeal to minorities and to Millenials. The Mainstream Media are not going to make our argument for us however.  Paul's outreach and the Jeff. Co. Party for the Party remind us that we must be willing to take the message to new venues, to new voters, to be innovative and welcoming.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Photos From GOP Women's Lunch

Peggy Grande, Kelley Paul, Claudia Coffey, Cathy Bailey

Former U.S. Ambassador to Latvia, Cathy Bailey and Peggy Grande

Former Special Assistant to Ronald Reagan, Peggy Grande
Kelley Paul addresses Republican Women on so-called "War on Women"

GOP Women Want to Flip the House

Former U.S. Ambassador to Latvia Cathy Bailey hosted 70 women today to hear speeches by Kelley Paul and Peggy Grande that made us determined to elect Republicans this fall. Bailey's ability to gather, motivate and then mobilize conservative women is the key to Republicans flipping the house and reelecting Sen. McConnell. Now she has a PCA, Kentucky Rise PAC, to help do just that.

Former President Ronald Reagan's Special Assistant, Peggy Grande, gave us a glimpse on her view of Reagan in his last last ten years, up to planning and attending his funeral. As Reagan's personal photographer, she sat in on Reagan's personal meetings with world leaders such as Margaret Thatcher. Grande used her vantage point to observe the attributes that made Reagan not just a great president, but a great person.  She highlighted his authenticity, respect and optimism.  Reagan's life was organized around his love for his God, his wife and his country, Grande told the packed room.  She shared one of her favorite Reagan sayings:  "Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly. Leave the rest to God."

Just when Grande had moved us to tears and had us missing Reagan unbearably, she reminded us of these words from his farewell address:

The lesson of all this was, of course, that because we're a great nation, our challenges seem complex. It will always be this way. But as long as we remember our first principles and believe in ourselves, the future will always be ours.

And something else we learned: once you begin a great movement, there's no telling where it'll end. We meant to change a nation, and instead, we changed a world.

After Grande made us nostalgic for one of the greatest leaders of conservatism who accomplished so much, Kelley Paul reminded us of the pressing needs our country faces today -- most urgently, the need to repeal Obamacare.  Whereas Grande spoke of the past successes of conservatism, Paul evoked the future.  It made me grateful for her husband's bold and courageous leadership, and a little less bereft about Reagan's absence.

Paul (Kelley, that is) seems to get better with each speaking engagement.  A few months ago, she gave a tremendous speech to the Jefferson County Republican Party in which she essentially illustrated conservative principles -- faith, hard work, family, humility -- by telling stories about her grandmother.  It was a masterful example of showing without simply telling.

Today, Kelley focused explicitly on policy.  The speech was every bit as substantive as what Sen. Paul would give.  She blew off the "window dressing" on the supposed war on women, item by item, refuting issues like the Lilly Ledbetter "Fair Pay" Act, Obamacare, the glass ceiling. Citing her own extensive experience in advertising and the telecommunications industry -- as well as the fact that law schools and medical schools are now 50 percent female -- Paul put the lie to the Democrat fairy tale that women are victims in need of Big Government to save us from the Misogynists. She quoted her husband's observation that if there was a war on women, those number suggest women won.

Paul gave an anecdote to remind us that in stead of looking to save a $10 co-pay on birth control, women should look to see if their insurance will cover the hospitals that could save a life:  it may no longer, thanks to Obamacare.

Paul told us that Sen. Tom Coburn has lost his doctor due to Obamacare.  I knew Sen. Coburn was retiring; I did not realize that it was because his cancer has returned.  Paul pointed out that Coburn, as a member of Congress,  was forced to sign up for Obamacare.  However, M.D. Anderson -- which saved Coburn's life the first time he had cancer -- does not accept Obamacare.  Consequently, those doctors who know Coburn's history and treated him successfully before, cannot do so under his new and supposedly improved Obamacare insurance (unless Coburn wants to pay out of network, $60,000).

 It is little comfort to Coburn, Paul noted, that Coburn now has an "approved" plant that gives free birth control and diet counseling.