I went to a fundraiser for Matt Bevin last night and it has caused me to rethink my opinion of him: I was very impressed by how thoughtful and substantive his answers were to a wide range of topics. It's no secret that the guy is very bright. What I had not previously noticed, however, is how creative he is with respect to coming up with solutions to solve problems. That's an attribute that we could use more of in our elected leaders.
But what really impressed me was his temperament. This fundraiser was held at a club, and a member who may have been overserved wandered in from the bar during the event. This person asked an aggressive question about the horse industry, to which Matt politely responded. His response was not satisfactory to the questioner, who kept interrupting him, not with questions at this point, but to argue -- even getting profane. Matt was relentlessly polite and displayed no anger whatsoever. And he kept trying to address the substance of the topic all the while being yelled at and interrupted -- at his own fundraiser.
This contrasts the narrative that local political reporters have been pushing about Matt's temper and temperament.
A couple other things stood out from the evening.
I was joking with Matt about Sweaty Jack Conway's debate performance under the heat of the television lights. Matt informed that Conway was sweating profusely back stage, even before they went under the stage lights. He said that Conway appeared to be extremely nervous while awaiting for the debate to start.
How odd for someone who has served two terms as attorney general and run for Congress and U.S. Senate to be so nervous about a debate; he has more debate and campaign experience than Matt and Drew Curtis combined. It reinforces my theory that Conway does not really want to be governor; he is running out of a sense of entitled noblesse oblige.
I asked Matt to about his comment that he would appoint qualified people regardless of their party affiliation; I told him this bothered me as a conservative -- that I didn't see how he could govern as a conservative if he appointed people who do not espouse conservative principles.
Matt clarified that he would appoint qualified conservatives regardless of party affiliation. He made the point that there are still many Kentuckians who are Democrats by registration as a historical accident rather than a reflection of ideology. Someone who agrees with him ideologically -- and has the requisite expertise for a given position -- might still be a good selection notwithstanding party registration. And he indicated that in the vast majority of instances, he would likely appoint a Republican. I thought it was a good answer and it eased my doubts on the point.
Finally, I have to credit Matt with how much he as improved as a candidate. That reflects a discipline and willingness to learn, and speaks well to his ability to govern.
This race is tight. Republicans, conservative Democrats and independents who want Kentucky to be its best need to get behind Matt Bevin now.