Friday, January 29, 2016
Is it only January? We watched last night's debate and flipped back and forth to The Donald's Rally.
Marco Rubio had a terrific debate. The more I see of him, the more I like him, notwithstanding his Gang of Eight history.
This was probably Rand Paul's best debate. He looked healthy and relaxed; hopefully his neck issues have resolved. We saw more of the humor and warmth that those of us in Kentucky expect but had been missing from his earlier debates.
With regards to the Donald's rally, I was not bothered by Trump skipping the Fox Debate. He makes his own rules; that's what people like about him. His rally did seem a little like the Jerry Lewis Telathon.
How fascinating that Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee joined it. That was really astute for them to attend and for Trump to invite him. This cannot help but strengthen Trump with evangelicals.
As for Santorum and Huckabee, they know it's over. But they have issues that they care deeply about and need to promote their personal brand. Either of these gentlemen would be big assets in a cabinet.
Thursday, January 21, 2016
A new CNN/WMUR poll puts Sen. Rand Paul within the striking distance of Sen. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.
But for the continued presence of Donald Trump, it would be a real dog fight.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Reprinted with permission of the Courier-Journal:
Fox Business News’s decision to keep Sen. Rand Paul off the main debate stage in South Carolina last week manifested more of the bad luck that has dogged Paul throughout his presidential campaign.
A poll taken in the window that FBN used to determine debate participants showed Paul in fifth place: high enough for the main debate. However — through no fault of the Paul campaign — that poll result was not released until just after FBN’s cutoff.
When FBN offered Paul a spot in the “undercard debate,” he startled many by declining.
Paul then did the best he could with a bad situation by getting more interviews than he could have obtained as a debate participant.
Paul’s presidential campaign has not taken off the way many of us had hoped. That’s a disappointment, not an embarrassment.
Fifth place in a Republican field overflowing with qualified contenders, any one of whom would be better than President Barack Obama, is more than respectable, particularly given this competition.
Moreover, many presidents did not get the nomination on the first try, including Ronald Reagan.
Paul has had the supremely bad luck of running against a force of nature, Donald Trump. The Donald took Paul’s attributes as a politically incorrect outsider and applied steroids.
Regardless of what happens in Iowa or New Hampshire or who wins the nomination, Paul’s political record is still enviable.
Paul has never lost an election. He defeated a heavy favorite, Secretary of State Trey Grayson, in his primary. He eviscerated Jack “Beware of Aqua Buddha” Conway in the general election. Paul is 2 and 0 for elections.
He then went on to make the cover of Time magazine multiple times.
Paul’s impact in the U.S. Senate and on public policy generally has been outsized for a first-term senator. And at a time when the public says it wants bipartisan problem-solving, Paul has shown that it is possible, without compromising one’s principles.
For example, Paul has co-sponsored legislation with Sen. Cory Booker on criminal justice reform, And he has co-sponsored with Sen. Kristin Gillibrand legislation to improve access to justice for victims of rape in the military.
Paul’s voting attendance record in the Senate is near perfect (94 percent) despite his presidential campaign.
One of my favorite things about Kentucky is that because we are a small state, we have many opportunities to interact with our leaders. This is true not just for rich donors; anyone who wants to become involved in his or her party can volunteer and know our candidates in short order.
For those who are not political, it’s still easy to meet our elected leaders at Rotary Cluband Chamber of Commerce events and the like. Indeed, Paul continues to appear at town halls across the commonwealth notwithstanding his presidential campaign and Senate roll calls.
Paul went to Ashland to discuss the effect of high corporate taxes on steel industry jobs. He has fought downsizing for Fort Campbell and Fort Knox. He is looking out for what the Department of Energy does to the Paducah site. He has visited Corbin to discuss the heroin epidemic, visited small businesses in the West End of Louisville and traveled to Pikeville to witness the devastation the Obama administration has wrought against the coal industry.
And in his down time, he performs cataract surgery, pro bono.
Those who suggest that Paul’s presidential run will hinder his Senate reelection — that Kentuckians will punish him for a failed presidential run — ignore this reality.
Many Kentucky voters have met Paul. We’ve personally taken his measure. We’ve seen his sense of humor, his intellect, his respect for the Constitution and his love of liberty.
Nor will Kentucky Republicans punish Paul for requesting (and initially financing) our upcoming caucus on March 5.
For the first time, Kentucky has a voice in the presidential primary by awarding delegates before any candidate has passed the threshold necessary for nomination.
Eleven Republican presidential candidates have each paid $15,000 to participate; what was supposed to be a huge drain on the Republican Party of Kentucky may be a money maker.
One hundred and eleven of 120 Kentucky counties will have caucus locations; those voters residing outside counties with caucus locations will have only a short drive to a nearby county to participate. This grassroots effort will help the Republican Party get data and volunteers. It cannot help but strengthen local parties and lay the way to get out the vote when it’s time to flip the House this November.
It’s going to be a day for Kentucky Republicans to reconnect and to welcome new registrants and volunteers to the party. There will not be any backlash against Paul for requesting the caucus, regardless of the outcome.
Running for president, or any office, takes guts. Good for Rand for putting himself out there.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
The best thing about President Obama's State of the Union: it was his last. We won't have to listen to his smug, condescending humble-bragging a year from now! That truly is cause for joy.
I was curious to see if my dear husband would be able to stay awake for the entirety of the speech. Nope. As with the seven State of the Union speeches that preceded last night, Obama lulled him to sleep in a matter of minutes.
Donald Trump was correct: it was an incredibly boring speech.
Thursday, January 7, 2016
My apologies for not posting this earlier -- by Courier-Journal column from last week on why I am hopeful for the future of Kentucky.
This New Year’s Eve, Kentuckians aren’t singing the same “Auld Lang Syne.” The inauguration of Gov. Matt Bevin began a new song for our old Kentucky home.
Bevin eloquently delivered the first verse with his inaugural address. But what was most striking was his statement that he would be a praying governor — an acknowledgment that a man’s rhetoric alone cannot do the job.
Clearly, Bevin is intelligent; he gave a polished, 35-minute address with no notes. And he has surrounded himself with bright, well-qualified people.
All of that is necessary, but it’s not enough, and Bevin knows this. Prayer and discernment can provide the wisdom and courage that Bevin needs to move Kentucky forward. I am grateful that he recognizes the need for prayer.
We should pray for him, his new administration, and our Commonwealth. Indeed, we should lift up all our elected officials in prayer; those we like the least perhaps need it the most.
At the inauguration, Rabbi Joe Rooks Rapport read from scripture about Solomon: “Grant your servant an understanding heart.” As the Rev. Bob Russell explained, “There’s a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is horizontal – it’s the accumulation of facts about this world. Wisdom is vertical. It sees life from God’s perspective. It is the practical application of facts to everyday life. Knowledge impresses man, but wisdom pleases God."
Given the problems our Commonwealth faces, we need leaders who seek wisdom from “God’s perspective.”
With respect to “horizontal knowledge,” it was encouraging that Gov.
Steve Mike Pence from Indiana attended Bevin’s inauguration. Like Tennessee, Indiana has surged past Kentucky for some time, just as Indianapolis and Nashville have left Louisville behind. Pence is building on the renaissance of Indiana that former Gov. Mitch Daniels began with the application of conservative policies. “Mitch the Knife’s” record in Indiana was so stunning that many Republicans wanted him to run for president.
Completion of the new Ohio River bridges raises the specter of Kentucky jobs moving across the river to Indiana in search of a friendlier business climate. Bevin’s election, therefore, comes just in time.
How refreshing and reassuring then to have our new governor promise to learn from Indiana, calling it “a model that we are going to copy. I am not above copying what other people are doing well.”
Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton’s historic election also bodes well for the future of Kentucky.
Progressives complain that Kentucky is turning red because voters here dislike Obama due to racism. It’s true that Kentuckians overall oppose Obama. It’s also true that Democrats’ electoral fortunes here are in a freefall alongside Obama’s approval rating. But not due to racism, as Hampton’s presence on the ticket and election well demonstrate
Hampton emphasized at the inauguration that she will not be tied to her desk. I hope that she builds upon Sen. Rand Paul’s efforts to reach out to minorities – followed up by the Jefferson County Republican Party’s opening an office in west Louisville. Hampton’s election should affirm and energize those important efforts.
Let’s not lose sight of the purpose of those efforts. It would be great to grow the Republican party and make the 3rd Congressional District competitive again. But it is essential to improve the quality of life through conservative solutions that empower Kentuckians to escape poverty.
That’s why conservatives have long favored school choice – so that parents who cannot afford places like Oldham County are not stuck sending their children to failing schools.
Bevin’s “Team of Rivals” appointment of Hal Heiner as secretary of Education and Workforce Development suggests that school choice finally will become a reality, given Heiner’s passion and expertise on the issue. This is long overdue.
Bevin noted at his inauguration that Kentucky “is one of seven states where there is no competition for public education dollars. That is going to end. We are not doing as well as we could be.” Bevin promised that “we're going to start to bring school choice to the state of Kentucky, and we will let the momentum carry forward because we owe nothing less to our young people.”
2016 will be the year that Kentucky Republicans flip the House. The sooner Republicans have a majority, the faster Bevin can make the changes necessary to catch up with — and surpass — surrounding states that have been luring away Kentucky jobs.
Not the same old song, but rather, as Bevin put it, “a fresh start together, as one Kentucky. Black, white, rural, urban, Democrat, Republican, Independent, people who come from both ends of the socio-economic spectrum, male, female, young and old alike. This is our Kentucky, this is our time. This is our opportunity.”
Bridget Bush is a Louisville attorney and founder of Elephants in the Bluegrass blog. Her column appears every third Wednesday in the Courier-Journal.