Saturday, May 31, 2008

Save Gas and Money: Discover Kentucky's Great Outdoors

If you haven't yet discovered Kentucky's superb State Resort Parks, high gas prices and a new incentive program mean you no longer have any excuse.

June is officially Great Outdoors Month in Kentucky, the latest part of the Department of Tourism's "Discover Your Own Backyard" promotion.

Whether visiting some of our thousands of miles of shoreline, one of our 53 state parks or simply watching Kentucky’s abundant wildlife, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy about the Commonwealth’s outdoors.

This proclamation also allows for an increased focus on two key issues surrounding the outdoors in Kentucky: conservation and promoting a healthier state for all.

“In order to make sure our outdoor areas and natural habitats are preserved for our children and grandchildren, immediate action must be taken. Through initiatives such as the Governor’s Green Team led by Mrs. Beshear and conservation efforts from Paducah to Prestonsburg, we will be able to maintain the innate beauty of our rivers, hills and trails across the state,” said Governor Beshear.

“Kentucky has some of the most diverse and abundant outdoor lands in the United States,” said Lieutenant Governor Mongiardo. “By encouraging Kentuckians to explore these lands, stay active and find a recreational endeavor that they enjoy, we will be using our resources to help increase physical activity and subsequently decrease numerous health problems facing us today.”

Great Outdoors Month will be highlighted by many events across the state, including multiple group hikes, bicycle rides and events at state nature preserves.

To find out more, and register for daily prizes and the Grand Prize, go to My Kentucky Backyard.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Republican Sacrifice

You can always tell a repug. They're the ones who take the money budgeted for providing health care to impoverished little children and spend it on big-screen plasma TVs for their newly renovated offices.

Media Czech asks: Can we please start raising hell about this?


(John Cheves of the Herald Leader) exposes David Williams for the heartless buffoon that he is. As our budget is being sliced and diced: education, college tuition, public defender funds, special needs hospitals, keep going down the list... what are we spending possibly up to $1.4 million on:

The Kentucky Senate is renovating its offices at the state Capitol Annex in Frankfort, while public health programs, law enforcement, education and other state services face more cuts.

On Tuesday, the state requested bids for construction on the Annex’s second floor, to build new Senate offices, caucus rooms with kitchens, a press conference room and a Senate lounge.

The 5,250 square feet of space previously was used by executive branch agencies, which are slowly being evicted as the General Assembly claims more space in the Annex. New furniture, appliances and electronics will be purchased.

Senate President David Williams said he won’t know the project’s cost until bids are opened next week. But lawmakers can afford it.While the legislature this winter told Gov. Steve Beshear to cut $230 million from the executive branch’s $9.1 billion budget, it awarded itself 13 percent more over two years, taking it up to $55.6 million in 2010. It tucked about $1.4 million for capital projects into this year’s budget.

“We wish the 52,000 children eligible for health insurance coverage through KCHIP, but not enrolled because of inadequate funds, would receive the same level of attention as the 5,250 square feet of Senate office space now being renovated,” said Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. “The emphasis on these self-serving projects over the needs of real people is sadly becoming the norm.”

And can we start repeating this Williams quote over and over and over again?

Williams denied that state budget cuts are inflicting real pain. “We’re in relatively good shape with our state budget compared to what some other state governments are going through,” Williams said. Regarding the Health and Family Services Cabinet and the Justice Cabinet, both of which are reporting sweeping program cuts, he said, “You’re talking about people who you couldn’t print enough money for. I don’t accept the premise that they’re cutting anything to the bone.

”As for the Senate’s office improvements, Williams said, “You could go through a lot of things (in the state budget) and ask ‘Is this proper?’ or ‘Is that proper?’ But it’s in the budget for the legislature, and it needs to be done. ... We can’t shut down the legislature or fail to maintain the premises we have.”

Yes, because the legislature will shut down if you don't have your 60 inch plasma TV in your office and a luxurious Senate lounge.

Some of the into-the-bone basic-services cuts rumored to be under consideration by state agencies, but not yet announced, include:

  • Releasing non-violent felons from state prisons
  • Shutting down field services in rural counties, including child protection, health inspections and benefits assistance for seniors and veterans
  • Closing major facilities, including juvenile centers and nursing homes

But I'm sure abused kids, local police, homebound elders, disabled veterans and restaurant patrons are happy to sacrifice themselves so that the republican "leadership" of the Kentucky Senate can watch Britney Spears shake her tits in hi-def.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My City's Footprint is Bigger Than Your City's Footprint

Take that, Los Angeles! You think your traffic's sooooo special - HA! Lexington, Kentucky's traffic is so bad that it's given the Horse Capitol of the Universe the biggest carbon footprint of any city in the country.

Lexington may be the smallest of the 100 biggest American cities, but it's got the most humongousest carbon footprint of them all. Bigger than LA's, bigger than New York's, bigger even than oil-smothered Houston's.

And of course bigger (though just a little) than that Ohio River upstart, Louisville.

So all you anti-development, Webb-Brothers-hating, bicycle-riding, suburb-condescending, mass-transit-begging snivelers can just shut up with the I-told-you-sos. If Lexington had paid attention to your complaining the last 20 years, today Lexington might have only the 50th biggest carbon footprint, or even be hiding its face among the cities with teeny, tiny carbon footprints. The poor things.

Instead, Lexington is mentioned on the front page of major metropolitan dailies all over the country as the worst - I mean biggest - of them all.

Taylor Shelton at GreenKY discusses why the Bluegrass is so un-green, and you can read the Brookings Report and check out your own city's ranking here.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

No Lawyer For You!

Unless you've got a hundred grand stashed away in a private lawyer fund, better watch your ass.

Catastrophic budget cuts are forcing Kentucky's public defenders to refuse all but the most serious cases.

In a letter to judges released Wednesday, public advocate Ernie Lewis warned that public defenders will begin refusing certain types of cases starting July 1 as a result of the $2.3 million budget cut approved this spring by the General Assembly.

Lewis said the Department of Public Advocacy cannot afford to fill about 40 vacancies. With caseloads already at unethically high levels, Lewis said, public defenders cannot take on additional cases.

"The dilemma that now exists is that the Commonwealth of Kentucky is obligated to provide counsel to poor people charged with crimes, but the legislature has failed to fund that obligation," Lewis wrote. "DPA will assert that the solution to this is for courts to enter orders requiring the Commonwealth to pay for private counsel."

Public defenders will continue to represent poor people charged with felonies, but will reject a huge swath of lower-profile cases.

If you need but can't afford a lawyer to help you get a restraining order against an abuser, or stop your landlord from evicting you, or defend yourself against false charges that could land you in jail for a year, you're shit out of luck.

Lewis warned judges of several service cuts, the first since 1991, that will begin July 1:

• Funding will be eliminated for contract lawyers for 3,000 to 5,000 conflict-of-interest cases. These are cases in which there is more than one defendant; the DPA contracts with other lawyers so it is not representing both clients.

• The DPA will stop representing family court cases, which involve domestic violence and failure to pay child support.

• The DPA will withdraw from status offender cases, those involving children charged with running away from home, unable to be controlled by their parents or being truant.

• It will pull out of civil commitment cases, in which the state is trying to force a mentally ill person into an institution.

• It will refuse Class B misdemeanors (crimes with punishment of no more than six months in jail), some Class A misdemeanors (which carry punishment of up to one yea in jail) and probation and parole violations.

The DPA employs 350 lawyers and handled 148,518 cases last year.

Denying basic Constitutional rights to everyone who's not rich and powerful is a long-standing republican tactic, of course, but in this case, the governor whose budget incorporated these unconscionable cuts is Steve Beshear.


Shame on you, sir.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bush's Big Summer Blockbuster: Attack on Iran

No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.
--Lily Tomlin

Why haven't you heard about this? The least-conspiratorial reason is that the story's in the Asia Times, not Dana Perino's briefing book.

NEW YORK - The George W Bush administration plans to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months, an informed source tells Asia Times Online, echoing other reports that have surfaced in the media in the United States recently.

Two key US senators briefed on the attack planned to go public with their opposition to the move, according to the source, but their projected New York Times op-ed piece has yet to appear.

The source, a retired US career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community, speaking anonymously, said last week that the US plans an air strike against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The air strike would target the headquarters of the IRGC's elite Quds force. With an estimated strength of up to 90,000 fighters, the Quds' stated mission is to spread Iran's revolution of 1979 throughout the region.


A US air strike on Iran would have seismic impact on the presidential race at home, but it's difficult to determine where the pieces would fall.

At first glance, a military attack against Iran would seem to favor McCain. The Arizona senator says the US is locked in battle across the globe with radical Islamic extremists, and he believes Iran is one of biggest instigators and supporters of the extremist tide. A strike on Iran could rally American voters to back the war effort and vote for McCain.

On the other hand, an air strike on Iran could heighten public disenchantment with Bush administration policy in the Middle East, leading to support for the Democratic candidate, whoever it is.

But an air strike will provoke reactions far beyond US voting booths. That would explain why two veteran senators, one Republican and one Democrat, were reportedly so horrified at the prospect.

Read the whole thing for all the details on administration denials, Senate machinations, how Iran will respond and all the fun that starts when Iran's ally China gets involved.

h/t Salon commenter El Cid.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

The Company He Keeps

Forget nutcase preachers Hagee and Parsley - the republican presidential nominee has a much more serious problem associate.

What on earth is John McCain doing embracing as his BFF someone who is:

  • a Vietnam War draft-resister
  • a liberal super-dove whose first book equated America and the Soviet Union as equally dangerous to peace
  • a man who less than 10 years ago embraced Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and eagerly proposed talking - with no preconditions?

Who is this McCain buddy and why aren't conservatives condemning him as an un-American traitor?

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bruce Ditching Mitch? Don't Count On It

As fun as it is to watch everybody go nuts over this Rasmussen poll that shows Democratic nominee Bruce Lunsford beating Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell by five points, I have to throw cold water on this premature and unwarranted celebration.

Ain't gonna happen.

Even if it were gonna happen, a poll five months before the general election wouldn't tell you anything about it.

Bruce Lunsford won the Democratic primary last Tuesday. Today's poll reflects a primary bump from the heavy coverage the primary campaign and Lunsford's victory received in both the MSM and the blogosphere.

Remember that Mitch McConnell was a severe underdog in 1984 when he set out to upset secure sitting Senator Dee Huddleston. McConnell was almost laughed out of the state when his ads first aired. Featuring a pack of bloodhounds sniffing through the U.S. Capitol, "searching" for the often-absent Huddleston, they were dismissed as ridiculous by political professionals.

It was only later, after the comical but viciously effective attack ads worked, that political pros praised and copied them.

To win this race in a landslide, Mitch needs to run one ad. Just one. It'll show Bruce Lunsford embracing Barack Obama. Even if it's a photo-shopped fake.

No, of course it didn't work in Mississippi; Democrats in Mississippi love Obama 61-37. In Kentucky, they hate him, 30-66. Here, it'll work.

The only thing that will save Lunsford from dying by that ad is if he denounces Obama now, denounces Obama loud, and keeps on denouncing Obama at the top of his lungs every day from now until November 4.

However, such Obama-hating will guarantee that the anti-Lunsford Democrats whom Lunsford needs to win this election, and who for the moment are willing to hold their noses and actually vote for Bruce in order to get rid of Mitch, will change their minds and sit this one out.

Don't get me wrong. I believe strongly that Obama will have great coattails in November and will provide the margin of victory to scores of down-ticket Democrats throughout the country who would have lost under a different presidential candidate.

But Kentucky's Senate race is a hat-trick for republicans: a Democratic Senate candidate purely hated by half his state party, led by a Democratic presidential candidate hated by two-thirds of his state party, up against a meaner-than-a-snake national power-broker with more than enough money to buy every spare minute of TV time in the state for the next five months.

There is no scenario, including a Democratic tsunami that takes out almost every Republican incumbent in the nation, that permits a Lunsford victory.

Ain't gonna happen.

But if you must have a ray of hope, that depressing prediction comes from the same person who predicted Clinton would win Kentucky by less than 10 points.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Voter Fraud Fraud

As Kentuckians prepare to vote tomorrow, it's a good time to look more closely at the very real national GOP effort to stop Democrats from voting.

Josh Marshall, who recently won the prestigous George Polk Award for Talking Points Memo's exclusive exposure of the U.S. Attorney's scandal, brings us up to speed on the latest bamboozlement. I trust he will forgive me for quoting his post in full, as every word is critical.

For TPM's full coverage of the Voter Fraud Fraud, go here.

Since its inception, TPM has been chronicling the Republican party's efforts to push bogus or wildly exaggerated claims of vote fraud to suppress voting among predominantly Democratic constituencies like the old, the poor and the non-white. And here we have another installment from the GOP vote fraud bamboozlement file.

Two years ago Texas' Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott declared war on what he claimed was rampant vote fraud in Texas. He set up a special vote fraud unit and got a $1.4 million grant from the feds for the work.

Now, two years on, courtesy of the Dallas Morning News, we have a run-down of what Abbot came up with -- 26 cases.

The details tell the story: All 26 cases involved Democrats, and almost were either blacks or Hispanics.

Of the 26, 8 appear to have been genuine cases of fraud, two of which were cases of people actually casting fraudulent ballots, as opposed to bogus registrations.

The remaining 18 cases all involved eligible voters casting legitimate mail-in ballots. The 'fraud' was that others collected the ballots and deposited them in mailboxes without putting their own name and address on the envelope in which the mail-in ballot was sent. These latter instances were almost all cases involving elderly or disabled voters who could not easily mail their own mail-in ballots. In other words, the great majority of the cases in his meager haul were technical violations that non-politicized prosecutor's offices most likely never would have pursued.

The final verdict is one that will be familiar to anyone who's followed this on-going scam. Claims of widespread vote fraud justify big investigations, which more or less transparently target minorities, and find at most a handful of actual cases of wrongdoing.

No one denies there are isolated cases of vote fraud. The question is how organized and widespread it is, whether it's affecting the outcomes of any actual elections, and whether (depending on the answers to those questions) whether the extent of the problem justifies measures which also have the effect of making it either more difficult or more perilous for eligible voters to exercise their rights at the ballot box. The fact that these politicized and morally corrupt prosecutors offices can't come up with more than a trivial number of actual cases makes the answer to the question pretty straightforward.

Remember the larger context too. In the case of the US Attorney firings, most of the dismissals targeted prosecutors who refused to use the power of their office to advance the interests of the Republican party by engaging in these kinds of witch hunts.

Not surprisingly, Abbot is also pushing for a new law in Texas to require photo IDs to be allowed to vote -- the latest gambit to try to shave a few percentage points off voter participation among the targeted groups.

Nor should we forget that President Bush just spent five months in a stand-off with the senate over his efforts to put the country's top voter-suppression guru, Hans von Spakovsky, on the FEC.

Late Update: TPM Reader GS points out that the Texas Observer had a really good piece on Abbott's shenanigans back in April. Give it a look.

So when you approach the poll worker tomorrow, and show the driver's license that Kentucky law demands as proof you are worthy of the opportunity to vote, remember all your indigent, homeless, elderly, disabled and just plain eccentric fellow American citizens who are barred from voting because the fascists in the General Assembly don't think they deserve to vote.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Vote-Movers: Winning Back the Blue Dogs

A piece in the nation offers insight into one of the fundamental philosophical/political questions of the century:

Are Blue Dog Democrats evil or just stupid?

Te-Ping Chen and Christopher Hayes propose that Blue Dogs (aka DINOs) may just be unable to tell the difference between an opinion poll and election results.

Grover Norquist hit upon one of my abiding obsessions in politics, the difference between what issues people respond to in polls and what they actually vote on.

In describing the nature of the center-right coalition he said that all the different groups that make it up have their own "vote-moving issue," the thing that gets them to the polls, motivates them to make phone calls and give money. It's important, Norquist said, to understand "the difference between intensity and preference." That is, between issues that move people's actual votes, and what preferences they might express in polls. He noted that 70% Republicans are skeptical of free trade but, "they don't vote on that issue, so at one level I don't care."

Same with the growth of government under Bush. Since each constituency in the Republican coalition has gotten what it wants on its "vote-moving issues" (judges, assault weapons, tax cuts), they tolerate increased spending even if they don't like it. "Thank you very much for my vote-moving issue and grumble, grumble, you spend too much," they say according to Norquist. But "'spend too much' doesn't make people walk out of the room, it doesn't make people throw heavy objects."

Democrats have a tendency to look at polls and see vast majorities that support all kinds of things from higher minimum wages, to universal healthcare to campaign finance reform, but fail to recognize that very few of these issues are vote-movers. That doesn't mean they can't be turned into vote-movers through organizing and movement building, but on a lot of the most important issues we're not quite there yet.

The worst example of mistaking preference for intensity is on the issue of "fiscal responsibility." Tune into CSPAN at random and you're likely to hear a Democrat railing against fiscal irresponsibility and the budget deficit. The worst offenders are the Blue Dog caucus of Democrats from conservative districts who are positively obsessed, with a kind of monomaniacal zeal, on balancing the budget and matching revenue to expenditures. So much so, in fact, that they're now threatening to block Jim Webb's excellent G.I. Bill because its expenses aren't adequately off-set.

This is asinine. The notion that it will somehow be politically beneficial to go back to a conservative district and crow about killing a bill to give educational benefits to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan is loony. And the notion that voters will base their vote on fiscal rectitude is ungrounded both empirically and experientially. Can someone name the last time a member of congress was voted out of office because the deficit was too large?

Blue Dog/DINOs misunderstand the vote-mover concept on more issues than just "fiscal responsibility." And I suspect that some of them really do grasp the concept and just delight in driving the congressional leadership crazy.

But when lobbying your local Blue Dog on an issue, distinguishing voter preference from voter intensity might just tip the decision your way.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Kentucky Primary Will Determine the Future of the Primary

On Thursday, four former Kentucky governors endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton in Tuesday's presidential primary.

There are, however, six living former Democratic governors in Kentucky, and one of the two who have not endorsed Clinton is Martha Layne Collins, Kentucky's only female governor. The other is Brereton Jones, who is the one of the six who is closest to current governor Steve Beshear.

None of which matters to the presidential primary, but all of which matters a great deal to the outcome of the current battle for the Kentucky Democratic Party.

Stephen Shepard started off the speculation on BlueGrassRoots with a plea for Beshear and Kentucky's other super delegates to unite the party by endorsing Barack Obama.

Obama represents the future: a new kind of post-partisan politics that could be revolutionary for Kentucky. After yet another gridlocked legislative session, this is exactly the kind of change in tone that Kentucky must emulate.


If Beshear wishes to lead Kentucky to a progressive future, then he must take a stand and stop this inward firing squad, uniting our Democratic party under a common banner. Let our Kentucky motto become our rallying cry: United We Stand, Divided We Fall.

Media Czech at Barefoot and Progressive called on Beshear to use an Obama endorsement to break away from the Jerry Lundergan-led Loser Faction of the state democratic party.

Whereas the Lundergan-Governors John Y. Brown and Paul Patton are falling in line between the eventual-loser Hillary Clinton, there is a great opportunity for Steve Beshear to step away from the old guard of Lundercrooks and take a step towards the future of the Democratic Party: Barack Obama.

Many have credited the failure of the current legislative session to Beshear surrounding himself with the old guard Democrats. Wouldn't it send a great message if he turned his back on this crowd and joined the new vanguard of Democrats along with John Yarmuth, Ben Chandler and Dan Mongiardo?

How about it Steve? Would you like to join and score big points with the new wave of Democrats all over this state that reject the Lundergan-era Good ole' boys?

And Ben Ray of What's Required Kentucky clarifies what's at stake.

There are two groups of democrats in Kentucky, and they’re silently doing nothing less than fighting over the soul of the Kentucky Democratic Party–on one hand, you have Lundergan and his old guard, ready to run conservative Democrats all over the state again, and let the RPK resume running us into the ground. The Democrats that depend on party machinery. The Democrats that, when called on to turn out for their presidential candidate, couldn’t muster 1,000 people on a Friday night.

Then there’s the younger generation. The Democrats still seeking a voice in the party. The Democrats that will proudly run on a progressive platform, because they know that even if the voters disagree with them, the respect they earn can win votes in a hostile district. The Democrats that are mastering organizing themselves outside of the party patronage machine, because the machine won’t stand up for what they believe in. The Democrats that, when they knew their candidate was coming to town, showed up on a Monday afternoon in numbers so overwhelming that they had to be turned away by the thousands.

There are more of the first type of Democrats. But they’ve already lost their battle– Hillary Clinton will not, despite the political firepower on her Kentucky Steering Committee, win the nomination. She may lose it right here in the Bluegrass. And so, our uncommitted superdelegates have a choice: they can back a losing candidate, and show that they’re still in the shadow of the party of old, still taking orders from Jerry Lundergan despite his no longer holding the chair, and deal a dangerous blow to the active base of the party…or…they can step out of the shadow. They can complete the break from the horror of machine politics. They can lead the party.

This is, ultimately, what superdelegates are for– when the people are making a bad decision, they can step out from the crowd and make clear that they believe in something different. Something better. To let the vote determine your actions as a superdelegate, as a leader of your party, is not only a cop-out, it’s intellectually lazy. Governor Beshear, Mrs. Moore, Mr. Smith, you have a duty to the KDP to lead us, not merely go along with with the popular opinion because it’s the safe and expedient thing to do. You know what you have to do.

Since Wednesday, there has been a huge CNN truck parked in front of the Kentucky capitol. We hear the CNN folks were not pleased to discover that the Governor is on vacation this week and won't be available for interviews until Monday.

So they've been interviewing everybody they can find with something to say about Senator Clinton's likely plans after winning Kentucky on Tuesday, even though nobody really knows anything.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kentucky's Turn in the Spotlight

Kentucky's not West Virginia, but it might be Indiana.

Meaning that Senator Clinton's not getting any 40-point win here, but Senator Obama's highly unlikely to win, either.

The Herald-Leader's Kentucky poll has Clinton up 58 to 31, but fails to mention that 27-point lead is down from a 36-point lead a month ago. The poll also has McCain easily winning Kentucky in November, which is probably but not guaranteed. None of McCain's poll numbers mean anything until the Democrats start campaigning against him in earnest.

Statewide Obama canvassing started last night from 48 locations across the Commonwealth, including my own not-very-significant county. Obama has also launched two television and two radio adds to air statewide before the 20th.

The ads, which include two TV spots – “President” and “Service” – as a well as two new radio ads – one featuring Congressman Ben Chandler and the second featuring Kentucky Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo – highlight Sen. Obama’s uniquely American story, his upbringing by a single mother and his grandparents from Kansas, and his commitment to family, our nation, and his Christian faith.

Yes, the primary is over and we have our nominee, but the long primary season has allowed Obama to campaign in every state in the union - a huge advantage for the general election in November. And even though we know our votes don't really matter this time, we've got actual presidential candidates campaigning here as if they did. And that's huge.

Stephen George in LEO provides a nice contrast of Clinton's corpse of a campaign versus the youthful energy of Obama's Kentucky effort. (h/t Page One.)

Meanwhile, Ben Chandler's Sixth District constituents are severely pissed off that Obama made a public appearance in Louisville but not in Lexington. That Obama could not be bothered to play a little Horse with the UK Wildcats in the Basketball Capital of the Universe really stings.

We understand that Oregon is a better bet for Obama's limited time, but if Bill can stump for his wife in Kentucky this week, why can't we have Michelle?

Ryan Alessi claims the candidates' tone has mellowed, which I'll believe the minute Clinton announces that Obama is the better candidate, is the candidate more likely to beat McCain, and will make a far better president than she ever could.

Obama and Clinton have each given one speech in Kentucky this month and both were focused largely on unifying the party and replacing the Republicans in the White House.

"There may be some bruised feelings and people may be frustrated ... but Democrats are going to be unified," Obama said in Louisville Monday night, which could be his only stop in Kentucky after he cancelled a Tuesday stop in Lexington to return to Washington for Senate votes.

Obama argued that the protracted race has had some benefits to the party. "First of all, this long contest has meant that every person across this country has had a chance to vote," he said.

It's raining in Kentucky right now, and supposed to keep raining right through Monday. But the long-range forecast shows partly sunny skies for the primary on Tuesday. Should mean a big turnout.

Page One's taking bets on the Obama-Clinton race in Kentucky, so I'll give it a whirl:

Clinton 53, Obama 43, Edwards/Uncommitted 4. Obama takes the 3rd (Louisville) and 6th (Lexington) Districts, Clinton the 1st (West), 2nd, 4th (North) and 5th, with her biggest margin in the 2nd (West-Central) and smallest in the 5th (East.)

And if you haven't seen the Appalachia-loves-Hillary map yet, Josh Marshall has a great analysis.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Obama Rocks Louisville

I was cool, man. Jaded Political Observer. No screaming, just observing. Cool. Right up until about one minute into Obama's speech, when he asked who in the crowd had seen him at the rally he headlined at Slugger Field in 2006.

"I was there, Barack! I was there! I knew then that you'd be President!"

Who is that silly nut screaming? Oh, shit, it's me.

And not just me. Page One started out hitting the campaign hard for abusing local press, but in the end couldn't maintain the snark for which it is so famous. Listen, if Obama can reach Page One's idealistic heart (it has one?), he can do anything.

Also, please accept my apologies for lack of snark. The energy of the crowd was just too great to be too bitchy and funny.

Ben at WhatsRequired has the best coverage/commentary so far.

Ben speculated about the buses brought in from Pike County to fill the riser behind the stage, but I was in that section, and here's how it got filled:

As we approached the doors, a guide drew us out of line and pointed us to another guide who asked if we wanted to sit behind Obama (you know, in the section that gets on national tee-vee.) Our stunned expressions answered him. We got special yellow wrist ribbons that passed us through the crowd and into the backstage section. The less-than-professional performance of the people holding the "Louisville for Obama" letter cards persuades me that everyone back there was a lucky volunteer just like us.

There were Obama volunteers every 10 feet, and they were not only smiling, friendly and helpful, but with the arrival of each new group, they applauded and shouted "Thank you for coming!" I paid $250 to see Bill Clinton last year and didn't get any thanks. Thank you. For a free event. These people have class.

At 6 p.m, an hour after the doors opened, the line had completely encircled the very large Convention Center block and headed down Jefferson toward West Fifth.

The vendors with Obama gear working the line were almost outnumbered by the Fischer volunteers distributing stickers and anti-Lunsford flyers. Not a single Lunsford supporter that I could see. Maybe they think the Courier-Journal's endorsement was enough. A tiny blonde Jefferson District Court candidate whose name I didn't catch was there in person, gamely shaking hands and asking for votes.

At least 8,000 people were there, about 10 times the number who showed up for Senator Clinton Friday night. That was the biggest, loudest and most diverse crowd Ben Chandler has ever addressed, and certainly the biggest star he's every warmed up for.

I made a new friend of someone who overheard me booing when Ben Chandler was introduced, and laughingly admonished me, "Give him credit, he's learning."

Obama the Mama: Twice during his speech, people in front of the podium fainted, and Obama immediately called paramedics to their location. He kept close watch on them - "Give her room, anybody have some juice?, she's OK," and advised everyone: "When you come to a long rally like this, you've got to eat first!"

Lots of kids - I couldn't help but imagine how they would tell this story to their own kids some day.

Obama spoke for 40 minutes, then walked around shaking hands for another 20. I got within one person of shaking his hand, but the guy in front of me had his four-year-old daughter on his shoulders and I just couldn't make myself push past him.

This post originally placed the 2006 rally at Papa John's stadium when it was, in fact, at Slugger Field.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Obama Gets Big Eastern Kentucky Endorsement

Barack Obama has long been the favored candidate of the Golden Triangle, yuppies in Louisville and Lexington being his base. Endorsements from Louisville Congressman John Yarmuth and Lexington Congressman Ben Chandler just locked up Central Kentucky for Obama.

But the Golden Triangle is easy for any Democratic Presidential nominee. It's Eastern and Western Kentucky voters who can kill a Democrat running statewide.

Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo, an Eastern Kentucky native and former state senator from Hazard, knows that better than anyone. In 2004, he was beating incumbent republican Senator Jim Bunning 59 minutes after the polls closed in Eastern and Central Kentucky. Then the polls closed in Western Kentucky. In a hour, Mongiardo dropped from winning by four to losing by one.

Obama can't win Kentucky in November without big-name endorsements from Eastern and Western Kentucky.

Saturday, he got the former.

"I am happy to announce my endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President," said Lt. Gov. Mongiardo. "I believe Senator Obama can unite the Democratic Party and build a coalition of Independents and Republicans to win in November. A proven leader at working across the partisan aisle, he will bring relief to the hardworking families of Kentucky and a responsible end to the war in Iraq. As a surgeon I am particularly impressed with Senator Obama's plan to deliver health care to all Americans, with an imperative focus on cutting medical costs for all families. It's time for real change in Washington, and Sen. Obama is the candidate to deliver that change."

Mongiardo is not a super delegate, but Governor Steve Beshear (a Western Kentucky native) is.

Beshear will serve as a superdelegate at the Democratic National Convention in August but hasn't announced which Democratic presidential candidate he will support.

Mongiardo, a former state senator from Hazard, is the second key adviser to Beshear to back Obama. Beshear's chief of staff, Jim Cauley, ran Obama's successful 2004 run for U.S. Senate in Illinois.

The last three Kentucky super delegates who have not endorsed are Beshear, state party chair Jennifer Moore and party elder Terry McBrayer.

Supposedly they're waiting until after the May 20 primary, but by then they'll be irrelevant.

Friday night, Senator Clinton was the headliner at the big Kentucky Democratic Party fundraiser in Louisville. On Friday morning, the KDP was sending out desperate emails offering $50 tickets for free and begging people to just show up.

Tomorrow night, Barack Obama will be at a free event in Louisville. If he fills the room Clinton couldn't, will that be enough to sway Beshear?

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Race to Challenge Mitch McConnell: Ficher's endorsements

With nine days left and still 19 points down, Kentucky Democratic Senate Primary candidate Greg Fischer has picked up the endorsement of the state's second-largest (but best) newspaper, the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Vote Fischer in Senate primary: Newcomer offers fresher voice, less baggage than Lunsford
Greg Fischer wants the chance to unseat McConnell this fall. Seven Democrats are seeking the opportunity to run against Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell this fall, but just two of the candidates have a legitimate shot at winning their party's nomination in the May 20 primary.

Greg Fischer and Bruce Lunsford have much in common. Both are Louisville businessmen capable of self-financing part of their campaigns.


Each of these two men would be a worthy candidate for the Democratic Party. And either would be a preferable alternative to McConnell, who has spent 24 years in the Senate serving his rich friends and campaign contributors far more ably than he has served Kentucky.

The bottom line for Democrats comes down to the question of which candidate has the best chance of defeating McConnell in November.

Lunsford has more name recognition, courtesy of two unsuccessful gubernatorial campaigns. And he probably could put more of his own money into the race.

But baggage accompanies Lunsford into any race he runs, baggage that has been thoroughly vetted in previous campaigns and will not be rehashed here.

Fischer is the fresh face in the race, the untested political novice. And frankly, he hasn't run the best of campaigns in the primary. If he wins, he will need to do far better against McConnell.

But Fischer has a couple of things that speak in his favor.

One is the fact that, as a novice, he delivers the message of change with a fresher voice.

He makes that message resonate with more hope, more idealism, more commitment.

And if "change" is the message the Democrats think can inspire Kentucky voters in November, who better to deliver it than a fresh face with a fresh voice?

The second thing is the simple fact that Fischer lacks Lunsford's baggage.

Whomever the Democrats nominate, McConnell will loose the attack dogs on him, just as he has loosed them on all comers for 24 years. But as Fischer asks, why give McConnell "a target-rich environment"?

Between Lunsford and Fischer, there is no bad choice for Democrats. They're both good candidates who would represent the state well in the Senate.

However, Fischer's fresh voice and lack of baggage for McConnell to target give him a slight edge in this primary race.

I'm afraid that Lunsford hatred and hopefulness generated by the Obama campaign have led the Herald astray.

But I can't deny that the closer we get to a primary which Bruce Lunsford, unfortunately, is going to win in a landslide, the more endorsements Fischer picks up.

On Friday, Fischer's campaign sent out this email:

A host of prominent Jefferson County Democrats, including former Louisville Mayor David Armstrong, former Congressman Ron Mazzoli, and Speaker Pro-Tem of the Kentucky House of Representatives Larry Clark, endorsed Greg Fischer Thursday in a ceremony on the steps of the Jefferson County Courthouse in Downtown Louisville.

"We're taking this campaign across Kentucky -- courthouse to courthouse-- and the response is overwhelming," Fischer said, addressing the crowd. Fischer promised he would fight for working people in Kentucky to control gas prices and to lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil, that he would fight for quality, affordable health care for every American and that he would work to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq. He promised to bring meaningful change to Washington.

Mayor Armstrong and Rep. Mazzoli both spoke of Fischer's honesty, integrity and conviction.

Invoking his belief that Fischer is the best Democratic candidate to run againt Mitch McConnell this fall, former State Sen. David Karem stirred the crowd with a ringing endorsement: "If you support John Yarmuth for Congress, you want Greg Fischer on the Democratic ticket. If you support Hillary Clinton for President, you want Greg Fischer on the Democratic ticket. If you support Barak Obama for president, you want Greg Fischer on the Democratic ticket."

The list of endorsers who attended yesterday's event also included: State Representative Mary Lou Marzian, State Senator Perry Clark, State Representative Jim Wayne and State Representative Tom Burch.

They're promising endorsements from "grass roots leaders" next week.

I'm not endorsing Fischer, Lunsford or anyone else in this ludicrous farce of a Senate primary. Whoever "wins" will be shark bait in November anyway.

But if you want to read the eloquent case for Lunsford from someone who made his reputation exposing and condemning Lunsford, check out Media Czech at Barefoot and Progressive.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Cures for the Lawn Ghetto

Mother's Day is the tradtional start of flower-planting season in Kentucky. This year, try thinking beyond the usual annual borders and weeded-and-feeded grass carpets.

How about maintenance-free groundcovers that never need to be mowed? Some have tiny flowers or a pleasant scent.

Instead of annuals you have to drive to the garden center to buy and replant every years, flowering perennials are more expensive up front, but once established keep blooming for years. Check the UK Horticulture Department for ideas.

Or try native wildflowers and wildlife habitat gardens through the Salato Wildlife Center's Native Plant Program, or global-warming-fighting native shrubs and trees.

For great alternative ideas, plant lists, step-by-step instructions and fabulous photos, try the most popular gardening magazine in the country.

The key, and the first step, is to stop thinking of your yard as something that has to be maintained, and start thinking of it as a place to be enjoyed.

In Slate, Tom Vanderbilt writes of suburban "lawn ghettos," starting with a screed against giant multi-colored play equipment but ending with a plea for making lawns a more inviting place for both children and adults to play:

The unused plastic playthings and private playgrounds scattered in the barren yard speak not only to vanishing outdoor play but to a larger cultural disconnect from nature, from one's own environment. But there is a simple solution for this. Instead of buying cheap, potentially toxic plastic water slides and the like, plant a garden. Plant a tree. Plant something. It may not impress your neighbor, but it will last longer, it will look better, and it will have a better effect on the environment than plastic slides.

And there is another benefit. In his book Second Nature, Michael Pollan writes touchingly about a hedge of lilac and forsythia at his childhood home on Long Island, N.Y. To the adult eye, the hedges were simply flush against the fence. But he had his own secret garden, a space between the hedge and the fence. "To a four-year-old, though, the space made by the vaulting branches of a forsythia is as grand as the inside of a cathedral, and there is room enough for a world between a lilac and a wall." He didn't need a plastic playhouse or an obscene mini-McMansion to find space to play.

The natural world, when it is embraced, not only provides the opportunity for play—I imagine many of you, like me, have fond childhood memories of a swing hanging from a tree, or a tree house, or jumping in leaves, or running through the sprinkler as it watered the tomatoes—but connects us all to something larger and more lasting.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

This Time, Racist Appeals Will Backfire in Kentucky

Three ways that Senator Clinton's dog-whistles to racists help Obama in Kentucky:

1. It dismays and turns off her non-racist supporters.

As much as Obama supporters would love to believe that all Clinton supporters are racists, it's not true. What is true is that her racist remarks make all her supporters look like racists, and that's chasing the non-racists out of her camp. They're not Obama voters yet, but they're not giving any more money, volunteer time or letters-to-the-editor to Senator Clinton.

2. It shines a spotlight on closeted racists.

The real racists who may not have any love for Hillary but will never vote for a n****r are on the verge of getting outted.

Here's a truth about 21st-century racists that Senator Clinton never learned:

They're not proud of being racists, and they don't like being identified as such.

That's why the "muslim" and "unamerican" lies keep getting traction. Nobody really believes them but pretending to believe them is convenient cover for the real reason they're not going to vote for Obama: he's a n****r.

If by May 20 it's conventional wisdom that a Clinton victory proves Kentucky is full of racists, a significant number of those closet racists might refuse to vote for Senator Clinton just to prove those damn Yankee reporters wrong.

Right now, I still think Senator Clinton's going to win Kentucky, albeit by less than five points.

But if she keeps up these raw, obvious appeals to racism, she's going to shame all of those racists right out of the voting booth.

3. If the racist dog-whistling works in the primary enough for a Clinton victory, that fools McCain into thinking that Kentucky is in his pocket for the general.

That's what all his dear, dear BFFs in the MSM are saying. And that stupid 50-state strategy that loser Dean is promoting for the dems is obviously a commie, homo plot. Nothing a real man repug needs to win.

Kentucky's gone with the winner of the Presidential Election every time since 1964 - and with the person who ended up in the White House since 2000. I don't expect that to change in 2008, and I'm sure McCain agrees.

But not for the same reason.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Number 70 - With a Bullet

You may have noticed that the national and state flags in Kentucky have been flying at half-mast constantly for the last month.

The lowering of the flags has been in honor of soldiers killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thirteen of them since April 8, their deaths separated in time just enough that flags could not be raised after one funeral before another death brought it back down. All of them were assigned to Fort Campbell, but none of them called Kentucky home.

Until Wednesday.

Army Specialist Jeremy Gullett, 22, of Greenup, in northeastern Kentucky, died in Afghanistan when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. He was a member of Fort Campbell's storied 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles.

He leaves behind a wife and 21-month-old daughter.

He is the first Iraq/Afghanistan casualty from Kentucky since December 31, 2007. That four months and six days without a casualty is the longest we have gone without losing one of our own since a four-month, three-day lull from November 16 2004 to March 19 2005.

For four months and six days, we dared to believe that for Kentucky's sons and daughters at least, the worst was over.

Come to Greenup, John McCain. Come to Greenup to look Specialist Gullett's 21-month-old daughter in the eye and say it to her face:

Tell her your 1,000 Years in Iraq plan will ensure that she, her children, her grandchildren and their grandchildren into perpetuity will be able to die in a pointless, faked-cause war just like her daddy did.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Presidential Road Show Finally Opens in Kentucky

As I've written before, as far as I'm concerned, the Democratic Presidential Primary ended after the majority of Texas delegates went to Obama. The battle is now against McBush and the wingnut freakazoids.

However, whatshername appears not to have gotten the memo.

So, after a brief stop in West Virginia next week, the Great Fifty State Primary arrives in state number 47, the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Where, much to progressive delight, the good guys are lining up with Obama, and the bad guys with Hillary.

Media Czech of Barefoot and Progressive nails it, as usual.

Barack Obama will have John Yarmuth and Ben Chandler at his side, two squeaky clean guys, one of whom is the single best progressive Democrat we have in this state, and the other whom I'm hopeful will straighten up and make us proud this year.

Who will Hillary Clinton have at her side? The festering boil on the ass of the Kentucky Democratic Party: Jerry Lundergan. And his henchman, Jonathan Hurst. And Steve Friggin' Henry.

One of the (many) reasons we, progressives, all worked so hard to get Steve Beshear elected was to oust the untrustworthy Lundergan and his good ol' boy clan from power.

And what is Hillary doing? Letting all the good 'ol boys run back into the room so they can control things.

Jerry Lundergan is EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE KENTUCKY DEMOCRATIC PARTY. Want the endless Mark Nickolas dossier at Bluegrass Report? Here.

As I wrote back in March, the appearance of Lundergan leading whatshername's Kentucky campaign was more than sufficient proof that she is doomed in Kentucky. Now it looks like Lundergan's slimy negativity field might have slithered across the border to hurt her in Indiana.

Steve Henry's appearance on her side just added the turd topping to the campaign's giant Cake O' Failure. Former Lt. Governor Henry has a genuine talent for turning to shit everything political he touches. And causing financial chaos in every campaign he joins.

Polls may have whatshername up by 25-35 points, but Lundergan and Henry have fucked up against bigger odds than that.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Harold Ford is a Pimp

Former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford is such a pimp for spineless, play-republican DINOs that he managed to lose a Senate race in the Democratic Year of 2006.

And current Democratic Leadership Conference chair Harold Ford is such a pimp for whatshername that he was just on MSNBC making the desperate case for an Obama-whatshername ticket in November.

As I wrote in March, this is a worse idea than Brussel Sprouts-flavored ice cream.

I am fairly confident that even if Obama's instinct for reconciliation gets the better of him, whatshername will be on the ticket over Michelle Obama's dead body.

Nevertheless, we need to start planning now for the final dismemberment of the republicans at the DLC after Obama's victory in November. By the traditional definition - giving aid and comfort to the enemy - the DLC is a traitor to the Democratic Party, and to the Ideals of American Liberals that have sustained the Democratic Party and led it to victory for more than a century.

Yes, the DLC gave birth to the Bill Clinton presidency. But starting in 1994, the DLC has been directly and completely responsible for every Democratic loss throughout the nation.

Deliberately defying Harry Truman's wisdom that in a contest between a real republican and a fake one, people will always choose the real thing, the DLC has run nothing but fake republicans, thus ensuring the victory of real republicans in state after state, year after year.

Democrats who win are real Democrats like Louisville's John Yarmuth, who stand up on their hind legs and proclaim themselves as Proud Liberal Democrats.

Democrats who lose are pretend republicans like Harold Ford, and Hillary Clinton, and Bruce Lunsford.

Enough. No More DINOs.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

What Do You Know That the Next President Needs to Know?

Attention students:

What have you learned from personal experience that the next President should know before setting the agenda for the country?

That 18-year-olds should not have to risk their lives in war in order to afford to go to college?

That getting a job to save money for college requires already having the college degree you can't get without a job?

That your best friend since the fourth grade is living in a homeless shelter because even though she was born in this country, her parents weren't, so they were deported and forced to leave their minor children alone?

That the reason your house was foreclosed is that your mother got sick after she lost her job and health insurance, not that she bought a bunch of luxuries she couldn't afford?

If you are a high school or college student, you could earn $1,000 by answering that question in an orginal, thoughtful essay for The Nation.

Winning essays will also be published in the venerable magazine that gives you, in the immortal commercial words of Sam Waterston, "that liberal media bias you can't find anywhere else."

Email entries by May 31, 2008 to

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Blue Dogs Plotting to Hand Bush Another Victory

(Short refresher: "telecom amnesty" means that companies that illegally spied on innocent Americans' phone calls, emails and text messages will be immune from liability in civil lawsuits. That, in turn, means that we spied-on citizens have no way to find out exactly what the companies did and who in the White House unConstitutionally ordered them to break the law, starting in February 2001 - seven months BEFORE 9-11.)

Well, now we know why DINO Ben Chandler chose this week to announce that he is endorsing and giving his super delegate vote to Barack Obama: to distract us from his Blue Dog buddies in the House of Representatives working behind the scenes to give Smirky/Darth the telecom amnesty real Democrats denied them in February.

Yes, Ben voted to reject amnesty in the re-authorization of the patriot act, and I was one of the many who wrote to thank him. But remember how surprised we all were that House dems suddenly discovered the "testicular fortitude" required to defy Smirky/Darth, after more than a year of fellating the White House on command?

As Glenn Greenwald reports, it appears we horrible cynics were correct - it was a trick.

Are House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and a small handful of "Blue Dog" Democrats working in secret to reverse one of the only worthwhile acts of Congressional Democrats since they were given control of Congress in 2006: namely, the refusal to vest the President with vast new warrantless eavesdropping powers and bequeath lawbreaking telecoms with amnesty? It certainly appears that way.

Numerous reports -- both public and otherwise -- suggest that Hoyer is negotiating with Jay Rockefeller to write a new FISA bill that would be agreeable to the White House and the Senate. Their strategy is to craft a bill that they can pretend is something short of amnesty for telecoms but which, in every meaningful respect, ensures an end to the telecom lawsuits. It goes without saying that no "compromise" will be acceptable to Rockefeller or the White House unless there is a guaranteed end to those lawsuits, i.e., unless the bill grants amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms.

Did you really think that Smirky-Darth were just going to loll around the White House for the next 8 months waiting for the Democrats to finally gather the courage to impeach them? They're going to be working non-stop, every day, now right through January 20, deleting emails, shredding documents, disappearing witnesses, muzzling the press, and throwing up legal roadblocks to the Righteous Justice rolling toward them.

No, I don't know that Ben Chandler is among the Blue Dogs plotting to hand amnesty to Bush, Cheney and all their sub-demons, but his record hardly gives reassurance.

Thank and congratulate him for endorsing Obama, but add a plea for his continued courage in resisted telecom amnesty in any FISA reauthorization.

As What Constitution? writes in Greenwald's comments:

Blanket and retroactive immunity for felonious and unconstitutional invasions of privacy is an affront to the Constitution of the United States, an attack upon the Rule of Law (without which this country cannot function as a democracy), and really really stupid.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

How to Vote When You Want Them All to Lose

For years, I have been demanding that Democratic candidates and elected officials stand up proudly for what they believe. Stand up in front of voters, tell them what you believe and insist that if they share those beliefs, they must vote for you. Stand up in office and vote for what you believe, just because that's what you believe.

How can I do any differently? I will vote in the Kentucky Democratic Primary for Mitch McConnell's Senate seat based on what I believe.

I believe Bruce Lunsford is a turncoat and liar who cannot be trusted as far as a child could throw him (he's pretty short.)

I believe Greg Fischer is what Media Czech calls a "thrillionaire:" in the race for the ego trip, lacking any genuine progressive values.

I believe Michael Cassaro has good intentions, but knows nothing about politics or managing a campaign.

I believe David L. Williams runs for office as a hobby, and desperately needs a new one.

I believe Kenneth Stepp might have potential, but he seems unable to establish, much less build, a base of support even in his hometown.

I believe James Rice is a Republican who saw opportunity in a wide-open Democratic primary.

I believe David Wylie thinks his appointment by Governor Patton to a state commission was way more politically influential than it really was.

I believe Andrew Horne is an honorable man and a great candidate who would have had the financial support of progressives everywhere and who would have beaten Mitch McConnell. I still don't understand exactly why he dropped out, but if he really believed what Governor Steve Beshear and DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer told him about how he couldn't win without their support then he's too gullible to be Senator.

I believe that no matter who wins the Democratic Senate nomination, Mitch McConnell is going to win the general election in November.

So I'm voting for the candidate who has been from the beginning and still remains Democrats' best chance to win. As a bonus, I believe every vote this candidate earns will stick in the craw of Beshear and Schumer, and that will be one small victory.

Andrew Horne.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

When Democrats Attack

Four of Kentucky's most prominent progressive Democrats in elected office have sent a letter to Greg Fischer asking him to remove his attack ad on Bruce Lunsford because it is hurting the Democratic Party.

... your campaign has launched a personal attack against a fellow Democrat’s character. By doing so, your campaign is playing right into Senator McConnell’s hands and is endagering the opportunity for change this November.

We urge you to remove your personal attack ad from the air immediately, take the high road, and spend the final weeks of the primary running a campaign focused on why you are right for the job, not divisive character attacks that are part of the reason Washington needs to change.

I could name a few dozen acts committed by prominent elected Democrats in Kentucky (though NOT the ones who signed the letter) that have caused, are causing, and will continue to cause far more damage to the Democratic Party than anything Greg Fischer could ever do.

Nevertheless, in the context of this particular race, John Yarmuth, Crit Luallen, Dan Mongiardo and Jack Conway are correct to criticize Fischer.

But I would like to know where those four were in February when Steve Beshear and Chuck Schumer guaranteed Mitch's victory by forcing Andrew Horne out of the race.

Both Barefoot and Progressive and PageOneKentucky have the letter.

Ryan Alessi has Luallen's insistence that she is not endorsing Lunsford, and Fischer's response that the ad is not misleading and his campaign will continue to discuss Lunsford's record.

Nineteen days, 21 minutes until it's over.

Nineteen days, 20 minutes until it's over.

Nineteen days, 19 minutes until it's over ...

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Ludicrous Race to Unseat Mitch McConnell

Kentucky Democrats face a choice in the May 20 Senate primary in which we have to choose between dying slowly of tortuous drowning because of congestive heart failure, or dying slowly of tortuous drowning because of waterboarding. The pain, the suffering and the result are all the same.

No matter which of the eight "Democrats" vying for the nomination to challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell actually wins the primary, the pain, the suffering and the result are all going to be the same:

Five and a half solid months of McConnell TV ads that so excoriate the Democratic Senate candidate that it destroys every Democratic candidate on the ballot, culminating in McConnell's re-election by a landslide and victories by feckless, worthless repugs downticket.

Kill me now.

Democrats, meet your choices:

Bruce Lunsford, whose real accomplishment in this race appears to be having caused an irreparable split among Kentucky Progressives, pitting those who would chew off their own arms before voting for Bruce Lunsford against those who would pay any price to unseat Mitch - even electing Mitch's very own BFF Bruce.

Greg Fischer, who talks about progressive issues the way an atheist makes small talk at a church picnic - "That's interesting. Something to think about. Is that potato salad I see over there?"

Michael Cassaro, a physician who actually teared up at a public event when a party activist got in his face and demanded he withdraw from the race. His main contribution so far has been a letter supporting gay rights. In Kentucky, that makes him a politician of courage.

David L. Williams, a perennial candidate with no apparent qualifications for anything, who won the Democratic primary for Secretary of Agriculture las year because he has the same name as the Republican president of the state senate. Yeah, I know. But he could actually win the Senate primary the same way.

David Wylie from Harrodsburg is a former postal worker and member of the Kentucky Commission of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. As far as can be determined from his minimal website, he has never held public office.

Kenneth Stepp is an Eastern Kentucky trial lawyer who was the only Democrat in the Fifth District who had the courage to run against incumbent repug Harold Rogers in 2006. Stepp lost in a landslide, but he put quite a few better-known Fifth District dems to shame.

James E. Rice of Campbellsville calls himself a conservative Democrat but his platform leans to the radical side of Dick Cheney. He also says he's "The Candidate for the Common Man." Thanks anyway, Jimmy, but I like to think of myself as uncommon.

Andrew Horne of Louisville, attorney, retired Marine Lt. Colonel with Iraq combat experience, a genuine progressive who has challenged Mitch about Iraq in national forums for the last two years, the Savior of Kentucky Democrats. Until he dropped out of the race and broke our hearts. But his name is still on the ballot, and I will not be surprised if he outpolls Greg Fischer.

And as final proof that the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky is the stupidest election ever, Mitch actually has a republican primary opponent. Daniel Essek. Whose official mailing address on the Secretary of State's web site is in - wait for it - Jellico, Tennessee.
No, I am not contributing to the bad reputation Kentucky politics already has by giving you links for any of these losers.

So, the latest Survey USA poll has Bruce Lunsford down four points and Greg Fischer actually doubling his percentage. Wait - do we have a Bruce Killer on our hands?

No. Unfortunately, Lunsford's four-point drop takes him down to just 43 percent, and Fischer's 100 percent jump takes him from 9 percent to 18 percent.

Fischer's campaign is a complete train wreck, which PageOneKentucky has been relating in painful detail.

Fischer's supporters are nothing if not determined, at which you can marvel on BlueGrassRoots.

Down with Tyranny made a pitch for Greg Fischer, in the course of which he quoted extensively from my own strong attacks on Bruce Lunsford. I appreciate the link, Down, but I have not endorsed Greg Fischer or anyone else in this race.

Which brings us to the point: Who am I going to vote for in the Democratic Primary Election for the challenger to Senator Mitch McConnell?

I have tried to stay above the fray - or rather out of the shit - of this race since Horne dropped out and Kentucky's "Democratic" "leadership" embraced Bruce Lunsford.

But I am going to explain how I'm going to vote and why.


Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.