The Democrats scored points this past week in Western Kentucky. While excitement is far from a fevered pitched, one can see some movement for Beshear. Having spent a life-time attending party functions in West Kentucky, I'm starting to see some participation that has not been visible since the 1980's.
Beshear had a very respectable crowd in Christian County on Thursday. A fish fry hosted by State Senator Joey Pendleton produced a diverse crowd of supporters from the agriculture, education and business community. Many younger voters were also in attendance. Being the third event in recent weeks in Christian County, Beshear is working hard to renew and regain the popularity he once enjoyed as a "Hometown Boy".
Candidates made their way to Caldwell County on Friday for an event held by State Rep. Mike Cherry as well as a Jack Conway Sportsman Breakfast that was held in Ballard County.
The Marshall County Bean Dinner known to most of us as the Mike Miller Dinner was probably the most telling sign of all. The event boasted numbers far beyond anyones expectations. There was more people than space or food. Many of us stood outside to stay cool and well you know- dip snuff. I saw my old buddy Jeff Noble from Louisville. Jeff has a blog called Ohio River,Left Bank,MP 606. Jeff and I differ on issues but he has a great blog worthy of a tobacco barn intellectual like myself. Three strange looking girls came in late. We were not for certain but the consensus was that they might have been lesbians. They kinda fit the description of the pictures we had once seen on the television set. I tried to be hospitable and gave them some free tickets I had to the dinner. No one got real upset. No one got hurt and the roof did not fall in, so I guess no harm, no foul. It's one thing to kill and field dress an 18 point buck. It's another thing to go home and have to tell your wife and kids that you got your ass kick by some lesbians in Marshall County of all places.
Coach Joe B. Hall's presence added a nice touch to the evening. Coach Hall who endorsed Todd Hollenbach Jr. for State Treasurer, appeared to be looking good and in great form.
I was surprised at the number of old friends and stalwart Western Kentuckians who had returned to the picnic after years of being absent. While liberal goggle eyes inflated the number of Democrat supporters, I believe the Democrats had probably a 55-45% edge. Bill Bartleman who is being hammered by the blogs might have been a little off, it was hard to tell depending on where you were standing. I believe Bill understands as I do that just because there were a lot of Democrats it does not necessarily mean they all are going to vote for Beshear or straight ticket. The Democrats did not have a 3-1 or even a 2-1 advantage. I believe the Democrats were just a little more excited than the Republicans this year. Democrats appeared to have a margin resulting from the participation of people outside the area.
It was great to see West Kentucky's new leaders at the event. Madisonville Mayor Will Cox was in attendance as was State Representative John Tilley. Cox, the son and grandson of former State Legislators, is serving his first term as Mayor of Madisonville. Tilley who represents Trigg and Christian County was enjoying his first Fancy Farm. Tilley serves as Vice-Chairman of the Banking and Insurance, State Government and Military, Veterans and Seniors Committees.
John Lindsey Adams a prosecutor in Christian County enjoyed one of his many trips to Fancy Farm. Adam's father served in the House and his grandfather was a former Commissioner of Agriculture. John Thomas Soyars, the son of the late Judge J. Thomas Soyars and the Grandson of the late Judge Oglesby Soyars returned to Fancy Farm this year. Soyars has a long pedigree with his father having been the law partner of Gov. Edward T. "Ned" Breathitt.
Bobby McDowell, long time Democrat Party Chairman in Scott County, made the journey once again to Western Kentucky. Former Trigg Judge Executive and Sheriff, Jimmy Mathis along with Judge Berlin Moore seemed to be enjoying themselves.
West Kentucky's finest Gentleman was also in attendance. Judge Bob Buchanon. Having served a lifetime as Principal and Superintendent of Ballard County Schools, Bob served two terms as Ballard Judge Executive not to mention the two years he gave Congressman Tom Barlow as his District Director.
Former Congressman Carroll Hubbard, who is seeking a Senate seat in the First Senatorial District was on hand. Hubbard is poised to take his old seat back which Ken Winters has been sleeping in for a number of years.
Former KYD Presidents Mark Henry and Dale Emmons were also on hand. Pat Vincent who has served faithfully over the years in many party capacities was working as hard as ever.
Supreme Court Justice and local favorite Bill Cunningham was in attendance.(We like the books he writes)
I was disappointed that I did not see former Federal Highway Administrator and Democrat Party icon Bill Cox. Mr. Cox who considered seeking the Office of State Treasurer this year, retains one the best political and analytical minds in Kentucky.
HINT TO JONATHAN MILLER: Get a bus with Bill Cox, Julian Carroll, Wendell Ford, Grady Stumbo and Carroll Hubbard on it and drive around the first district. If they don't kill each other they surely will pick up more votes than peddling your expensive and overt lecture book . Note to Jonathan: We get FREE books down here regarding ethics and morals, there called Gideon Bibles.(See Bill Cunningham before you write another one)
The Things I Miss About Fancy Farm
At age 43 I have probably been to over 30 Fancy Farm events and could not help but to take time and remember a few things. It was tradition for many years growing up that my mother would drop me off with Senator Bill Brinkly of Madisonville for an hour or so while she made the rounds at Fancy Farm. For so many years we would eat our Bar-B-Q sandwich together which he would always buy. Bill was a fine man and true public servant.
We can blame many of our political problems on the DNC and would be right but we have created some of our own over the years. Lack of new leadership has just killed us over the last 15 years. While standing there listening to the speaking which was about to begin, I could not help but to think if Jeff Green would have already been Governor or U.S. Senator. Jeff was our future and we lost the best we had to offer the day he died. No one was able to step up and fill his shoes.
The next 3 months will be tough in Western Kentucky. Anyone who thinks different is either smoking crack or is paying for bad numbers. No matter how much the Republicans have screwed up the State or the Nation, it is not enough to bring West Kentucky back to the Democrat Party nor should it!! West Kentucky did not leave the Party, the Party left us. Sorry, Reagan was right.
As I lay out my clothes and my gun for the Pennyrile NRA Banquet on Thursday, I'll be going not knowing where Beshear stands on many issues like gun control. Todd Hollenbach and Jack Conway have made their positions well known but I have no clue as to the rest of the ticket. We know Dr. Dan likes to fish and is apparently good at it but the smell of fish will not wash away the stench of his stance on abortion to voters in the first and second districts.
Voters in West Kentucky will not nor should not give up their convictions for the sake of better government or a party change. The Democrats have failed the last 15 years by clinging to the old liberal ways of the East Coast Establishment. A perfect opportunity has presented itself for the Democratic Party in Kentucky to step up to the plate and return the Party to its roots. Victory in November comes down to one question. Is the Democrat Party in Kentucky willing to pay the cost for bringing Western Kentucky back in the fold??? The cost may be high, but cheaper than sitting at home and watching the Republicans retain power.
Well, it is time to stop typing and put up the hat I made for Fancy Farm. My Tilley hat adorned with campaign buttons represents my politics. My Al C. Rutland for Senate button, my Chandler-Waterfield button, my Combs-Carroll button, Cox's Army, Martha Layne Collins for Governor, and my original & new Todd Squad button. I could not fit my Wallace for President button on the hat which was probably good since everyone thinks being a Wallace man was solely about racism and it was not. I'm a Huey Long Populist also but I don't have one of his buttons. Goodnight all.