Trying to catch up after being on the road for much of the last few weeks. My travels have taken me all over the South and I came away with a pretty good feel for the political climate. I must admit that I have not kept up with Kentucky politics as of late and have spent the last few days trying to catch up.
In Western Kentucky there does not seem to be a great deal of interest in the Primary. Folks are either angry, turned off or both. The consensus is that people are waiting until November to get even with Obama, Pelosi and Reid. I think a low turn out in Rural Kentucky would probably be to Jack Conway's favor if they turn out in the Urban areas. It's obvious this race has turned ugly. I still think Monjiardo would be the best candidate in November given the back lash to the ultra liberal agenda in Washington. Conway has gotten caught up trying to secure his liberal base while at the same time trying not to get blown out in Rural Kentucky. It would appear that most of the Democrat Leaders in Kentucky have decided that they will stand with Liberal factions in Washington and the DNC as opposed to saving and rebuilding a moderate to conservative party in Kentucky. This is not surprising because I have witnessed this through out the South in the last few weeks. The result is that the Democratic Party in most Southern states in non-existent. I could not find any Democrats who were willing to support the Democratic Party at any level. I once thought that the Democratic Party in the Southern States were smart enough to keep their wits about them but I think that is no longer true.
While the Democratic Party will continue to thrive in Urban areas championing a liberal social agenda there is no longer a future for Democrats in the South. I'll will go ahead and say it-the Democratic Party is DEAD in the South and probably Western Kentucky for good. There are not many issues or platforms that will sell down here nor is there anybody who is interested in hearing about it. In short- taxes, immigration, abortion, gun control, moral issues, cap & trade, coal, tobacco and entitlement programs have forced moderate and conservative Democrats away or to the sideline.
In Kentucky, I have friends on all sides of this Senate race but I fear that having a primary is probably an act of futility because I think the Republicans win big in November. For those who have not drank the liberal waters then they stand a fighting chance. Ten percent of voters who consider themselves neither liberal or conservative will decide many of the elections around the nation. These middle class voters are rarely engaged in politics. They have been known as the "Silent Majority", "Reagan Democrats", Perot supporters, Independents and now Tea Party folks. I think it is a mistake for any candidate or party to discount them or disparage their concerns. The Tea Party organization did not create this outrage or movement-they simply stepped in front of the crowd and said let's go. As history has shown this will be short lived and by next year it will be politics as usual in many places for another 15 or 20 years.
Voters are not interested in solutions that cost them more money or lead to tax increases. They are mad and they want taxes cut, spending reduced and government to stop trying to solve problems with their money. In Kentucky and across the nation polling is consistent regarding how voters feel about elected officials, debt and taxes. Americans don't trust Washington to solve problems and they don't trust the Democratic response to the problems which is to create costly entitlement programs and hope our economy remains better than Greece.
In Kentucky decisions have to made by the General Assembly but right now politics is only about one thing and that's what I call the "Eastern Kentucky Sand Box". The General Assembly is run by two East Kentucky boys who don't let other children play in their "Sand Box". As of late these two seem willing to do nothing but keep defecating and covering up the mess with more sand. In the end the "Sand Box" is theirs and but at some point somebody is going to have to clean out the mess because it's starting to smell. The answer is simple to save their political skins. No new projects. No new spending, no borrowing, cut government, no legislation that calls for spending revenue. Pretty simple folks.
Speaker Stumbo who has years of experience and a good track record of working with other Rural Legislators will have to probably make the unpopular choice which is keeping Frankfort running on a bare minimum without new projects. It's time to play Harry Truman. It's not a fun role but it's one that people will respect and vote for. If everyone in Frankfort wants to sit at the track and waste time waiting on a long shot to come in, then that's OK by me but in the mean time I would suggest bringing forth a budget even if it hurts.
While working in races in many other states I see that most folks share the same concerns from state to state and it is not a good time to be holding hands with liberals in Washington. Enough politics for now. I hope to talk about my flood experience in Franklin, TN and share some insight from my seminars and the Society of Business, Industry and Economics Conference I attended a few weeks ago.