Matt Bevin reinvents himself, at least for Fancy Farm

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By BERRY CRAIG

“Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel,” Dr. Samuel Johnson famously observed.

The celebrated 18th-century English man of letters was panning those who professed patriotism to mask their selfish ends.

Anyway, at the Fancy Farm picnic, Matt Bevin, the heretofore combative Republican candidate for governor, condemned what he called the divisiveness on display. As a supposed show of unity, he led everybody in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Frankfort State Journal
The most absurd turn of the day may have been what Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin did with his time to speak.

Where I’ve seen Bevin give some very eloquent speeches about patriotism and wax poetically about state sovereignty, I didn’t see that Bevin Saturday — just like no one saw Sen. Rand Paul at Fancy Farm.

Instead of giving any of his solid plans for the commonwealth, Bevin asked the crowd to join him in the Pledge of Allegiance. Equally ineffective, before he finished jumping between his speech themes with a mediocre delivery he had used up his time and was cut off by the Fancy Farm music.

I’m not calling Bevin a scoundrel. Disingenuous is the word have in mind.

I doubt that hearing Sen. Mitch McConnell and Gov. Steve Beshear jab each other –and listening to Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jack Conway gig him—caused Bevin to experience a Road to Damascus conversion to civility in political discourse.

Shortly before Fancy Farm, Bevin and Conway slugged it out at candidate forums sponsored by the state chamber of commerce and the farm bureau.

In 2013-2014, Bevin and McConnell butted heads for the GOP senate nomination. They flayed each other in one of the most vicious primaries—Republican or Democratic—in Bluegrass State history. The McConnell camp slammed Bevin as an “East Coast con man” and a “pathological liar.”

Bevin blasted back, tagging McConnell “Mudslinging Mitch.” Bevin even made a TV commercial in which he had his little daughter call McConnell a liar.

I was also at Fancy Farm in 2013 when Bevin derided McConnell for leaving early. In the senator’s absence, he poured it on: “I’m not going to run to the left of Mitch McConnell. I’m not going to run to the right of Mitch McConnell. I am going to run right over the top of Mitch McConnell.”

Bevin’s tack at Fancy Farm left more than a few Democrats scratching their heads. Naturally, the Republicans whooped and hollered for their guy. But I wondered how many of them were as befuddled by Bevin as the Dems seemed to be.

“The one thing that discourages me however about this process is that we are literally celebrating the worst elements of the political process,” Bevin intoned. “We are celebrating our divisions and we’re doing it in a childish way that frankly does not resolve any of the issues that we face.”

Bevin didn’t talk any issues. One can only guess why not.

Maybe he’s starting to worry that his reactionary tea party politics is turning off more voters, especially middle-of-the-road independents. (Bevin’s running mate is a far right-wing tea party activist.)

So he recast himself–at least for Fancy Farm–as Bevin the uniter, not the divider. The erstwhile compromise-is-surrender Bevin even quoted Kentucky’s motto, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.”

Perhaps the independent Bluegrass Poll prompted Bevin to skip the polemics for the pledge at Fancy Farm. The survey came out just before the picnic and had Bevin trailing Conway by three. In an earlier PPP poll—PPP is a Democratic outfit—he was up by three.

Time will tell if Bevin has sworn off bare-knucks politics. But I wouldn’t bet the farm he has.

Drew Curtis numbers up in latest independent poll

Drew Curtis Press Release

JULY 30, 2015 – Results from the new Bluegrass Poll released today show that Independent gubernatorial candidate Drew Curtis is continuing to gather steam among Kentucky voters. While last month’s Public Policy Polling survey put Curtis at 6 percent, he rose to 8 percent of overall votes in the Bluegrass Poll. He polled especially well with Independents, moderates, younger voters, and those in the 1st and 6th congressional districts. Most interesting is that Curtis continues to draw almost equally from conservative and liberal voters, putting to rest fears that he might act as a spoiler for the race.

“I’m drawing voters from both sides of the spectrum,” noted Curtis. “Which makes sense because I’m about solutions, not ideology. The strongest bipartisan issue in play is that neither of the two main parties represent our interests as voters.”

Curtis will be filing the necessary signatures to get on the ballot on August 11th, with a rally to follow in Lexington (time and place TBA). Curtis said he expects his polling numbers to rise quickly once he gets on the ballot.

“Don’t count me out just yet,” said Curtis. “After all, being in third place worked out pretty well for Bevin in the primary.”

Drew Curtis is a Lexington businessman, digital entrepreneur, and the independent candidate for governor of Kentucky. He has been the sole owner and chief operator of Fark.com, one of the world’s most popular news aggregator websites, since he founded it 16 years ago. In addition to being an expert on the subject of mass media and news, he is a member of Lexington’s Economic Development Investment Board and the University of Kentucky’s Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

For more information, please contact

Heather Chapman

Communications Director

Drew Curtis for Governor
(859) 221-4862

chapman@drewcurtis.com

Western Kentucky Bernie Sanders Grassroots Digital Meetup Party

By BERRY CRAIG

“I’ve been looking for a ‘Bernie-ite’ for 30 years,” said a grinning Charles Tubbs, who packs an IBEW card. “Now I’ve found one.”

Tubbs, who belongs to Paducah-based IBEW Local 816, was in a crowd of about 40 people from western Kentucky and western Tennessee who gathered in Murray Wednesday night for a “Bernie Sanders Grassroots Digital Meetup Party.”

The faithful came together at Murray State University’s Curris Student Center to swap stories about why they support Sanders for president and to hear their candidate speak on a big screen TV via live streaming from Washington. Some of the Sanders fans brought their kids.

Sanders is Vermont’s junior senator. Though he was elected as an independent and calls himself a democratic socialist, he is running for president as a Democrat.

The Murray meetup was one of an estimated 3,500 simultaneous nationwide gatherings that attracted at least 100,000 people. Organizational meetings followed Sanders’ address.

“Tell us who you are and what brought you to Bernie,” said organizer Janice Thomasson of Murray as she passed a cordless microphone through the crowd, which included a quartet of other Local 816 members, some of whom sported bright blue union tee shirts.

“I’m 33-years-old and Bernie Sanders is the first candidate I can really believe in,” said Josh Dunn.

His sentiments were echoed by several others, including Local 816’s Chad Rennison who is a social media fan.

“I went on social media and did a background check on Bernie,” Rennison said. “I looked at his track record and found out that he has always supported the middle class and working people. He wants to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, which will provide jobs.”

Since Sanders took office in 2007, he has voted the union position on issues 100 percent of the time, according to the AFL-CIO Senate Scorecard.

Jason Wellington, who is also in Local 816, said “every point Bernie Sanders has is spot on in what I want to see in a politician.”

“He’s for the working class and won’t be bought off by the ‘one percent,’ said Dusty Owens of Local 816.

The IBEW members and others in the crowd chowed down on “Commander-in-Chief Cookies” and swigged “Frack Free Water” provided by Thomasson. A mother-daugther combo sang “Bernie Sanders, Bring Us a Dream” they wrote to the tune of “Mr. Sandman.”

The festivities included a drawing for Sanders-for-president bumper stickers and campaign buttons, all emblazoned with union labels.

More information about the Sanders for president campaign is available from Thomasson. Her email address is Janice.thomasson@gmail.com and her cell phone-text message number is 270-227-8438.

Click here to view the official Sanders for president website.