(Fancy Farm KY, August 4, 2012) – The great majority of the content of the speeches at the 132nd Fancy Farm Picnic can be summed in four words: “They bad. We good.”
With the exception of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes whose speech was so red meat free that even the most vociferous hecklers made only half hearted efforts and local candidates who took their first appearance at the political stump speak to introduce themselves, the other speeches shed little light on what is going on in Frankfort and Washington.
Grimes thanked voters for electing her as the youngest secretary of state in the US. She told the crowd she would be one of six secretaries of state touring Middle Eastern countries to assist Americans abroad, including military service people.
Lead off batter Sen. Mitch McConnell set the tone. He spent his time attacking President Obama. He urged voters to join him in voting for Mitt Romney. He compared Obama’s first term to President Jimmy Carter’s one term presidency, saying that Obama’s term had made Carter look like Abraham Lincoln. McConnell made no mention of the Senate where he has worked for more than twenty years. There was no mention of anything Congress is doing – or not doing.
Following his opponent Democrat Charles Hatchet’s incomprehensibly rambling speech, Rep. Ed Whitfield ignored Hatchet and went directly for the President. Whitfield told the crowd that there are hidden taxes built into the Affordable Care Act that won’t take effect until after the November election. We checked the IRS website and found two taxes mentioned: one for tanning booths that went into effect in 2010 and another for a 2.3% excise tax on taxable medical devices. While employers will be required to report health insurance benefits provided, the IRS website says the benefits will remain nontaxable.
Whitfield said that the Obama Administration wouldn’t enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, but the Justice Department has gone after two states, Arizona and Florida, for cracking down on illegal immigration. (Whitfield failed to mention that in the case of Arizona, the US Supreme Court struck down major portions of their law.)
Whitfield either didn’t know or neglected to mention that the federal government is allowing Homeland Security records to be used by Florida officials to match names of illegal aliens to voter rolls in a move that the Washington Post called a victory for Republicans. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/florida-voter-purge-fight-isnt-over/2012/07/17/gJQAtLgArW_blog.html
Following his lead, elected officials on both sides of the podium spent their time belittling the opposition. House Speaker Greg Stumbo fired off zinger after zinger against everyone from McConnell to Whitfield to Senate President David Williams. Stumbo also failed to mention the past session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
And so it went.
Considering the level of discourse, it is not surprising that Senator Rand Paul and Governor Steve Beshear declined the opportunity to be on the dais. Even elected officials hanging out in West Kentucky, Attorney General Conway, Auditor Edelen and Treasurer Hollenbach, were absent from the Picnic. A representative of presidential candidate Mitt Romney failed to appear as did anyone to speak on behalf of the President.
There was one presidential candidate represented. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson’s surrogate, Ken Mehlman, told the crowd that “Obama cannot win in Kentucky.” Voting for Johnson, according to Mehlman, will send Frankfort and Washington that the voters are displeased with them.
After Saturday, that doesn’t sound so wacky.