Editor's Note: Ivan wrote this from his hospital bed in early April. Unfortunately, his editor was distracted and didn't get it edited until recently. In light of Comer's recent trip to DC, his analysis is still spot on.
(April 4, 2013) A new ship of war is being designed and put under construction and its name is Battleship Comer. Unlike most political years where state politics can be played as a computer video game, this week marks a new type of political strategy and game board where the action can best be viewed and played in naval military terms.
That new landscape now can be viewed as an ocean full of massive waves of change, in which the status quo is being quickly retired or lost to high waves of public discontent or high winds of distrust with corruption within all levels of Kentucky government. Upon the sea of Kentucky politics is brewing a hurricane force of change that will redefine modern Kentucky.
Against this new backdrop of maneuvering for position in the governors race in 2015, Agriculture Commissioner Comer and his team have now pulled ahead in the arms race.
Battleship Comer is quickly taking shape. The captain and his key inner team have already been through a major war called the 2012 elections. They know the battle area. It will be from Pikeville to Paducah, statewide in its scope and strategy.
Just after the end of the 2013 General Assembly, Comer gave permission for his team “to lean into the wind.” They are now on a full run course and strategy for the election cycle of 2015. This race will be following a map of three routes laid out: (1) reform within the Department of Agriculture (2) 2014 aggressive legislative agenda and (3) bold new statewide policy initiatives.
Thus, the first important test of high stakes political power will be the fate of industrial hemp. Here, Governor Beasher and follow Democrats have more to lose then does Comer.
If the governor does not sign the hemp bill, he makes it a partisan issue for 2014. If the governor vetoes the hemp bill, he makes the issue one of martyrdom, in which Comer comes across a modern day hero for Kentucky farmers. If the governor signs the bill, he buys more time for Democrats to write themselves into the issue and still talk to Kentucky farmers in rural areas.
Whatever action the governor may take in this week, Battleship Comer is being built. It will be a tightly designed platform where by state government reform politics will be merged into State of Kentucky reform issues.
Above all else, Battleship Comer will become a strong platform from which force can and will be projected far into the fog of what passes for normal around the state of Kentucky.
As of this week, April 4, the first massive gun turret is being put into place. It will be named Industrial Hemp. It will have three large barrels, (1) rural regionalism vs urban Ky. (2) power of state police and regional police task forces to monitor hemp and (3) rural economic development.
In 1914, United States Grand Admiral Rodman, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, spoke from his flagship the U.S.S. New Mexico and said “The old days are past and gone when an officer or man could simply be a time-server; that is, do as little as possible to avoid disciplinary action or dismissal.”
Admiral Rodman was a Kentuckian and called Frankfort home. If he had lived in our times, he would know quite well that the pleasure yachts of the status quo power brokers parked along the Kentucky River will be no match for the heavy fighting coming.
The thing is - do the political power brokers in Frankfort even know that a massive wind storm of change is headed their way?