Before this summer passes into autumn, let’s harvest a few of the fading season’s last political fruits still hanging on the browning stalk.
Whose War on Women? Allegations of sexual harassment against state Representative John Arnold, D-Sturgis, and that House Democratic leadership ignored or covered-up the complaints dominated the recently completed General Assembly special session. They also spell the end of Democratic U. S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes’ efforts to use a bogus “Republican War on Women” as a campaign theme.
The complaints suggest that at least some members of Democratic House leadership knew about harassment allegations against Arnold as far back as 2010, and that former House Majority Whip Rep. John Will Stacy, D-West Liberty, told one of the accusers that Arnold was “harmless.” Also, WFPL’s Phillip Bailey reported, “A Democratic state lawmaker says some of his colleagues told him to keep quiet allegations of sexual harassment and assault against a fellow legislator to protect the party’s majority in upcoming elections.”
The House Democratic Caucus Campaign Committee, which is controlled by House leadership, contributed $10,000 to Arnold’s campaign on September 18, 2012. Did these dollars flow despite top Democrats knowing about sex harassment allegations against Arnold, who went on to win election by a mere 5 votes?
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, is selectively releasing self-serving documents and e-mail, but Democratic leadership needs to come clean. What did top Dems know about allegations against Arnold, and when did they know it? Regardless, it will be impossible for Grimes to paint Republicans as somehow waging war against women when it appears that her fellow Democrats put politics ahead of protecting female employees.
Smaller Huge Deficit. A reporter at the Kentucky Farm Bureau breakfast complained that Republican U. S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., avoided questions about the federal deficit having fallen by half, as if that fact amounted to some sort of “gotcha” for the spending hawk. What a sorry state American finances are in when we celebrate a fiscal 2013 deficit of “only” $642 billion or thereabouts!
That mind-boggling sum is still $183 billion more than any pre-Obama deficit, and the national debt is still $17 trillion, which exceeds the gross domestic product. So it is safe to assume that Senator Paul’s response would be that the federal government still spends way too much and America desperately needs more private sector economic growth.
Media Bias. The state’s largest newspaper insists that its liberal editorial views do not influence its news coverage. Maybe not, but something sure causes anti-conservative, anti-Republican bias to keep popping up in the The Courier-Journal’s news pages.
On August 23, for example, a news headline referred to “anti-immigration voices” on the political right. There are anti-amnesty voices among conservatives and Republicans, and also anti-illegal immigration voices, but there are few, if any, truly “anti-immigration” voices.
On August 13, a news sub-headline referred to the “far-right tea party,” and the news story to “tea party shrillness.” Back in May, a news headline said the IRS gave extra scrutiny to “right wing” groups. You will search in vain for comparable news headlines or stories using the terms “far-left,” “liberal shrillness,” or “left wing.”
Future Farmers Inspire. The numerous recent reports of heinous crimes committed by teenage thugs or, even worse, the latest decadent and disgusting Miley Cyrus exhibition, understandably make many people worry about America’s youth. Are such awful depravities the rule or the exception?
The Kentucky FFA’s Regional Star Farmer, Star Agribusiness & Star in Ag Placement exhibits at the Kentucky State Fair give reasons for hope. These stars are some of the many amazing young people involved in Kentucky agriculture, and the displays about their demanding, disciplined, an inspiring lives will restore your faith in America’s future.
Lawson for Ag Commish? Staying with Kentucky agriculture, buzz is building about the likely 2015 commissionership candidacy of Bowling Green businesswoman and radio host Jean-Marie Lawson, a Democrat. Lawson is energetic, knowledgeable, likable, well-connected, and seemingly omnipresent in agricultural circles. It is hard to imagine anyone in either party beating her unless incumbent Republican James Comer surprisingly seeks a second term instead of running for governor.
Obese Tattooed Smokers. Not everything about the State Fair is so encouraging, however. Along with so much that is good about our state, Kentuckians’ deplorable obesity, smoking, and bad tattoos are also on display at that annual event. At least the decorative ink does not take a terrible social toll on the commonwealth costs like the others, but it should not shock anyone if a hidden provision of Obamacare requires that health insurance include free tattoo removal coverage.
John David Dyche is a Louisville attorney and political commentator for WDRB.com. His e-mail is [email protected].