Tag Archives: Kentucky

A single vote causes confusion

Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to be the next U.S. senator from Kentucky.

She’s taking on a heavyweight, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.

Grimes has much to commend her for the job. However, there’s a strangely awkward reticence that is getting in the way. She declines to say whether she voted for President Obama in 2012.


This is a strange distraction. Come on, Ms. Grimes. What’s the story? Did you or did you not support the president, a member of your very own Democratic Party?

Politics creates such a fickle environment. Little things like this become big things in a heartbeat.

In a way, IĀ understand Grimes’s reticence. Our votes, after all, are supposed to be done in secret. We cast our ballots with no obligation to tell anyone how we vote. Where I come from, that’s a sure sign of liberty. Voters become “liberated” by their votes, giving them more than ample justification to speak their minds on policy issues and the people who carry them out.

However, Grimes is running for a public office. That means her life essentially is an open book. The public is entitled to know to what level they endorse another public figure’s public policy stances.

Thus, her vote becomes grist for comment. It also becomes a target for inquiring minds.

Her reluctance might have something to do with the president’s low standing among Kentuckians. His approval rating is about 30 percent. Grimes has told at least two newspaper editorial boards — in Louisville and Lexington — that she’s a “Clinton Democrat.” She has declined on several occasions to say whether she voted for the president.

This kind of clumsiness angers her base, which she’ll need if she intends to defeat McConnell on Nov. 4.

It’s such a petty matter in the grand scheme. It has become a bigger matter than it deserves to be.

McConnell campaign goes national

It’s interesting to me how some ostensibly local races gain national attention.

One of them involves Kentucky Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who’s in a tough for fight for re-election against Democratic nominee Allison Lundergan Grimes.

McConnell’s future is the subject if a large New York Times Magazine article by Jonathon Miller.


Grimes isn’t going to accept any political advice from yours truly, but I’ll offer it anyway.

If she wants to hang something around McConnell’s neck, she ought to dig up the video of McConnell saying that his No. 1 goal, his top priority back in 2009 was to make Barack Obama a “one-term president.” He’d block everything the president proposes. He would fight him every step of the way. He would obstruct and derail every initiative coming from the White House.

That’s what McConnell said. He said it with emphasis. By golly, I believe he meant it. It was a promise he made to the nation, not to mention to the people of Kentucky.

How didĀ the Senate’s minority leaderĀ deliver on his promise to the nation? Not very well. President Obama was re-elected in 2012 with 65 million votes, 51.7 percent of the total, 332 electoral votes.

So, Sen. McConnell’s top priority will have gone unmet.

Grimes ought to make that a signature issue of her campaign, along with whatever positive alternatives she proposes if she wins the Senate seat.

I think it’s a winner.


Men's basketball champ will be …

OK, sports fans, here is my call for the much-anticipated NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The Final Four has been set. I have had next to zero interest in this March Madness malarkey. I say “next to zero” only because one team from my home state of Oregon was in the tournament at the beginning.

The Oregon Ducks beat BYU in the first round, then lost to Wisconsin in the second round. Wisconsin? Oh, yeah, the Badgers are one of the Final Four teams.

Back to that in a moment.

The other three are Connecticut, Florida and Kentucky.

I do not follow college basketball the way I follow college football. Don’t misunderstand, I’m no expert on either sport. I played a little high school freshman football a hundred or so years ago, but I cannot pretend to know much about the nuances of the game.

But I do follow the Ducks, the Oregon State Beavers and on rare occasions I like to watch the University of Washington Huskies.

Who’ll win the NCAA men’s basketball championship?

My unscientific, unknowing and uneducated pick will be Wisconsin.

Why? Because I want the Ducks of the University of Oregon to have some meager bragging right to having lost their tournament bid to the eventual national champions.

I have an extended family connection to Wisconsin as well. My wife’s Aunt Margaret lives in Kenosha, as does my wife’s cousin Tom; another of my wife’s cousins, Joanne, lives in Milwaukee.

OK, there you have it.

I will retain my virtual non-interest in the tournament, except for “rooting” — if you want to call it that — for the Oregon Ducks to look back and say, “Hey, we lost to the best team in the country.”