Saturday, I attended the now nationally famous Fancy Farm political rally and picnic in Fancy Farm, Kentucky. This year’s picnic got national media coverage because of the importance of Mitch McConnell’s Senate seat. McConnell is being challenged in a Republican Primary by businessman and former Rand Paul teammate, Matt Blevins. The Democrat candidate for the seat is Kentucky Secretary of State (with only two years’ experience) Alison Lundergan Grimes, A few brief observations:
The Food– GREAT meal. It is unbelievable how many people they can feed in a short time. Incredibly efficient. But that’s not the best part. The food was excellent. It was as good as any family reunion or home cooked meal you could enjoy anywhere. I tried the mutton and liked it very much. The fact that they could serve a full meal like this with vegetables and desert to a couple thousand people blows my mind. BTW, if you ever go, forget the sandwiches, (though they are good). Instead, allow an extra half hour to enjoy the home cooked dinner which is served in the air-conditioning.
The Crowd– Make no mistake, Grimes (The Democrat running for McConnell’s seat) bussed in most of her support. The teachers union folks rode buses from Louisville. I know this for certain because I ate next to the two bus drivers. I see extreme short-sightedness on the part of these teachers union folks as they continue to ardently support any Democrat candidate that comes along and Barack Obama in particular. This is a fools errand. More on that in a later column perhaps. McConnell had a small busload of Young Republicans as well. But they were a little less rabble rousing and were significantly more knowledgeable on the issues (at least in my small sampling) I enjoyed talking to some of them. Overall the partisans (me included) were 50/50. McConnell supporters may have been a little louder but hard to say. Most people were there more out of curiosity than to support any one candidate.
The national implications– The parties are heavily vested in our little state’s Senate race. In my opinion Republicans MUST win the Senate back and oust the traitorous Harry Reid. Dems know this so they are nationalizing this race. I did a quick scan and all the usual media suspects are trying to take veiled hits at McConnell, saying he is in more trouble than he probably is (though he is in more than I thought at first). You will hear many stories if you follow politics about how effective Bevins was. I didn’t think that was the case but the narrative serves the national press well in their quest to hurt McConnell. And make no mistake, rural though our setting was, the big boys of media were there, Fox, NBC, CNN etc.
The Speeches– I was disappointed all around. As far as who did the best, one guy you probably won’t hear much of nationally, Richard Heath a Rep from KY District 2, said more of substance in 2 minutes than the others said all together. After him, let’s face it, it wasn’t close, McConnell brought it. The man has been in politics too long to not know how to fire up a crowd. My problem was, it appears to be only words these days from McConnell. If he actually would DO the things that he said he was for, then we would be getting somewhere.
I was very interested to hear Bevins, the Republican challenger to McConnell in a primary. Google him if you want his full background. I liked what he said to McConnell about backing Mike Lee (R Utah) in his quest to defund Obamacare. If Mitch is really against Obamacare he will get behind this effort. Other than that, I thought Bevins speech was a little too much rhetoric and not enough substance for a newcomer. He needed to make a bigger splash in my opinion. Still, national media is touting him, mainly because they want to divide and conquer the Republicans and open a door for Grimes.
Grimes was all old school, worn out, Democrat talking points and same old attacks. Enough said. She shouldn’t be a serious challenger but she is backed by so much party money, she might be.
Me– I didn’t get to talk to as many people as I had hoped. I did get to talk to some of McConnell’s team. I think I shocked them by the passion with which I spoke. I begged them to the Senator that many in Kentucky are tired of McConnell’s lip service. We want him to stop throwing in with McCain and we want him to START really fighting Obama, (especially with the defunding plan of Lee). I told her I would vote for Bevins in the primary if that doesn’t happen soon.