A friendly acquaintance, James Carville, who led Wallace Wilkinson’s successful campaign for governor in 1987 before finding fame and fortune with Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential aspirations, remarked once about the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that it has Pittsburgh on one end and Philadelphia on the other be Alabama in the middle.
There’s still a lot of truth to that. To take it a step further, it’s starting to look more and more like the Commonwealth of Kentucky is Paducah on one end, Pikeville and Franco-era Spain on the other in the 4th congressional district.
To paraphrase the great philosopher Yosemite Sam, what the heck is going on in northern Kentucky?
The region, stretching essentially along the Ohio River from the outskirts of Louisville to Ashland, has traditionally been right of center with small government notions and conservative cultural values, particularly on the issue of abortion. But recent political events have thrown the region over the edge, into a MAGA duchy that makes it look like feudal England under Henry II, where insurgent values are on display.
In Tuesday’s primary, Republican voters ousted three House incumbents with solid Conservative credentials because they were presumably not vicious enough in their legislative dealings. Voters instead opted for a trio allied with a faction operating under the false name “Freiheit” who are expected to join the right-wing mad crowd in Frankfurt as the GOP nomination is synonymous these days with a victory in these districts.
Analysts claim the upstarts benefited from attacking incumbents for not aggressively defying health regulations imposed by Gov. Andy Beshear in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic — such as requiring people to wear masks to stop the spread , which seems like a bit of a price to pay to avoid death, but what do I know?
In one of those races, voters appear to have crushed Rep. C. Edward Massey, R-Hebron, at least to some extent, for opposing efforts to impeach Gov. Andy Beshear. Massey did so because Beshear did nothing to warrant impeachment. But that is neither here nor there for these people.
Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, lost to Erlangen attorney Steve Doan, who bore the support of a dangerous organization called the National Association of Gun Rights, which will not be happy until every child is given an AK-47 immediately after birth Channel.
It should come as no surprise, then, that former President Donald J. Trump received 64.8 percent of the district’s vote in his unsuccessful bid for re-election in 2020. What is surprising is that Trump was actually running behind Congressman Thomas Massie, R=SomewhereorotherLewisCounty. which received 67.1 percent of the votes in the same year.
Massie is a motivating factor among the “Liberty” contestants, particularly Doan, who explicitly received his endorsement. Now we could spend hours here, days really, going through Massie’s mind-blowing antics during his excruciatingly long 10 years in office, which took him along with the likes of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-GA, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Lauren Boebert , R-CO, and others a card-carrying member of the Most Ludicrous Member of Congress Caucus.
We’re just taking a quick shortcut here to note that the House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday calling on lawmakers to recognize the “dangerous rise in antisemitism around the world and in the United States” and to “condemn all manifestations of antisemitism and… to fight”.
The vote was 420-1. The lonely denier? You guessed it – Massie. That tells you everything you need to know. But bet now that despite this and other unforgettable and unforgivable outrages perpetuated by this congressman joke, 4th congressional district voters will return him to office in overwhelming numbers this November.
Massie’s continued success, the election of three “Liberty” candidates to the Kentucky House, and overwhelming affection for Trump reveal something simmering beneath the surface in northern Kentucky, particularly as it relates to the Republican Party.
Northern Kentucky has always been something of an outlier in Commonwealth politics. During the era of Democratic dominance in the state, it was the second-largest Republican region, behind only the 5th Circuit in hilly southeastern Kentucky along the Tennessee border, and has traditionally served as one of the country’s strongest GOP strongholds, tied with its Orange peers County, CA
She always sent a squad of Republicans to Frankfurt, and most, if not all, did well and focused on serving their constituents rather than trying to pick up cheap political points. In the second half of the 20th century the likes of the late Lawson Walker, a particularly good fellow who died too young, Lou DeFalaise, Barry Caldwell, Ken Harper, and others too numerous to list, did their best in one Time when Republicans were overwhelmed. Art Schmidt from Cold Spring and Clyde Middleton from Ft. Mitchell, has served admirably.
That’s not to say that there weren’t Republicans in northern Kentucky who held office by a margin. Lloyd Rogers, of the party’s far-right wing at the time, was elected executive judge of Campbell County in 1982. He quickly imploded and never returned to office. And of course there was Jim Bunning from Ft. Thomas, a state senator, a 4th district congressman before Massie and then a US senator for 12 years whose personality was as perceptive as his insider fastball used to be.
In general, however, the GOP Frankfurt delegation was the suburban Chamber of Commerce sort with a strong aversion to abortion. That was consistently hammered into the local political system by Catholic Bishop Richard Ackerman and attorney Robert Cetrulo, longtime leader of Northern Kentucky Right to Life, who made pro-choice advocates nearly impossible to get elected in the area.
But the new Republicans obviously prefer Trump’s confrontational and insulting style. He carried the party further to the right – it is hardly recognizable on the horizon that far to the right. But it’s even more evident in the way they do business, constantly in the face of political enemies, refusing to compromise or seeking common ground, all in order to own the freedoms.
It’s also an outgrowth of the Tea Party movement, launched in 2009, which sought to gain control of the country’s fiscal woes — to reduce debt and spending — but was actually based on fears that African Americans would lose their rights in of an increasingly diverse nation. Funny how few tea parties complained about a huge spike in debt and spending during the Trump administration.
The focus of many Republicans, including the Northern Kentucky strain, has shifted from business to culture. The Supreme Court is poised to give them a victory on the abortion issue – its days as a protected constitutional right seem limited – and the focus will likely shift to same-sex marriage in due course.
Regardless, voters in the 4th congressional district have embraced the Trump-MAGA policies of division, abuse and especially grievance as their own. A place where people believe the 2020 presidential election was rigged and trust that the replacement theory is obviously making headway.
God save the Commonwealth.