From time-to-time, but not too often, I've taken the easy way out and posted someone else's work. I even did it in the last entry, at least in the first paragraph, copying verbatim the 1892 platform of the People's Party, a Progressive movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While I do not always have permission to do so, I do always give credit where it is due. In this instance, I have asked and received the appropriate permission.
Today's post is from the blog of a friend of mine from Christian County, Tim Havrilek, pictured at left. Tim and his wife and children make their home in Pembroke, I believe, which is a crossroads village of southeastern Christian County near the Kentucky-Tennessee border. At least that's where I think they live. I knew Tim many years ago when we were both young and in the Kentucky Young Democrats. We're both still good Democrats. We became reacquainted in 2006 as he played a large role in the election of Todd Hollenbach as State Treasurer in 2007. Tim's blog, The Underground Rooster, serves for me as a barometer of how more than a few people think and act and vote once you get south and west of the Green River, especially down along Kentucky's southern corridor twenty to thirty miles either side of US68/KY80, and well away from the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. Needless to say, there are ideas on which we differ, some quite a bit. Interestingly though, because of the politics of pragmatism, which we both sometimes grudgingly practice, we now-and-then find ourselves on the same side of an issue, but for entirely unrelated reasons. The truth is, there are more people who think like Tim than think like me - I can admit to that.
Yesterday's posting on The Underground Rooster was entitled Advice for Conway and Mongiardo, respectively the last names of a potential and expected candidate and an already-announced candidate for the United States Senate seat currently held by the man Martha Layne Collins defeated in her race for governor back in 1983. The election is next year.
Havrilek's column is copied in full below. Much like John McLaughlin does on his weekly political television commentary, Tim begins with some basics, then proceeds to throw out a topic, followed by his instructive and definitive take on said topic. (An aside, the McLaughlin Group can be seen in both Louisville and Hopkinsville on Friday nights at 8:30 on Kentucky Educational Television). So, read the column and I will offer some notes in an polite rebuttal at the end. For the record, the bolded words in his post are his, not mine.
Advice for Conway and Mongiardo
I'm always amazed how seemingly educated people can be as dumb as a box of rocks when it comes to politics in Kentucky. The issues that are important to Kentuckians cover a wide range. It is rare that your going to find anyone in Rural Kentucky agreeing on issues with Louisville, Lexington and Northern Kentucky. I have seen polling data for years that would argue against my position but the polling data doesn't vote and is usually wrong. Polling data is framed and spun usually to get the desired result for anybody but the candidate. When it comes to voting people in Rural Kentucky know what's important to them and it ain't going to be what some polling data conjured up.
It was brought to my attention that a person who is very interested in being a U.S. Senator had a private meeting with some potential supporters this past week in Western Kentucky. When it came time to discuss issues important to the area like agriculture, this candidate offered up and tried to convince the folks that one of best things farmers could do would be to support the thoroughbred and racing industry. No really it was the topic. Some where in this delusion there is supposed to a nexus between the agriculture industry and racing horses. This is brilliant. Why didn't we see this? How did all of us from the hinterland miss this?
I'm going to make this real simple for Jack and Daniel. It's not real hard to understand or to keep up. Here we go- There are not any farmers in Western Kentucky who give a damn about the thoroughbred industry, the racing industry, Keeneland, Churchill Downs or the Kentucky Derby Festival Week. With me so far. Ok, lets move on.
Farmers are Rural peeeople and tend to be very CONSERVATIVE. They don't go to the track they go to CHURCH. They don't GAMBLE they Tithe. Very few people down here know, understand or care about Derby Week. We don't celebrate those kind of weeks. Just so you know we take time out for the weeks of deer season, Easter Week, and the week of the County Fair. You know, that stuff that goes on in that big barn at the State Fair where Ritchie Farmer hangs out. Yep, that's the place.
If your going to come down to Western Kentucky and score some points you might want to consider what people want from a U.S. Senator. Agriculture, the Farm Bill and Ethanol would be a good issues to brush up on. Now keep in mind the farmers down here are all about corn and ethanol. Farmers are not interested in having a discussion about it they just want to know that your for it and will keep pumping millions of dollars into it. Corn equals dollars. We know that ethanol has driven the price of corn up and in turn raised the cost of feeding pigs and cattle. We know the cost of feeding a hog as gone up almost 100% in the last couple of years. We know that ethanol has driven food prices up and is effecting poor hungry people around the world. We know it's not energy efficient. We know what the gasoline equivalent is to raise the crop. We know-We just don't care and if your smart you won't care either.
Coal. Real simple here. Your motto is our motto. "Dig it, haul it, burn it". Were not interested in clean coal technology, mountain top removal and any of that global warming crap. We got it and we want to sell it now!! You just have to figure out how to help us do it.
Veterans and Military. Lots of these folk in Western Kentucky. They want to hear about the benefits they earned and providing for a well trained, well equipped military. You might keep in mind that Fort Campbell alone writes over 5 Billion dollars a year in checks. That's Billion with a "B". Pretty big industry for which you might want to brush up on. You might even come up with a plan to see if we can get a lot more of the 5 Billion since most of it is going else where.
Guns: Your for them. You hate people who are against them. You will fight like hell to keep the Liberal Democrats away from our guns and ammunition. You would gladly give up your life defending a Kentuckians right to own as many machine guns as they please. What ever you do don't mention Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. We despise them.
God and Jesus- It's ok to talk about how much you love Jesus because you won't offend anyone down here. Just make sure that none of your ancestors were part of the mob that murdered Jesus. That issue did not play out so well for someone I know in Frankfort. Your going to need a few Baptist Ministers so make sure you have a few on the payroll.
Abortion- Simple. Your against it.
Well that should get you two started. Don't let some consultant or DNC hack try to convince you that anyone down here wants the Federal Government to solve the heath care issues. Stay away from taxes and from the environment unless it concerns the LBL or habitat for Ducks and Wild Turkeys. Keep in mind that no one down here cares about what the rest of Nation thinks or for that matter Lexington, Louisville or Northern Kentucky. I wish you both the best of luck.
Posted by Tim Havrilek at 7:58 PM, March 29, 2009
My comments? Well, to start with, there is my favorite line in the post: "There are not any farmers in Western Kentucky who give a damn about the thoroughbred industry, the racing industry, Keeneland, Churchill Downs or the Kentucky Derby Festival Week." While most of us "up here" in Louisville do give a damn at least a little about most of those, we are keenly interested in the Kentucky Derby Festival as that is as close as most of us ever get to Churchill Downs each year for the Most Famous Two Minutes In Sports.
I do not doubt that farmers go to church and probably tithe. I'd say many of us here in Louisville do the same although hitting the 10% mark doesn't always happen. But we are Christians and Jews and a few others gathered congregations, along with our share of maybe-believers and non-believers. We also, admittedly, gamble.
Admittedly, we don't do a lot of hunting. We don't really know that deer season is sometime around Thanksgiving, although we think it is 'cause most of us have cousins or friends that head out early on a Saturday morning before daybreak and they send us pictures and presents, in the form of packages of meat wrapped in white paper suitable for freezing until needed.
We know about Easter Week, about Palm Sunday, Foot Washing and Passover on Thursday, and Good Friday. Most government offices close here at 12 noon on Good Friday. We also get ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday, something the good folk along the southern border may not know about.
And we know about Richie Farmer, although we're not all that clear on what he does, other than show up at the State Fair each August. Nonetheless, a majority of voters in Jefferson County supported him in both 2003 and 2007. For the record, a picture of Kentucky's Agriculture Commissioner from his days at the University of Kentucky has been posted on this blog from the beginning.
Ok, we don't know a hell of a lot about corn and ethanol. There used to be one gas station in Louiville that sold Ethanol-85; today there are none. We're not real clear on the politics of corn-for-fuel versus corn-for-consumption. We tend to think that is something for people in Iowa or Nebraska to be concerned about, and that is certainly a shortcoming on this end. But then you said we don't really need to worry about it and, believe me, chances are real good that we will follow your advice and not mention it again anytime soon.
We don't really know why but we're with you on Coal, for the most part. Despite the fact we have a hydroelectric plant here in Louisville, we get our electricity from coal-fired boilers, whatever that means. As the hub for the once-great Louisville and Nashville Railroad, most of us have family or friends who worked the trains, which for the most part, served to move Kentucky's coal from the coalfields to the river for shipment. Where we disagree is that many of us also believe in clean coal technology, even if we don't understand it. We support the president in his moves to bring clean coal technology to places like Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, so that we can continue to employ coalminers as we have done for years. And, we oppose Mountain Top Removal for purely environmental and aesthetic reasons, which may not be the best reasons to do so. Somewhere in there is a compromise.
Our new congressman, my friend John Yarmuth, has made Veterans Affairs a prime purpose in his service as a member of the United States House of Representatives. We have a VA hospital here that for too long got only lip service and is in great need. We have within forty miles a military installation, Fort Knox, which has had many ups and downs, but which has always been vitally important to Louisville. It is currently moving in an upward motion. I once wrote about the similarities of US41A in the Oak Grove area to that of US31W in the Radcliff area.
Ok, I know Tim likes a little hyperbole here and there. He rolled in it broad and deep with regard to guns. Most of us do not oppose anyone owning guns or ammunition - many of us have one near our bedside or in our garage - but it isn't for hunting. Most of us have a problem with anyone owning one or more machine guns. We have different takes on the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Even disregarding where the commas and capital letters are or aren't, I'm not sure the Founding Fathers wanted us to own one or more machine guns. I seem to recall something about a well regulated militia, but maybe that's just me.
The Mob That Murdered Jesus. Wow! I'm not sure if that's the Romans, the Priests, the Jews, or the Gentiles. But I won't get into religion as I've already covered it above. Most of us have a Baptist preacher somewhere in our family tree. Chances are good he made a little bourbon on the side, and may have even grown one form or another of tobacco. But I'm sure he didn't partake or inhale.
Abortion. Well, it's not for everybody. I'm against abortion, but I'm also against governmental or religious intrusion into what I do with my own personal Holy Temple, and I am sure lots of other people are too, and not just women. I acknowledge my view is a minority one here in the Commonwealth.
Tim closes with the comment, "that should get you two started." Thankfully, he didn't bring up gays - or immigration - or whether one puts spaghetti in chili - or bastardizes Kentucky Bourbon with anything other than an ice cube.
His comments and mine should get quite a few of you started too - those who agree more with him and those who agree more with me. The key in all of this is there are more things on which we agree than a handful of very black-and-white issues where we don't. I'm curious what you think.
Here is the link to Tim's blog. Go, Read, and Learn.
And Tim, thanks for being a sport and letting me make a response.