Friday, July 31, 2015

Last Call For Bevin's Ballast

Looks like Republican Matt Bevin's comments on destroying Medicare expansion and Kynect here in Kentucky if elected as governor in last week's farm bureau forum with AG Jack Conway hurt him somewhat, as he's now down three points in the latest Bluegrass Poll after a four point lead in June.

Despite a summer of social change and subsequent conservative backlash, Attorney General Jack Conway holds a slim advantage over Republican Matt Bevin in this year's race for Kentucky governor, according to a new Bluegrass Poll.

Conway, the Democratic nominee, leads Bevin 45 percent to 42 percent, with 13 percent of voters undecided.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, which means the two candidates are locked in a toss-up race with large numbers of voters up for grabs just before Saturday's Fancy Farm picnic, the annual event in Western Kentucky that serves as the unofficial kick-off for the fall campaigns.

The survey of 685 likely voters was conducted July 22-28 by SurveyUSA on behalf of the Herald-Leader and WKYT-TV in Lexington and The Courier-Journal and WHAS-TV in Louisville. Seventy-two percent of respondents were surveyed on their home telephone and 28 percent were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device.

The wild card remains independent candidate Drew Curtis (we're famous for those here.)

When potential independent candidate Drew Curtis, the founder of alternative news website, is added to the mix, he takes support from both candidates. Curtis polled at 8 percent, leaving Conway with 43 percent and Bevin with 38 percent.

Bevin, a party outsider who ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in last year's GOP Senate primary, has picked up support among Republicans since winning the gubernatorial primary in May, when he trailed Conway 37 percent to 48 percent, but there are signs that he continues to have problems uniting his party.

Among registered Republicans, 15 percent said they plan to vote for Conway. More than 1 in 4 of those who consider themselves "conservative" said they plan to vote for Conway, as did 15 percent of those who described themselves as "very conservative."

Likewise, a substantial number of Democrats — 20 percent — support Bevin over Conway, though that number is less surprising given that many conservative Kentucky Democrats routinely vote for Republican candidates.

And yes, as much as it enrages me to say this, it turns out that Conway running against Obama isn't hurting him as much as I thought, and may actually be a net benefit to him as Republicans see Bevin as too much of a nutbar and may vote for Conway. They remember Bevin's attack on Mitch the Turtle last year, and they also remember that Bevin barely got a third of the GOP vote in the primary this year.  The guy just isn't that popular.

Jim Chappell, 64, of Louisville, said he would vote for Conway because Conway is not a Republican.

"I think Republicans have a disgusting philosophy," Chappell said. "If Donald Duck was running against them, I would vote for Donald Duck."

Jessica Whitedove, 67, of Perry County, said Conway is the lesser of two evils, but there are no good options in the governor's race.

"We don't have much to choose from. We really don't, and that is sad, but you've got to pick somebody," Whitedove said. "We can not let the Republicans rule. I'm going to watch another debate, then I'll make my final decision, I guess."

Read more here:

Of course, neither is Jack Conway.

Jim Weaks, 50, of Louisville, said he'll likely vote for Bevin because Conway does not follow through on his promises.

"Jack Conway is a guy that stands and says all kinds of stuff, but he doesn't do anything," Weaks said. "He's a good talker, he's a good spokesman, but I don't believe anything that comes out of his mouth."

Read more here:

We'll see how much support bleeds to Drew Curtis.

Read more here:

Always Overplaying Their Hand

You can always count on Republicans to take an issue that's gaining traction and starting to scare Democrats in Washington (like, say, the manufactured outrage over Planned Parenthood) and find a way to seriously screw it up.

Calling next week’s Senate roll call to defund Planned Parenthood a “legislative show vote,” GOP firebrand Ted Cruz said Republicans should do everything they can to eliminate federal money for the group — even if it means a government shutdown fight this fall
He’s not alone. On Wednesday afternoon, 18 House Republicans told leadership that they “cannot and will not support any funding resolution … that contains any funding for Planned Parenthood.Meanwhile, GOP social conservatives like Sens. James Lankford of Oklahoma and Jeff Sessions of Alabama said they’d consider supporting an effort to attach a spending rider that would eliminate Planned Parenthood’s $528 million in annual government funding to must-pass spending legislation this fall.

It’s a potentially ominous sign for GOP leaders desperate to avoid another shutdown debacle. While Cruz may be radioactive in the Senate GOP conference after calling his leader a liar, his analysis of next week’s vote has merit: With Democrats vowing to block the measure, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) won’t be able to get the 60 votes he needs to advance the bill next week, a result that likely won’t satisfy a conservative base itching for confrontation over abortion. 
In a Wednesday interview, Cruz said the GOP should go as hard as it can to block funding for Planned Parenthood, including the same strategy he tried to use to defund Obamacare in 2013: force the issue by blocking funding in a government spending bill that must pass by Sept. 30. 
Asked whether he would support such a maneuver again, Cruz replied: “I would support any and all legislative efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. We do not need a legislative show-vote.”

Cruz may have made an idiot out of himself and shut the government down in 2013, but Republicans didn't pay anything close to an actual price, gaining the Senate and a bunch of House seats in the 2014 midterms.

But the 2016 presidential election is a different animal, and if Ted Cruz shuts down the government over Planned Parenthood, he's playing right into Hillary Clinton's hands.

So go for it, Republicans!  Make headlines for all those campaign commercials for the rest of the election cycle.

Hell, we might even win because of him.

A History Of Surrender

After a year of bullying by Republicans, the College Board has released this year's revisions to AP US History courses, and of course the conservative viewpoint of America, Greatest Country Of Ever, is now center stage.

The revisions consolidate learning objectives -- 19 are listed this year, down from 50 last year -- and seek to make sure "statements are clearer and more historically precise, and less open to misinterpretation or perceptions of imbalance." 
The revisions broaden how the curriculum explores American national identity and unity and how it looks at ideals of liberty, citizenship and self-governance. This includes considering American exceptionalism, which was not explicitly mentioned in last year's curriculum -- an absence that became a rallying point for conservative critics.

This year's changes highlight the nation's founding documents and founding political leaders, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin. The curriculum includes considering the productive role of free enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation in shaping U.S. history. It explores America's role and sacrifices during World War I and II and U.S. leadership in ending the Cold War.

When last year's framework was released, the Republican National Committee passed a resolution condemning the course, decrying it as a "radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation's history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects." 
The RNC resolution urged Congress to withhold any federal funding to the College Board, the private company that designs AP curriculums and the SAT and AP exams, until the course was rewritten. It called for a congressional investigation and at least a one-year delay in implementing the course so a committee of lawmakers, educators and parents could come up with a new version that would tell "the true history" of the country.

Looks like the College Board folks did the RNC's work for them.  In fact, conservatives seem pretty darn happy about the changes where the College Board faced the loss of millions in funding unless they literally rewrote the history books to favor the Republican viewpoints on WW II:

In the 2015 version, the first bullet now reads: “Americans viewed the war as a fight for the survival of freedom and democracy against fascist and militarist ideologies. This perspective was later reinforced by revelations about Japanese wartime atrocities, Nazi concentration camps, and the Holocaust.” The framework still notes the internment of Japanese Americans and the moral complexities of dropping the atomic bomb, but these are now situated in a broader, more textured tale. Teachers have plenty of room to emphasize moral ambiguities and contemporary critiques, as they well should — but it’s no longer implied that those are the whole story.

Murca. Hell yeah.  Just like Reagan won the Cold War by himself:

Of Reagan’s role in ending the Cold War, the 2014 framework read (in its laughable entirety): “President Ronald Reagan, who initially rejected d├ętente with increased defense spending, military action, and bellicose rhetoric, later developed a friendly relationship with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.” The framework managed to depict Reagan as simultaneously a bully and a naif. That’s the view of left-wing history departments, of course, but it is cartoon history. The 2015 framework now reads, “Reagan asserted U.S. opposition to communism through speeches, diplomatic efforts, limited military interventions, and a buildup of nuclear and conventional weapons,” and notes that these actions “were important in ending the Cold War.”

What's not mentioned about Reagan?  How he sold weapons to Iran, stifled federal AIDS research, and tripled the national debt.

No, that treatment gets reserved for Democrats like FDR.

Whereas the 2014 framework gave hagiographic accounts of FDR’s and LBJ’s domestic initiatives, the 2015 version gives a much more tempered account. The 2014 framework explained, “The liberalism of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal drew on earlier progressive ideas and represented a multifaceted approach to both the causes and effects of the Great Depression.” The 2015 framework now reads, “Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal attempted to end the Great Depression by using government power to provide relief to the poor, stimulate recovery, and reform the American economy.” This is both less starry-eyed and more accurate.

More accurate of course if your idea of accuracy involves "Democrats are evil."  But hey, history is written by the winners, right?


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