FRANKFORT — This and that as the Tuesday filing deadline for gubernatorial wannabes (and wannabes for assorted lesser offices) nears:
Kentuckians are less than three months removed from the hell of being subjected to a months-long 24/7 barrage of TV campaign ads fueled by upwards of $100 million spent on the 2014 U.S. Senate race and lesser amounts spent in congressional and state legislative races.
We haven't had time to fully recover. Or to get so fed up with the latest round of routine TV ads we've started throwing pillows at the set. But up steps Hal Heiner, one of the Republican gubernatorial wannabes, with the first TV ad of the 2015 campaign.
AARGH! I'm not ready for this.
Give me beer ads, car ads, food ads, appliance ads, one-day sale ads, upcoming program ads, ads touting the latest miracle cure for common medical conditions, ads touting the latest miracle cure for exotic and/or embarrassing medical conditions, hair restoration ads, hair removal ads, ads touting law firms' ability to get you megabucks for any misfortune you encounter, even ads touting items "not found in any store" for very good reasons.
But not campaign ads. Not yet. Particularly not a campaign ad that tries to draw some disingenuous distinction between Heiner (a "politician" by virtue of being a former Louisville Metro Council member and a former mayoral candidate) and "politicians in Frankfort," a position he now aspires to by virtue of being a gubernatorial candidate. Performance, not locale, separates one politician from another.
Besides, if life were fair, an immutable cosmic rule would condemn to defeat the first "politician" to interrupt normal 2015 TV advertising for Kentuckians who still need time to recover from the hell of 2014.
Lots of Kentucky Democrats fret about Attorney General Jack Conway, a Louisville native, not being able to attract enough votes in rural areas of the state to win the governor's race. As of this writing, though, none of the whiners have stepped up to challenge him, which suggests to me they are more worried about getting their own butts kicked (either by Conway in the primary or by a Republican in the fall) than they are about Democrats losing the governor's office in 2015 and control of the House in 2016.
This is hardly surprising since Democrats, unlike Republicans, almost always put personal interests above the good of their party.
But these Democrats' consternation over a Conway candidacy may be overblown. The 2015 Jack Conway appears to have learned some lessons from three statewide campaigns (two winning races for attorney general bracketed around a 2010 U.S. Senate loss to Rand Paul) and a losing 3rd District congressional race going back a few years.
After the infamous disaster of airing an ad treating Paul's alleged "Aqua Buddha" episode as a serious matter of faith instead of the laughing matter it should have been, Conway says he will trust his gut in this campaign instead of trusting national consultants.
And he obviously learned from Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes' biggest faux pas in her challenge of now U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: her refusal to say whether she voted for President Barack Obama.
On the day he filed for the governor's race, Conway said, "You can ask me, did you vote for Obama. The answer is 'Yes, and then I sued him'" over Environmental Protection Agency coal regulations.
Issue addressed; issue negated.
My favorite piece of legislation filed during the opening week of the 2015 General Assembly is Senate Bill 11, sponsored by Sen. Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, which would require witnesses appearing before legislative committees to take the same oath witnesses in court proceedings take.
If SB 11 were to become law and witnesses had to swear to tell legislative committees the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, the two-hour time allotment now set aside for most committee meetings could be reduced to 15 minutes, if not less.
Reach Larry Dale Keeling at firstname.lastname@example.org.