New Senate has strong Kentucky influence
If we learned anything from this year's mid-term elections, it was that the American public is fed up with Washington.
Although results indicate the tide seems to be flowing toward Republicans, this election was more a referendum on the ineptitude of many incumbents.
However, the election positioned two members from Kentucky's congressional delegation in Washington to significantly influence our nation's political agenda the next two years.
Mitch McConnell, recently re-elected Senate minority leader, will likely stall or significantly influence much of President Barack Obama's agenda. You can expect Obama will maintain much closer communication with McConnell if he hopes to accomplish anything on his domestic agenda.
Meanwhile, Sen.-elect Rand Paul heads to Washington promising to transform the way things work on Capitol Hill. Although historically freshmen senators have not exerted a significant amount of influence, don't expect this to be the case with Paul.
In fact, Paul's impact is already being felt with the recent announcement by McConnell agreeing to a budget earmark moratorium by Republicans. This is evidence Paul and others supported by the Tea Party movement are shifting the dynamics in Congress.
It will be fascinating to watch our two Kentucky senators influence both policy and the political landscape over the next two years, from different positions on the playing field. Regardless, expect both men to work together to shift the course in Washington.
As Charles Dudley Warner once stated, "Politics makes strange bedfellows."
Money fails in election
"The 'will of the American people' ... is in large part the result of an unprecedented flood of money from unidentified contributors," wrote Daniel B. Rowland. This excuse may soothe hurt feelings among Democrats today, but it won't help their chances of electoral success tomorrow.
The money that flooded the 2010 elections roughly leveled out between the parties, according to the non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute. In the most competitive House races, heavy spending by the Democratic Party offset the Republicans' advantage in outside contributions. The 50-plus Democratic incumbents who lost to Republicans outspent their opponents by an average of 46 percent.
Even if the numbers had suggested superior fund-raising beat Democrats, the picture would be incomplete. What money can buy for a candidate — advertising volume — is showing signs of reaching a saturation point.
Wrestling impresario Linda McMahon spent $50 million of her fortune on an unsuccessful run for the Senate; polls showed Connecticut voters grew tired of her advertising. E-Bay founder Meg Whitman plowed $142 million into a bid for California's governorship — the largest sum ever spent from personal funds on a political campaign — and lost by double digits to Jerry Brown.
Rowland should consider the possibility that the will of the people is the motivation behind campaign contributions, not their end result. His formulation reeks of the condescension popularized in the 1950s by John Kenneth Galbraith, who proposed that ordinary Americans misunderstood what was good for them because they'd been brainwashed by mass advertising.
Now that the elections are behind us and we have blamed the government for loss of jobs and takeover of our lives, let's put the blame where it really belongs.
Corporations can make more money by shipping jobs overseas. We support them by purchasing all their cheap goods. How soon we forget the poisoned dog food, lead in toys, smelly Tylenol and appliances that keep breaking down.
We are told these jobs will not come back — come up with something else. We could bring jobs back if we boycotted imports. If you are willing to look, you will find many American-made items. Let the manufacturers and retail stores know you want American products.Support American jobs, and they will grow.
Let's e-mail, write, shout, pass it on: Make it an American Christmas.
A. Kathryn Bagby
Wrong target for debt
President Barack Obama appointed a commission of bi-partisan, high-income people to work on reducing the national debt.
This committee, none of whom is dependent upon Social Security for living expenses, recommended reducing cost-of-living increases for Social Security, raising the retirement age, and limiting or eliminating mortgage interest deductions.
Nothing was included for reductions of salaries and benefits of elected leaders — none of whom is dependent upon Social Security.
Did not our political leaders receive raises the past two years? Social Security recipients did not. When elected officials go to Walter Reed for their annual physicals, just how much do they pay?
What is the take-home pay of all the national officials? It must not be much, because we have to pay for all junkets they decide on their own to take. Voters are only to trust them and foot the bill.
Republican Kentucky Senate President David Williams now wants a repeal of a constitutional amendment that took the power to appoint U.S. senators away from state legislatures and gave it to voters.
Williams and Richie Farmer (who way overspent on Agriculture Department cars) expect us to be so dumb we will not remember their true opinion of the "little people" (also known as voters) the next election.
Joann L. Walker
Unemployment may be high in some places, but not in Lexington. He has not even been sworn in, and the new mayor already has hired two high-priced political cronies.
Why do we need both a chief of staff and a chief administrative officer? How do their duties differ?
Keep Pett going
Joel Pett is the jewel of the otherwise mediocre local paper. Please keep him alive and kicking for as long as you can.
Jan Hendrik Kraal Zeeman
Am I the only one complaining about the price of gas?
I cannot understand how it can go from $2.69 to $2.95 overnight. I live on a fixed income, and everything is going up but my income. I am glad I do not drive an SUV.
Maybe someone can explain this to me.
'Jim Crow' McConnell
I have finally figured out the problem with Mitch McConnell. He was born and raised in Alabama and can't get past the "Jim Crow" phase.