FRANKFORT — Matt Bevin trash-talks a "childish" Fancy Farm Picnic crowd. A federal grand jury indicts Jesse Benton, who heads a super PAC backing Sen. Rand Paul's presidential candidacy. An all-white state panel votes to keep a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis staring at the backside of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln's statue in the Capitol rotunda.
Where to begin? Where the most chuckles can be found, of course. By this standard, the Benton indictment wins hands down. Not because bribery of a politician is funny. It isn't, even when the particulars of a case seem as comical as this one
Benton and two cohorts are accused of paying an Iowa state senator $73,000 in 2012 to switch his allegiance from U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann to U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, Rand Paul's daddy, in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. When you think about folks involved in one hopeless loser's campaign allegedly risking jail time to steal a meaningless endorsement from another hopeless loser, a titter or two seems inevitable.
But the real belly laughs here come from the attempts by Rand Paul and Benton's attorney to spin the indictment as being politically motivated and politically timed because it was made public the day before Thursday's inaugural debate featuring contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
What Paul and Washington, D.C., lawyer Roscoe Howard want the world to believe is the Justice Department in a Democratic administration surveyed the entire field of umpteen thousand 2016 Republican presidential wannabes and skipped over Donald Trump (who deserves indictment for being a pompous ass suffering a bad-hair life), Jeb Bush (eminently indictable for being a nepotistic weed) and five others who got into Thursday's debate ahead of Paul (No. 8 and falling on the GOP Hit Parade) and said, "Paul's the dude we have to take out by indicting Jesse Benton."
All I know about Howard is he's an attorney trying to put the best face on his client. But I know from years of observing Rand Paul that he is prone to saying dumb things. Very, very, very dumb things. However, nothing he said in the past approaches the ridiculous stupidity of his claim that the Benton indictment is a politically motivated attempt to derail his presidential campaign.
No one but Paul and a few diehards around him cares about his presidential candidacy anymore. Certainly, no rational Democrat considers him a threat anywhere but in Kentucky (because we in the Bluegrass State are notorious for electing stupid people for all the wrong reasons). Paul's star is waning so fast he might well be on the outside looking in at the next debate involving Republican wannabes. He's destined to join his father as a hopeless loser in the footnotes of presidential campaign histories.
And he just made himself more laughable by claiming an indictment totally unrelated to his campaign was all about him. What an ego. What stupidity.
Jefferson Davis' statue needs to find a new home where it is not seen as being honored by state government. And the members of the state Historic Properties Advisory Commission who voted otherwise need to go. They permanently have put themselves on the wrong side of history.
If Gov. Steve Beshear has the power by executive order to move the statue and immediately replace the commission members who voted to keep it, he should do so. Otherwise, he will compound the negative legacy he created with appointments that left the University of Louisville Board of Trustees without a black member for the first time in 45 years.
Five years ago, Attorney General Jack Conway, a Kentucky native, ran for a U.S. Senate seat against Rand Paul, a non-Kentucky native who displayed his lack of knowledge about the state's history, geography, traditions, culture and problems on an almost daily basis. Paul won; Conway lost.
Now, Conway is running for governor against Matt Bevin, another non-native who displayed his disdain for Kentucky traditions by lecturing the Fancy Farm Picnic in the weirdest speech ever delivered there. Given Kentucky voters' penchant for electing people who hold them in disdain, I'd say Conway once again is in real trouble.
For the second year in a row, state Auditor Adam Edelen proved at Fancy Farm he is by far the best political orator in Kentucky. His remark in regard to Republican opposition to Medicaid expansion, "Maybe this side of the aisle should put down the books of Ayn Rand and pick up the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John," was the best line I've ever heard at the picnic. And unlike any of the other speakers, he delivered it without referring to any notes. Well done.
Reach Larry Dale Keeling at firstname.lastname@example.org.