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Thoughts on Monday’s Daviess County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner

May 4, 2010

I went out to Reid’s Orchard Monday night for the Daviess County GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner, and just wanted to offer some thoughts and quotes beyond what appeared in M-I reporter Dariush Shafa‘s article today.

  • I think it was the first time I’d ever heard a candidate say he wanted to “give a shout-out to Ike.” That was from Joe Bowen, who’s running for the Kentucky Senate in the 8th District, and will face Democrat David Boswell this fall. Bowen was recounting his father’s era, and told the crowd that he’d like to see a return to the days of President Dwight Eisenhower. “Government is too  much a part of our lives today and we need to get back to a time when they weren’t involved,” Bowen told the crowd.
  • Bowen wasn’t the only Republican to aim at the size of government. His speech and that of Ben Boarman, who’s running for the Kentucky House, 13th District, had some common themes about the size and spending of government. Some of that spending is wrapped up in the legislative retirements of Kentucky lawmakers, and Boarman had the unique pledge to refuse any retirement benefits he might be eligible for as a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, which generated a round of applause
  • Gurley Martin may not have the best shot at winning his party’s nomination in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race, but he had one of the better quotes of the night. An Owensboro resident born in 1923, Martin told the crowd he had the right credentials to turn the country around. “It’s going to take some real people with real guts and some real old men to do it,” Martin said to laughter.
  • The frontrunners for the U.S. Senate nomination – Trey Grayson and Rand Paul – largely took the high road in their comments, though both have been going after each other aggressively for the last several months. Paul did note his recent endorsement by Dr. James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family. Dobson had endorsed Grayson last week, but on Monday announced he was switching his endorsement to Paul after receiving new information about Paul’s stances on abortion.
  • True to form, none of the candidates who spoke ever mentioned the names of their opponents, which I’ve always found to be an interesting omission. I understand the idea of not giving your opponent any air time, but it’s always been my opinion that it just sounds awkward to continually refer to “my opponent.” That reminded me of the following exchange from the TV show “The West Wing,” and the advice that character Jed Bartlet received from campaign staffers when he was a long shot to win the presidency. Here’s the exchange –

CAL – Sir, not to put my head in the lion’s mouth but by saying the name of your opponent in public you’re essentially giving him free advertising.

JERRY – Cal thinks you should start referring to him as “my opponent” or “the other
guy”?

CAL – Sir.

BARTLET – You’re not afraid he’s gonna make me look like I can’t remember his name?

JERRY – No.

BARTLET – I am. I think it’s going to make me look like I can’t remember his name. I
think it’s going to make me look addled. I think it’s going to make me look dotty. And
even if it didn’t make me look like those things it would remain a stupid idea. What’s
next? Nothing? Excellent.

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