Republicans Win Big In Kentucky, Setting Up A Big Fight Over Obamacare

Republican Matt Bevin picked up what comes as a surprise win to many observers, and that sets up a big fight over what had been a PPACA program that the White House has touted.

Matt Bevin Kentucky Governor

There weren’t many high-profile races on the ballot yesterday across the United States, of course. Virginia and New Jersey saw state legislative elections that didn’t really seen much change at all. Republicans in Virginia kept control of the State Senate for the final two years of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s term despite a strong effort by Democrats to take the chamber, which has fluctuated in control for several years now, back. New Jersey Democrats unsurprisingly held on to control of the state legislature there, although they did manage to hand Republicans something of a defeat in three legislative districts, a development that may not bode well for Republicans when the Governorship will be a completely open race in 2017 since Chris Christie cannot run for re-election. The Republican Governor won re-election in Mississippi against a token Democratic candidate, to the surprise of absolutely nobody. Elsewhere, the ballot was filled with the mixture of local races and ballot measures typical in an off-off-year election.

If there was one race that was the focus of national attention this year, though, it was in Kentucky where the state’s Governor’s office was up for re-election due to term limits, and a number of other statewide offices were on the ballot as well. As the race went on this summer and early fall, the lead fluctuated between Republican nominee Matt Bevin, best known for having been trounced last year in the Republican primary by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Democratic nominee and state Attorney General Jack Conway, who had lost a statewide race in 2010 to Senator Rand Paul in the Republican wave that swept the country that year. Also on the ballot was an Independent, Drew Curtis, whose poll numbers seemed to suggest he could be the deciding factor in the race. Heading into yesterday, though, polling seemed to suggest that Conway had the upper hand regardless of what impact Curtis had. As it turned out, though, it was Bevin who won a decsive victory, bringing other statewide Republicans alone with him, and becoming only the second Republican elected Governor of Kentucky in the past four decades:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Matt Bevin, a Republican political novice, wealthy Louisville businessman and Tea Party favorite, was elected Kentucky’s next governor on Tuesday and swept fellow Republicans into statewide office with him. The stunning victory heralds a new era in a state where Democrats have held the governor’s mansion for all but four of the last 44 years.

In beating his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Jack Conway, Mr. Bevin, 48, shocked people in his own party, who believed that the climate in Kentucky was ripe for a Republican but feared that Mr. Bevin, a charismatic conservative with a go-it-alone style, was too far out of the mainstream and too inexperienced to win.

But in a year when outsiders like Donald J. Trump and Ben Carson have captured the attention of voters in the Republican presidential race, Mr. Bevin’s tendency to thumb his nose at the political establishment — coupled with President Obama’s deep unpopularity here — helped him upend Kentucky’s political status quo.

“I’m proud of the fact that this is a great night for Republicans in Kentucky and, more importantly, a great night for conservatives in Kentucky,” Mr. Bevin told cheering supporters, who gathered at the Galt House Hotel overlooking the Ohio River. But, he added quickly, “we have a lot of work to do.”

Mr. Conway, a 46-year-old lawyer and two-term attorney general who has been in politics much of his adult life, conceded shortly before 9 p.m., looking subdued as he addressed fellow Democrats in downtown Frankfort, the state capital. To the people of Kentucky, he said, “I respect your decision.”

Of the six statewide offices in Kentucky, Republicans currently hold one; Tuesday’s results mean they will hold four — and Mr. Bevin’s running mate, Jenean Hampton, will make history as Kentucky’s first African-American to hold statewide office.

In one sign of how bad the night was for Kentucky Democrats, State Auditor Adam Edelen, seen by many as a rising star — and a possible 2016 challenger to Senator Rand Paul — lost his bid for re-election. However, Andy Beshear, the Democratic candidate for attorney general — and son of the incumbent governor — won his race, and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat who last year unsuccessfully challenged Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s Republican leader, was re-elected.

The Kentucky State Board of Elections said late Tuesday that Mr. Bevin had won 52 percent of the vote and had defeated Mr. Conway by more than 84,000 votes. An independent candidate drew about 4 percent of the vote statewide.

Mr. Bevin burst onto the political scene last year when he tried, and failed, to knock off Mr. McConnell, the state’s most powerful Republican, in a primary. Then, in May, he squeaked past three Republican opponents to win the primary for governor by just 83 votes. His critics complained he never unified the party, and heading into Election Day, nonpartisan analysts gave the edge to Mr. Conway.

But he is an aggressive retail campaigner, and in recent weeks traveled Kentucky in a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban with more than 200,000 miles on it; on Tuesday, he turned up at two Chick-fil-A restaurants here in Louisville, shaking hands in a last-minute bid for votes.

For Democrats, more than the governorship was at stake. Kentucky is the last state in the South where Democrats hold a legislative chamber — the Kentucky House — and without the governor’s mansion, their hold on that chamber is in danger.

“This changes the dynamics,” State Senator Robert Stivers, a Republican and the Senate president, said. “Instead of having one leg of the stool, we now have two legs of the stool — and the third leg is very weak.” Later, Mr. Stivers and Mr. Bevin appeared together onstage after Mr. Bevin’s victory speech, leading supporters in a chant of “Flip the House! Flip the House!”

Heading into Election Day, Republicans fretted that Mr. Bevin was frittering away an opportunity. But Bill Stone, a former chairman of theRepublican Party in Jefferson County, which includes Louisville, said many analysts had underestimated “how reviled” Mr. Obama and the Democrats are in Kentucky.

Mr. Obama’s health care law was an especially contentious issue in the race, and some see the Bevin victory as a rebuke to Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, who expanded Medicaid under the measure. An estimated 420,000 Kentuckians, nearly 10 percent of the state’s population, now have coverage as a result. Mr. Bevin, a fierce opponent of the health care law, at first said he would reverse it, but has since softened his position and said he would stop enrolling new people but would not take coverage from those who had it.


He held strong appeal to both fiscal and Christian conservatives; when Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk, who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was jailed, Mr. Bevin made a show of visiting her.

Mr. Conway, finishing his second term as attorney general, is a familiar figure to voters in Kentucky, where he has until now run an equal number of winning and losing campaigns. He ran for the House and lost to Anne Northup in 2000, was elected attorney general in 2007, lost his 2010 Senate bid to Senator Paul, and was re-elected attorney general in 2011.

The son of a prominent lawyer in Louisville, Mr. Conway hews mostly to traditional Democratic positions. He favors increasing the minimum wage (Mr. Bevin is opposed); is a strong backer of unions (Mr. Bevin favored “right-to-work” laws that would limit union organizing); and made early childhood education a centerpiece of his election campaign. (Mr. Bevin emphasized school vouchers.)

Bevin’s victory was something of a surprise to many outside observers, but at least part of that seems to be because the race was receiving very little national attention. One example can be seen in the fact that there had been so little polling of the race. The most recent poll listed at RealClearPolitics was taken in late June and showed Bevin with a small lead over Conway, while Pollster listed one other poll after that taken in October. While there wasn’t any reliable polling released after that point, apparently, there seemed to be a growing consensus that Conway would continue what had become something of a Kentucky tradition that had Democrats winning statewide elections for state-level offices, and Republicans winning statewide at the Federal level, as evidenced by McConnell’s solid victory a year ago. Indeed, at one point the Republican Governor’s Race seemed to give up on the race. Much of the commentary last night was about how Bevin’s massive win was a “surprise,” but it strikes me that it’s hard to characterize it that way considering the fact that most people didn’t really seem to be paying attention to the race. Additionally, the fact that Bevin’s win was so decisive, with preliminary final results showing him winning by nearly nine points, and the fact that he also helped Republican candidates for Auditor and Attorney General win their races and bring into office a Republican Lt. Governor who happens to be the first African-American to hold that position in Kentucky’s history, is a strong indication that last night was a good night for the GOP in the Commonwealth.

The win in Kentucky has national implications in three respects.

In addition to being a good night for Matt Bevin and the Kentucky Republican Party, last night was also a very good night for Rand Paul, whose Senate seat is up next year. Prior to last night, it was widely expected that Adam Edelen, the state’s Democratic Auditor, would be the party’s choice to challenge Paul in November of next year assuming that Paul is not the Republican Presidential nominee. With Edelen’s defeat last night, that possibility is essentially out the window and Kentucky Democrats are left struggling to find a candidate able to take on an incumbent Senator in a year where turnout will, if anything, be even better for Republicans in the state. Outgoing Governor Steve Behsear has made clear that he will not run for the seat, and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is unlikely to try to make another bid for a Senate seat so soon after her loss to McConnell last year. All of this takes away much of the pressure on Paul to consider dropping out of the Presidential race to concentrate on re-election to the Senate, a face that is evidence in his reaction to last night’s results in an interview with The Washington Post’s David Weigel. Suffice it to say, that Paul’s seat looks to be so secure now that he’s likely to stay in the race for the time being, while Kentucky Democrats are left trying to figure out who to run against him.

Second, as Chris Cillizza points out Bevin likely has President Obama to thank for his win last night. While Democrats had been winning statewide races in Kentucky quite easily, it has been apparent virtually since the moment he took office in 2009 that Barack Obama was deeply unpopular in the state. This was a factor that helped Rand Paul win in 2010, and Mitch McConnell brush back Democratic efforts to unseat him last year. Something similar seems to have happened this year, although one Kentucky political observer noted that what we saw last night could also be an indication that Kentucky is finally on the road to becoming as deeply red as many of its fellow southern states after decades in which Democrats managed to keep winning while fellow party members elsewhere in the south fell to defeat in a sea of red.

Last night’s results are also likely to set off the next round in the seemingly never-ending battle over the Affordable Care Act. Thanks to its Democratic Governor and legislature, Kentucky was one of those handful of states that set up their own health care insurance exchange, and it was one that at least on paper seemed to be so successful that it became a centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s efforts to tout the success of the overall bill. Republicans in the state, though, had long maintained that the exchange had saddled the state with unfunded obligations in the future that would cause serious budget issues, and Bevin made it clear throughout the campaign his intention to dismantle the program and transition Kentuckians to the Federal Exchange. His victory last night seems to guarantee that we’ll see a fight over the PPACA in the Bluegrass State next year, and the fact that the state legislature will remain divided with Republicans controlling the state Senate and Democrats holding the House means that its likely to be quite a fight indeed.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. Todd says:

    Governor Bevin will likely take away healthcare coverage from some of the low-income people who voted for him, but it won’t cost him politically, as it’s almost a sure bet that those people will simply blame the Federal government. Watch it happen.

  2. Scott says:

    I see this as a demonstration of the ability of the religious right to get out the vote. For those complacent Democrats who think 2016 will be easy, I hope this is a wake-up call. Culture war voting is stronger than voting for rational policies. Everybody poo-pooed Matt Yglesias article of a couple of weeks ago but I think he is right.

    This ignorance of what goes on in the country is a demonstration of the left wing information bubble that surrounds the urban centers of this country.

  3. Castanea says:


    Democrats are aware that low-quality people are going to choose resentment and attacking other vulnerable groups over solidarity. They just can’t do anything about it because the more you explain to stupid, socially regressive how wrong they are the more they hate you and refuse to listen. You think the people who reelect corrupt, incompetent society-destroyers like Walker and Brownback can be reached or convinced? They would ruin everything around them to hurt the people they hate.

    You can’t beat the Cretin’s Veto. You can only keep the stupid people down, shove sound decisions down their throats and try to limit the damage they do however you can.

  4. Scott says:

    @Castanea: Thank you for proving my point in my second paragraph. Your response will guarantee that you will lose. Instead of working hard to get people’s vote, you choose the lazy way out by name-calling and defeatism. A classic case of projection.

  5. Castanea says:

    @Scott: You can’t help people who don’t understand climate change, gay rights, women’s reproductive rights or the prevalence of racism.

    The difference is not philosophical, cultural or information-based, it is neurological. Some people want the barbarism, unfairness and humiliation of the weak that a night watchman/neo-liberal/Judeo-Christian society means, and they will mold their brains to reinforce their own certainty that they are right.

  6. Scott says:


    All I’ll say is this:

    “When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” — Jacob Riis

  7. Castanea says:

    @Scott: Oh sure, it is a slow fight. For example. all the pathetic stubbornness of the slavery states couldn’t stop the inevitability of the human right to marry for same-sex couples. But everything can be rolled back if a depression hits and the latent fear, hate and resentment among Whites blooms into embrasure of a charismatic fascist.

  8. Modulo Myself says:


    The ignorance is based on hope that the right doesn’t mean what it says. When you wash away the ignorance, you have a significant block of the American public who has become more reactionary regardless of what is going on around them. Bill Clinton (a good old boy from a single mom in nowhere Arkansas), the Iraq War, the financial crash–whatever happened these people went further to the right. There’s no definite way to reach a person who is furious about the expansion of Medicaid because it might cut into their Medicare. And the rage they feel against Obama is partially due to the fact that nationally the Democrats found out a way to get around this. It’s team-based. Their side is getting beat. So you might as well try to explain the objective greatness of the Yankee dynasty to a Red Sox fan.

  9. Kylopod says:

    and Bevin made it clear throughout the campaign his intention to dismantle the program and transition Kentuckians to the Federal Exchange.

    Because nothing says conservatism more than preferring the federal government run things than the states. How did we reach this point?

  10. Barfour says:

    I’m wondering if people will continue saying that Rand Paul could be vulnerable when he run for re-election next year. I’ve heard that even some Republicans were starting to express concern. A possible Democratic challenger to Paul lost an election yesterday. Kentucky is a reliably red state now, isn’t it?

  11. Stan says:

    Many white working class men vote Republican because they feel they’re being cheated by welfare programs that transfer money and benefits to lower income groups and because of Democratic support of identity politics issues that emphasize the rights of women, minorities, and the gay and lesbian community. I don’t think they’re right, but it’s a problem the Democrats have to address.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    Kentucky has seen a huge drop in the numbered of people un-insured.
    The GOP doesn’t like that. It is essential that 400,000 more Kentuckians be uninsured. Or the world will end.
    There is no cost benefit analysis that can explain this.
    Only hate. And fear.

  13. Modulo Myself says:


    Well, what if they’re right on the second question? What if the move to equality for minorities, women, and gay and trans people cheats certain white men of their privilege? Should it be halted?

  14. stonetools says:

    The reason Bevin won is simple : right wing voters, inflamed by the horror of the Kenyan Usurper in the White House, show up to vote for the guy who opposes him and promises to dismantle all the Usurper’s works.Fear and hatred gets the right wing voters to the polls, election after election.
    Democratic voters are OTOH only “meh” voters who don’t vote in off year elections.
    Note there is no logic to this. Bevin is promising to dismantle a program that helps 400,000 Kentuckians-and a lot of them probably voted for him . What are they thinking? Well, they aren’t thinking-they’re reacting to a call for tribal loyalty, dressed up in Atwater code, of course.
    All of this is bad news for progressives.Quite simply, we haven’t been able to get left wing voters out in sufficient numbers and haven’t been able to convince right wing voters to resist the call for tribal loyalty. Earnest liberal talk of appeal to economic interests, complete with pie charts, just aren’t working.
    Maybe we need better propaganda ( or if you prefer , messaging. Or maybe-and this is me at my most cynical-maybe we liberals just have to wait for the right wing voter’s chief bogeyman and object of hatred-Obama- to retire.

  15. JKB says:

    and bring into office a Republican Lt. Governor who happens to be the first African-American to hold that position in Kentucky’s history

    Well, Jenean Hampton is the first African-American to hold a state-wide office in KY…ever, but she is also a Black Tea Party Activist. Raised poor by a single mother in Detroit, she got her degree, paid off her student loans, joined the Air Force, and after an MBA became a plant manager in KY. After losing her job in 2012, she became politically involved and a Tea Party activist.

    That really doesn’t fit the DemProg/MSM narrative.

  16. C. Clavin says:


    Many white working class men vote Republican because they feel they’re being cheated

    Well they are…by the white upper class Republican establishment. That’s who has kept their wages flat as a platter of pi$$ for the last 30 years. Not the others. Not the old and the sick and the people working two jobs and still can’t make ends meet. (Yes Walmart and McDonalds…I’m looking at you.) Because that’s who makes up the vast majority of the 47% Republicans hate so much.
    And besides….how in the world would the Democratic party ever address an ingrown culture of prejudice and hate? Because that’s what your entire comment comes back to…fear and resentment of others not just like you…xenophobia.

  17. Modulo Myself says:


    And on the first question I would say that it’s very popular for liberals and Democrats in blue-state cities to portray red-state whites as moochers. The red-state whites know this, and, I suspect, worry that it’s true. But more importantly, the blue-state people who do this are in general eager to have someone to look down upon, and so are the red-state people. There’s very little difference between somebody posting a video of Kim Davis to prove how stupid she is versus someone posting a video of a classroom in Chicago to prove how thuggish and barbaric African-Americans are.

    What differentiates liberals and conservatives is that there are no conservatives who admit any of this any more.

  18. SenyorDave says:

    @JKB: I hope she also paid back any federal and state aid that she benefitted from. Or is it just more of the do as I say, not as I do. Like Paul Ryan pending his whole life on the gov’t payroll in several different ways, and then railing against the gov’t.

  19. Moosebreath says:

    The results last night seem to be a validation of the divisions in the country, with Democrats winning in blue states (including Pennsylvania, where 3 State Supreme Court seats were on the ballot at the same time for the first time since the 1700’s, and the Democrats won all 3 seats by 170,000+ votes, flipping control of the Court), and Republicans winning in red states.

  20. al-Ameda says:


    Many white working class men vote Republican because they feel they’re being cheated by welfare programs that transfer money and benefits to lower income groups and because of Democratic support of identity politics issues that emphasize the rights of women, minorities, and the gay and lesbian community. I don’t think they’re right, but it’s a problem the Democrats have to address.

    Stan, this has been a problem since the 1970s, and Reagan brought white working men over to the Republican Party for at least the next 2 generations. It just cannot be finessed by Democrats, and I’m not sure it needs to be – I’ve written off the white working class vote.

    I’m from a very conservative law-enforcement family, and of 11 people, I’m the only liberal. I can tell you that the prevailing sentiment among my parents and 7 of my siblings is that ‘undeserving’ people are recipients of most federal or state assistance (aka “my tax dollars”). Issues such as ‘reverse discrimination’ and ‘unions are no longer needed’ really resonate with them, and in no case have any of them experienced reverse discrimination, nor do any of them work in unionized environments. I cannot think of a single prominent policy headline issue that any of them express a positive view about. Conservatives are, and have been since 1988, angry resentful folks. — (all of that said, my family get togethers are fun and inspirational.)

  21. Moosebreath,

    Except Kentucky has been defying the Blue State/Red State paradigm for some time now. As I said, outside of the 1992 and 1996 elections when the presence of two Southerners on the ballot for the Democrats along with a strong third-party candidate shifted the state of play significantly, Republicans have generally done well in statewide Federal elections (i.e, for President and Senator) while Democrats have done well in statewide elections for state office and have controlled at least one half of the state legislature for some time now. Additionally, at least officially registered Democrats still outnumber registered Republicans in Kentucky considerably. It may well be the Kentucky is now becoming more like neighboring states such as Tennessee. If that’s true, we can expect to see more results like last night there going forward.

  22. CSK says:

    I just looked at Bevin’s website, and what he’s promising to do is end Kynect and transition the people on it into the federal exchanges. So I’m not sure how this constitutes the attack on APACA that conservatives think it is. If someone can clarify this, I’d appreciate it.

    A second point: Bevin makes much of being pro-life, pro-family, and pro-Second Amendment, or at least those are the three headline issues at his website’s home page. He is also a vocal supporter of Kim Davis. Is it possible that these four considerations superseded everything else?

  23. Modulo Myself says:


    I think you’re right in that all of these things–guns, families, and babies–are tangible aspects of life. Rejecting Obamacare is just a ritual. Going back to Kim Davis I suspect that what drives her supporters is not only her refusal to sign licenses and her jailing. It’s also the fact that she redeemed herself from a life of promiscuity and sin and was reborn.

    I don’t know how to interpret that mortality study which points to increased mortality for high-school educated whites, 40s and 50s, due to suicide, pills and booze, but I will say that the real fears of the people who are in Kentucky and in the Tea Party are probably those of falling, of ending up an alcoholic and unemployed, or in having your children do the same. Obama and his socialism is just a tiny part of this universe.

  24. CSK says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Thank you. And I agree with what you say. But that leaves the question of why some conservatives are regarding Bevin’s victory as a blow to Obamacare when, as far as I can see, he’s planning to put 400,000 people on it.

    Unless I’m grossly misunderstanding the very brief statement on his website, what he’s doing is reinforcing O’Care by doing this.

  25. Modulo Myself says:


    Wishful thinking and spin. They want to imagine their base as plucky fighters against big government eager for more tax cuts.

  26. C. Clavin says:

    @Modulo Myself:
    Of course Kentucky is one of the ten worst welfare queens…taking back $1.51 for every dollar sent to DC.
    So the idea that voters want to be all high and mighty about the others…people who need help paying for insurance…or in the case of some even getting insurance…is insane.

  27. Moosebreath says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “It may well be the Kentucky is now becoming more like neighboring states such as Tennessee. If that’s true, we can expect to see more results like last night there going forward.”

    I agree with you on this. The red states are becoming redder, just as the blue states are becoming bluer.

  28. cian says:

    It’s hard to understand. I look at Kansas- they re-elected a man who had already wrecked their state, and was likely to do even more damage second time round. Is it the reality that a majority are doing very well indeed, thank you, and feel next to nothing for the minority who are struggling? That the great American Heartland no longer cares about their neighbour?

  29. stonetools says:


    On the contrary, it fits the Tea Party narrative to a T (heh). Black person, raised in poverty, who raises himself from poverty with government help, but then turns his back on all that to espouse the conservative gospel for power and profit and become a Tea Party favorite-that’s almost a standard now. Earlier examples-Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, and of course, Ben Carson. She is just is the latest. And of course, there are plenty of white examples, foremost among them Speaker Ryan.

  30. Stan says:

    I’ve felt for years that the Democratic party should emphasize worker training, infrastructure improvement, and broad based transfer programs that benefit middle income people as well as the poor. I realize that people stuck in poverty have greater needs than the middle class and I understand that gays, lesbians, and minorities should be treated better, but the concentration of liberals on anti-poverty programs and on identity politics is a recipe for electoral disaster. When FDR insisted that Social Security benefits should go to everybody, not just the poor, he knew what he was doing. I hated Bill Clinton’s triangulation policies at the time he was carrying them out, but in retrospect he knew what he was doing too. Speaking as a liberal, we’re lucky that the Republicans will probably nominate idiots like Trump or Carson or sleaze balls like Cruz or Rubio. But we can’t rely on luck forever.

  31. stonetools says:


    I’ve felt for years that the Democratic party should emphasize worker training, infrastructure improvement, and broad based transfer programs that benefit middle income people as well as the poor

    Actually, the Democrats do that. See the stimulus. See the ACA. Obama pitches his agenda as a fight to expand the middle class against the rich. But the messenger is black, and that’s all the white working class is seeing. Whatever Obama is saying and whatever the specifics of the his agenda , it’s seen as taking money from “deserving” white people to the “undeserving poor” and minorities-who are often seen as one and the same. Now when Clinton becomes the face of the Democratic Party, will things change? We’ll see.

  32. Modulo Myself says:


    This is the problem. What you are saying is that the only kind of politics that white working/middle-class people in Kentucky will accept is one that is tailored to them and pays no heed to ‘identity politics’ or the poor. Like 100% white Red State and nobody else, i.e. the Republican Party.

    It’s just weak.

  33. C. Clavin says:

    How racist to you have to be to decide that a black person can’t lose their minds, the same as all the white people in those silly tri-corn hats yelling at the government to stay out of their social security???? Or at Obama for raising their taxes…that he actually lowered.
    You really think no black people voted for Kansas Governor Brownback…who then proceeded to pursue the entire Republican economic agenda…and destroyed the Kansas economy in the process?
    People vote against their best interests all the time…people of all races.

    Raised poor by a single mother in Detroit, she got her degree, paid off her student loans, joined the Air Force, and after an MBA became a plant manager in KY.

    How much help did she get along the way? Help she and you and yours now want to deny others in the same position she was back in Detroit. You’re thinking she did that all on her own? No Pell Grants…that Republicans now want to cut? Her mother got no assistance when she was young…that Republicans want to slash?
    Seriously, man…comments like yours prove to me that in order to vote Republican you have to be ignorant.

  34. KM says:


    I realize that people stuck in poverty have greater needs than the middle class and I understand that gays, lesbians, and minorities should be treated better, but the concentration of liberals on anti-poverty programs and on identity politics is a recipe for electoral disaster.

    This sounds perilously close to “with all deliberate speed”. In order to assuage the fragile egos of the majority, the minority has to bide its time till the majority is comfortable and appeased. The “middle class” is fluid and can easily contain one or more of the above groups – “minority politics” can easily affect someone in your family (female being most common). Helping them *IS* helping the middle class and the country at large. It’s incredibly unfair to tell someone in dire straits they need to just chill a little longer so the suburban soccer mom doesn’t feel alienated even though she loses nothing in the process. It values feelings over practicality, perceptions over reality, resentment over genuine hurt.

    There is a huge segment of the population that suddenly facing some deeply unpleasant truths: namely, they don’t matter enough in the big picture to have automatic first priority and that their voice isn’t the only voice. Life is not a zero sum game; someone else winning doesn’t mean you’re losing. Exactly how long is the rest of America supposed to wait anyways?

  35. Blue Galangal says:

    @C. Clavin: Not only that, but it occurred to me that she might be a pretty smart lady, with an eye to the main chance: losing her private industry job, maybe she looked around and said, “What kind of job could i get with guaranteed pension, benefits, and paid time off where people will actively court me to be in the running?” (Although I’m not generally a cynic, it’s worth noting that her race was raised already as a “so there!” example to the godless liberals who inhabit OTB; given that, it’s fair to say it was an opportunity that would benefit both her and the Republican Party in Kentucky.) So, like many Republicans who hate government so much they can’t wait to work for it all their lives, off she goes to a government job.

  36. MikeSJ says:


    There are around 100,000 people on the state exchange. Bevin will transition them to the Federal exchange instead and close the state run plan. Overall not a real problem other than unnecessary red tape.

    There are ~400,000 people getting covered in the state through an expansion of Medicare. This expansion is optional for the states. Bevin has promised to end that expansion. Those 400,000 people will no longer have health insurance.

    They will be royally screwed if that happens.

    My hope is the hospital groups and medical establishment tell Bevin that they will not take uninsured patients and will close their doors instead. That may get his attention.

    I suspect that sadism plays a bigger role in all of this than most people believe. Some people just really enjoy hurting others. It does explain a lot.

  37. stonetools says:

    Indeed, I think the only thing that might prevent Bevin from taking away expanded Medicaid ( Not Medicare, btw) is that the hospitals and Big Pharma are going to fight Bevin tooth and nail on this. He and his supporters won’t care about the poor people they’re hurting( Heck, conservatives glory in kicking the poors-especially if they are black). But they get the knee pads out immediately when business interests walk into the room. My guess is Bevin is going to be surprised as heck when the health care industry lobbyists show up in support of keeping expanded Medicaid.

  38. MikeSJ says:


    I’d agree that normally Big Business would get their wish list satisfied and paying customers won’t get their insurance yanked. Big Medicine really doesn’t want to have to treat uninsured patients and the legislature shouldn’t want to allocate funds for this expense.

    Normally that’s what would happen.

    But I get the sense that sticking it to the poors and the blacks is just too tempting, too enjoyable for the right wing to pass on. I see it in the comments – the glee at the thought of hurting people. I see it in the abdication of responsibility of the press that treats this as an academic exercise with no thought whatsoever of real people being affected.

    We’ll see what happens. I hope I’m wrong.

  39. C. Clavin says:


    the hospitals and Big Pharma are going to fight Bevin tooth and nail on this

    I think that’s right…and the guy that Turtle Face called pathological will have to anger his supporters because he isn’t going to anger the money people.

  40. C. Clavin says:

    From Salon:

    Bevin accepted $100,000 in state money from New Hampshire via a matching grant when his family bell factory burned down. When asked why he didn’t have the insurance which would have covered the factory’s reconstruction, Bevin told reporters that the price of the insurance was too high.

  41. grumpy realist says:

    @C. Clavin: Are we surprised at yet another case of IGMFY?

    Well, if the people of Kentucky didn’t want what’s coming down on them like an asteroid, they should have gotten out and voted differently. How many voted–30%?

    The one rule I believe: Stupidity should hurt. Guess Kentucky will have to have that lesson rammed home to them in spades.

  42. ernieyeball says:

    @MikeSJ:..Some people just really enjoy hurting others. It does explain a lot.

    “It’s just too bad we can’t have an epidemic of botulism.”
    Republican Gov. Ronald Reagans reaction to ransom demands by the Symbionese Liberation Army after they kidnapped Patty Hearst.
    The abduction occurred in February 1974. One of the SLA’s demands was a free food program. Patty’s father, Randolph Hearst, publisher of the San Francisco Examiner, arranged for such a project in Oakland.
    Rightous Ronnie was commenting on the long line of people waiting for free food.

  43. ernieyeball says:


  44. JKB says:

    A call for Democratic Party revival in Kentucky

    Go listen, get some ole time religion. And prepare for the horse with the little lady next year.

    Now the oddity is this guy does not sound like the Democrats here, in DC or who get on the TV shows. Is it him or is the Party out of touch with middle American Democrats?

  45. Monala says:

    @Castanea: @Modulo Myself: I think Scott was also trying to address reaching out to Democratic-leaning people who don’t vote (or only vote if strongly inspired, as they did in 2008 for Obama). There just may be enough of them to defeat the Republicans, but how do we get them to the polls?

  46. Monala says:

    @JKB: What doesn’t fit the liberal/progressive narrative? That African-Americans have her background and accomplishments, or that she’s a Tea Partyier? Because if it’s the former, you’re wrong. There are many, many African-Americans with similar stories who are liberal./progressive. Here’s a story about someone just elected to my local city council:

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