Fischer, Cassaro, Hollenbach – All in One Room

A muckraker’s dream come true! Even without alcohol.

Joe Sonka at BlueGrassRoots has the skinny on last night’s event:

I spoke with Greg Fischer briefly. I asked him about Iraq, and he started giving an answer about how he’d like to see us leave as soon as possible. It kind of ended abruptly when Schlechter pulled a recorder out. He didn’t seem too fond of expanding on policy on tape… I was going to ask him why he donated to Anne Northrup and how many other Republicans he’s donated to. But I already know the answer to that and had no bourbon, so I didn’t bother.

I spoke with Dr. Michael Cassaro as well. He kind of begged me to ask him questions, so I obliged. He was against the Iraq War, and I was about to ask him why he gave money to Republican campaigns, when one of my friends came over to introduce herself. She looked into his eyes and gave a VERY honest opinion about how he doesn’t have a chance and we need to avoid a nasty primary. She said that we don’t need to waste five months fighting each other, we need to start focusing on Mitch right now. It lasted about 10 minutes (or at least it seemed like it). And honestly, I looked at Cassaro, and….. I wouldn’t say he was crying, per se, but he was definitely welling up. He was kind of speechless. I was, frankly, in awe. It was rather stunning to see a citizen make a Senate candidate have that reaction. I’m thinking that $20 million in McConnell attacks ad would be slightly worse. You do the math.

And I also ran into one Todd Hollenbach (who I’ve heard refers to me as his “nemesis”). Jake got a hold of him first, and tried explaining to him how he really needs to publicly renounce Frank Simon, not just because it is the right thing to do, but that it would come back to haunt him politically. Todd continued to change the subject and refused to renounce Simon. I bit my tongue for the most part, but finally told him that it’s never wise to associate yourself with crazy bigots. That pretty much ended the conversation, and he was outta there.

Our thoughts after the jump…

Read moreFischer, Cassaro, Hollenbach – All in One Room

The Plain Truth from John Yarmuth

It’s hard not to like John Yarmuth. A year into his first-term as 3rd District Congressman, it’s obvious that he’s having a good time in Washington, but he’s also taking his job seriously. When he spoke to about 50 folks at Spalding University last night (a mix of journalists and students), he was eager and open in talking about his experiences. It almost felt like a family gathering (Yarmuth seems to get plenty of props from his colleagues for his media experience) where you catch up with the adventurous cousin who’s been away.

Yarmuth tells it like it is in a way that’s unusual in political circles. For one, he can admit mistakes, but he’s also willing to talk about the reasons behind his votes, even if those reasons are political. Before we get all “man-crush” on him, here are some of the topics he discussed:

Federal Shield Law: Yarmuth became a sponsor of the bill after he introduced himself, in a hallway, to Mike Pence (R-IN), who knew of Yarmuth’s publishing past and asked him to get involved. Yarmuth says that while the bill passed the House, it’s hung up in the Senate. The bill provides protections for reporters against being compelled to reveal confidential sources. Yarmuth is not a big fan of the way the Senate operates.

Read moreThe Plain Truth from John Yarmuth

Fear & McConnell in 2008

The spinmeisters are out in full force these days. But Danny Briscoe may be right that Democrats need to field a candidate who isn’t afraid of losing.

“The thing most complimentary you can say about Beshear is, having run twice statewide and lost and to come back and run a third time, it displays a lot of discipline and a lack of a fear of losing,” Briscoe said.

Just last week Andrew Horne told Ryan Alessi that he’s not afraid of losing.

“I’m not a politician. I am not afraid of losing. If I was worried about risk and danger, I woudn’t have joined the Marine Corps before I graduated high school. That’s not a concern for me,” he said. “I respond when my country needs me, not when it’s convenient.”

That’s just what needs to happen. A candidate like Horne needs to jump in the race instead of continually weighing their options like others seem to be doing. Some think traveling to D.C. and calling major donors are the only necessary motions to make at this stage of the game. But it’s a little late for testing the waters. You’re either in or you’re out. It’s time.

Oh. Contrary to Republican spin, Horne has never said he wants to “lose” the war in Iraq. Twisting words sure is fun.

Senate 08 Hopefuls & Awkward Commentary

Ryan Alessi has a great story today about potential senate contenders. A good read for a quick what-for in Democratic senatorial politics today. But we have to take issue with some of it.

Fischer didn’t return a call to his office, but his friend Matthew Barzun, a Louisville businessman and Democratic activist, said Fischer “is lining up support for a run.” He will make a formal announcement soon, Barzun added.

If the Browns of Louisville, who in the past have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for George Bush, think their Republican-lite friend Greg Fischer will be a good candidate purely because he has their financial backing, they’ll be squarely rejected. The Browns and other big name raisers need to think outside of their elite circle for a change. An honest change. Big business is not the answer.

Democratic leaders are insisting that the party isn’t panicking to find someone to take on McConnell, the U.S. Senate Republican leader who has shown some vulnerability in recent polling.

This is true. Democrats aren’t panicking to find a candidate because Democrats aren’t doing anything. Nothing at all. Aside from holding a fundraiser or two.

“There’s no question the Democratic Party will have a strong candidate in the race,” said U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, who took himself out of the party’s Senate sweepstakes weeks ago. “Who runs, I don’t think, is nearly as much of an issue as the political atmosphere and climate that exists.”

Ben Chandler is off his rocker if he doesn’t think the candidate we select matters. Greg Fischer, who has contributed to Republicans and never been active politically? Charlie Owen, a good man who absolutely couldn’t win or even hope to be a solid candidate because he’s never had the support necessary? Please. It matters. If we don’t run our strongest candidate– with no baggage– we have absolutely no hope of defeating Mitch McConnell.

Read moreSenate 08 Hopefuls & Awkward Commentary

Money & Such

Man. The sell-outs never give up, do they? Constantly recycling material from Page One and BlueGrassRoots.

Like we said, we’re not about back room deals. And we’re not about to rip someone else’s material off. We appreciate those who are honest. So thank you to those who know how to give props where props are due. We heart you.

Time to answer a couple questions again:

What kind of man is Andrew Horne? See for yourself. He smokes this man handily.

The money? Come on, people! Don’t act like the Democratic candidate opposing Mitch McConnell won’t be able to raise mad cash. Steve Beshear raised $7.07 million in his effort to defeat Ernie Fletcher. You read it correctly. Steve Beshear– Mr. Back-in-Frankfort-Again– raised $7.07 million. Beshear’s dedication paid off and everything he learned will be put to use in 2008.

Now, what was that again about a McConnell opponent not being able to raise money quickly in Kentucky?

Echo? What?

Crit’s Statement

From PolWatchersCrit Luallen’s official statement regarding the U.S. Senate:

“While I have been honored that so many respected state and national leaders have encouraged me to consider running for the United States Senate in 2008, I have no plans to enter the race. I have just been re-elected as State Auditor and look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of Kentucky in that capacity. The polls show that Mitch McConnell is certainly vulnerable and Kentuckians are ready for a change. I am confident that Democrats will field a strong candidate next year.”

UPDATE: Ugh. We hit post too quickly and didn’t include the rest of what we had to say: Crit Luallen is to be commended for her leadership in Kentucky. She’s given a lot of great people the guidance they have needed to become the future leaders of our Commonwealth and the world. Without her dedication the past decade we’d be a lot worse for the wear.

We’re hopeful that with Criit’s announcement we’ll all move toward raising money for Mitch’s future opponent and toward coming together as a community that forces necessary change upon the Bluegrass. We have a remarkable opportunity and with the help of people like the Auditor– we’ll get there.

Andrew Horne is Preparing for Battle

He may, unfortunately, be waiting for Crit Luallen to announce that she’s decided to stop holding this process hostage– but Andrew Horne is finally admitting to the mainstream press that he’s preparing for battle. He’ll run for the United States Senate against Mitch McConnell. Something I’ve been waiting, patiently and quietly, for weeks to discuss: someone, anyone who is not a career politician. (To toot our own horn a bit: read Alessi’s feature story proving much of what we’ve reported the past few weeks.)

I’ll save my detailed thoughts on the matter for a later date. For now, suffice it to say that Andrew shouldn’t wait on Crit to make her announcement. She’s already wasted way too much time. Being a gentleman is fine and dandy but this is kind of, um, serious. The time for courtesy delays has come and gone.

As much as I like and support Greg Stumbo, it’s becoming more and more a reality that a victory for him is, though not impossible, unlikely. I won’t bother getting into the negatives.

It’s time for Kentucky to consider another option. A non-politician who doesn’t sell out.

A Horne candidacy is refreshing. Andrew is baggage-free. He can smoke Mitch in debate, on the war, on social matters, on government waste, on supporting RED CHINA, on screwing the country. He fought a tough political battle against John Yarmuth in 2006 and came out a political leader. He’s been in Kentucky’s trenches ever since. He’s the kind of guy average citizens love. And he’s the kind of person who’d best be able to represent the Commonwealth in Washington, D.C. Because he’s just like you and me.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Andrew and his wife Steph personally for two years and in that amount of time I’ve seen him prove himself in every situation imaginable. From leading Vote Vets and serving as a spokesperson for Democrats on a national front to getting to know everyone and walking door-to-door, he’s made it clear that he’s the right man for the job. While I’ve grown to love the Horne family as my own and don’t want to see them covered in McConnell mud? There’s no denying he has to give this a shot.

But enough about the personal. There are several concerns to address.

After the jump…

Read moreAndrew Horne is Preparing for Battle