Hrmm. Joe Gerth has a fascinating column out in today’s C-J that is notable for a few reasons, but mainly it’s about how state AG Jack Conway used more curse words than any other speaker at Saturday’s Fancy Farm Picnic and how he is now therefore liable to get painted as a “Hitler” by his primary opponent, Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo (whom is implicitly unscrupulous enough to capitalize on such vapid minutia). This apparently parallels what actually happened to another Democrat, Scotty Baesler, at the hands of a then-less crazy and equally unscrupulous Jim “RIP” Bunning back in ’98. Gerth even coined a neologism — i.e. “pulling a baesler” — with which to describe such short-sighted and potentially self-knee-capping oratory.
I guess what’s interesting here is that what happens in Fancy Farm doesn’t necessarily stay in Fancy Farm, especially if your opponents can make you look like a Nazi on YouTube.
But what’s truly fascinating is how the respectable Gerth glosses over the fact that this is a dumb event, full of dumb, fiery speeches and even dumber off-stage behavior. (By “dumb” I don’t mean to imply that ‘Farmers themselves are dumb, but that they exhibit dumbness as a result of a social dynamic steeped in ornery tradition, sweltering heat and mass consumption of pig flesh and pull-tab) Everybody says dumb things there — it’s part of the sophomoric fun — and so what ultimately did Baesler in wasn’t that Kentuckians actually thought he was the second coming of Adolf Hitler (although there were probably quite a few who did) but that he virtually handed-over Bunning’s own 4th district by not campaigning there at all and so was automatically at a huge numerical disadvantage.
And where he did actually campaign, he didn’t campaign very well; allowed the Bunning camp to get away with running bullshit distortionist ads in a state increasingly trending toward voting Republican in national elections anyway; all of it indicative of a ground game so poor that they couldn’t effectively translate Baesler’s obvious basketball mythos into political gold — especially in a state that has a veritable community of Wildcat furries — which is just, well, dumb on their part.
I think Gerth was definitely picking up on a vibe of awkwardness regarding the crowd’s reception of Conway (not unlike their almost quizzical, somewhat skeptical attitude towards Jerry Abramson, but that’s a completely different story), but whatever. The AG still hasn’t spent any of his eleventy-billion dollars, so IMHO it’s too early to be reading into the Fancy Farm tarot just yet.
However, if Conway had just come out and said, “Fuck all y’all motherfuckers,” then I’d be more inclined to agree with Gerth that yes, a baesler was, in fact, pulled.