Judge Heyburn strikes another blow to Kentucky’s same-sex marriage ban, says Beshear is not “serious”

Today Judge John Heyburn once again handed down a decision striking at Kentucky’s discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage. While his ruling earlier this year said Kentucky must recognize such valid marriages performed in other states, this ruling says that Kentucky must also allow these marriages to be performed right here in the Bluegrass State. But not just yet… the ruling is stayed until the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on this — Beshear is appealing, of course — and several similar cases of from other states (Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee). The final outcome might be delayed, but there can’t be much doubt that it’s coming.

The full ruling is below:

Heyburn Kentucky ruling by leoweekly

The entire decision calls out the blatant discrimination of Kentucky’s ban, but its most scathing line is also its most subtle. Regarding Beshear’s ridiculous argument that recognizing same-sex marriages will harm Kentucky’s birth rate — and hence, its economy — because same-sex couples “can’t procreate,” here is Heyburn’s response:

These arguments are not those of serious people.

In layman’s terms, “get out of my face with that crazy shit, yo.”

Heyburn continues:

Though it seems almost unnecessary to explain, here are the reasons why. Even assuming the state has a legitimate interest in promoting procreation, the Court fails to see, and Defendant never explains, how the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage has any effect whatsoever on procreation among heterosexual spouses. Excluding same-sex couples from marriage does not change the number of heterosexual couples who choose to get married, the number who choose to have children, or the number of children they have … The Court finds no rational relation between the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the Commonwealth’s asserted interest in promoting naturally procreative marriages.

The state’s attempts to connect the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage to its interest in economic stability and in “ensuring humanity’s continued existence” are at best illogical and even bewildering. These arguments fail for the precise reasons that Defendant’s procreation argument fails.

And for all of those folks gnashing their teeth at the thought of LGBT people being treated like actually citizens with the same rights as everyone else…

“…in America even sincere and long-held religious views do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted.”

And remember, even sincere and long-held religious views aren’t necessary “serious,” either.

steve beshear no gay stuff dino ride


McConnell campaign: Internal polls sell “bill of goods” that shouldn’t be bought… but here is ours!

mitch benton nose

Faced with two consecutive polls showing Mitch McConnell losing to Alison Lundergan Grimes, today the McConnell campaign leaked their own internal poll to WHAS showing their candidate up by a large margin over Grimes, 49 to 42 percent.

However, there are some people who believe that campaigns who release internal polls are desperately trying to sell people a bill of goods, so no one should buy the numbers that those campaigns are selling. Such people would include McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton.

At a November campaign event for McConnell, LEO asked Benton about an independent poll released that day showing the race tied, and if that matched up with their own polling. Benton replied, “We don’t flop our internal polls out a lot because… well look, who buys them? It’s people that are shopping their… that are frequently shopping their internal polls are trying to sell a bill of goods, so I don’t often do that.”

I guess desperate campaigns do desperate things.

And speaking of desperate campaigns selling bogus numbers, the poll was conducted by the infamous Jan van Lohuizen, the same pollster who said Trey Grayson was tied with Rand Paul days before Paul won by 23 percent.

Buyer beware.


Mayor Fischer tells NPR he’s completely unaware about local movement to increase minimum wage

attica bus

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer was interviewed on NPR’s Here & Now this afternoon, and asked if he supports an increase in the minimum wage. While there has been a very active movement to do this locally in Louisville — as well as nationally and within Kentucky — Fischer told Here & Now that no one is talking about doing that in Louisville.

“I’m a business guy that just happens to be mayor,” said Fischer. “When I talk to businesses around our city, if you are paying the minimum wage you can’t keep people employed. So the market is working in a certain extent in that area but I’m not opposed to minimum wage increases. Obviously there hasn’t been any significant increase in decades in that. Frankly, it has not been a topic of conversation in our city. I would be supportive, however, if it was … We haven’t had that discussion locally yet, but I’m sure we will.”

Just for a frame of reference, this is the same mayor who says that city workers represented by unions have a great relationship with him.

LEO asked Councilwoman Attica Scott, D-1, about Fischer’s comments, considering that she has been at the forefront of this very public debate over increasing the minimum wage in Louisville.

“I’m shocked,” said Scott. “I don’t understand how someone whose office is right across the street from City Hall and Metro Council could have missed the numerous Community Affairs Committee meetings discussing the minimum wage, could have missed the bus tour that stopped on his front steps in which our secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes was a featured speaker, could have missed the op-ed in the Courier-Journal that all 17 Democrats including myself signed on to say we need to raise the wage locally. I just don’t understand how the mayor can miss that this is a huge topic of conversation when our own county attorney has written to Attorney General Jack Conway asking for his opinion on whether or not we can raise the wage. I don’t get it.”

Scott says that despite the public effort by her, Council Democrats and residents to increase the minimum wage, this is the first time Fischer has publicly or privately stated that he could support such an increase, though he decided to share that opinion first with an NPR host. Nevertheless, Scott says Fischer’s interview response was a positive sign, and hopes he follows up with more action.

“It’s a good sign that he says he’s for it, and now it would be wonderful for him to reach across the street and communicate with folks on Metro Council to say ‘I was mistaken, this has been a huge topic of conversation and what can I do to be supportive.’” says Scott.

Perhaps Fischer will now call for a debate to ensue in Louisville about fully funding the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, renegotiating the Yum! Center contract to lesson taxpayers’ burden, and pulling CERS out of KRS — since no one is doing that now, obviously.


Rand Paul’s “socially tolerant” presidential campaign decries “war against the unborn” at evangelical conference

Sen. Rand Paul continued his split personality campaign for president today, as the self-professed “socially tolerant” senator spoke at the far-far-far right evangelical Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference.

Over the past two years, Paul has sought to shore up his support among socially conservative Republicans by throwing them red meat in visits to early 2016 primary states, while simultaneously sending signals to the GOP establishment that’s he’s not his wacky dad, and telling audiences of general election voters that he’s one of the “socially tolerant” Republicans who wants a diverse party that can compete in the more liberal northeast and west coast.

Paul displayed his presidential personalities last month on voting rights, attending a meeting of African-American preachers and saying that Republicans have gone “crazy” with all of these voter ID bills that disproportionately disenfranchise black voters. After receiving backlash from the right, Paul immediately backtracked to say that he actually doesn’t oppose these voter ID laws (he doesn’t), he just thinks that the GOP shouldn’t talk about their position (that he agrees with) in public so much. Presidential!

Last week, Paul extended his personalities to the debate over immigration reform, speaking to a group of reform advocates on a conference call about how immigration reform is necessary, noting “I say everywhere I go that I am for immigration reform.” Nice rhetoric, but one room where Rand doesn’t say he’s for immigration reform is when he’s asked for his vote on the Senate floor, when it actually counts. Paul faced immediate backlash from the right for participating in the call and surrendering to the forces of “amnesty.” The next day, Paul penned an op-ed in Breitbart in which he assured the forces of the anti-immigrant right that he’s not really for “amnesty,” because in order to support such a bill it would have to have his border security provisions, which he admits are the most strenuous of any in Congress. In case that didn’t win over his right-wing anti-immigrant critics, Paul abandoned his previous call for changing his party’s rhetoric around immigrants from the offensive “illegal” to the more tolerant “undocumented. In the op-ed, Paul used “illegal” to describe immigrants six times, and avoided using “undocumented” at all. Immigration reform advocates don’t read Breitbart, after all.

Today, Paul’s personalities moved on to the topic of abortion at the Faith & Freedom Coalition Conference. First of all, it should be noted that Paul is as far-right as they come on abortion, as he’s a sponsor of the Life at Conception Act, a “personhood” bill that would not only ban abortion in every state (goodbye, states’ rights and personal Liberty!) but also ban many forms of birth control, stem cell research and assisted reproduction treatments.

Despite that record, Paul has faced criticism from the right over the past year for not being anti-abortion enough. Last year on CNN, Wolf Blitzer asked if there would be exemptions for rape and incest in his bill, with Paul replying that there should be “thousands of exemptions.” He later tried to quell criticism by saying there would only be one exemption (life of the mother) and that it somehow wouldn’t be able to affect birth control. Paul has also faced criticism from fetal warriors for telling moderate audiences recently that in order for the GOP to compete, they must “agree to disagree on social issues,” and realize that the country isn’t going to change any abortion laws. Different rooms, different messages.

With that background, Paul entered the room following the playing of an anti-abortion video his Senate office posted yesterday, where Paul says that he will never stop fighting to ban abortion in America and protect the rights of fertilized eggs and zygotes. In his speech, Paul touted his support for the Life at Conception Act and threw out this red meat: “Back here at home we have a war being waged that takes over a million lives every year. It’s a war against the unborn.”

So how and when does Rand Paul pivot back to being the “socially tolerant” Republican who says we should all just “agree to disagree on social issues” because abortion bills don’t really matter? Well, I’d love to share with you Rand’s video where he calls for figuratively standing in the doorway of your doctor’s office or pharmacy, but Paul’s YouTube account has already scrubbed the video from the Internet tubes. I guess it’s already served its purpose for today’s evangelical conference, and now he’s moving on to the next room of his presidential campaign.


LEO Weekly wins six Metro Journalism Awards

LEO Weekly was honored six times in the Metro Journalism Awards, an annual competition held by the Louisville professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists:

Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting: First place to Joe Sonka, news editor, for “Access Denied,” “Faking the funk?” and “Politics over protection.” Second place to April Corbin, staff writer, for “When the B stands for barriers,” “Invisible War, real wounds” and  “Labored decisions.”

Government/Politics Reporting: First place to Joe Sonka for “Fables of coal,” “Fancy, brutish and short” and “Ready for launch

Feature Writing: First place to April Corbin for “U of LGBT,” “Here lies the dearly forgotten“ and “Trails and tales of The Parklands at Floyds Fork

Review/Criticism: First place to Sara Havens, editor, for “Just say yes to ‘Drugs,’” “Free Willy for good” and “‘Catching Fire’ fever

Column: Second place to Sarah Kelley, former editor, for “Cancer, interrupted

The full list of winners can be found here.


A verdict in the McConnell/Duke vs. Sonka case, and other Senate race stupidity in Kentucky (UPDATE)

Three weeks ago, Sen. Mitch McConnell’s campaign tried to scrub the internet tubes of the infamous #Dukeghazi video, requesting to YouTube that they remove the video I saved and re-posted back in March before his campaign tried to send it down the memory hole:

mitch duke youtube
mitch duke crybaby

I immediately submitted a counter-notification to YouTube, as my video was clearly covered by Fair Use law for journalistic purposes, and McConnell’s attempt was clearly just the act of a politician who’s afraid of people watching his campaign accidentally celebrating with the Blue Devils.

YouTube sent their verdict back in this week, and the winner is… me:

Hello,

In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we’ve completed processing your counter-notification regarding these video(s):

This content has been restored unless you have deleted the video(s). Your account will not be penalized.

Regards,

The YouTube Copyright Team

McConnell’s campaign obviously believes that their mistaking of Duke basketball for Kentucky basketball was a simple error, and does not have any great significance or mean that he secretly loves Duke and hates Kentucky. Sure, they tried to scrub it from the internet tubes, but they take the stance that anyone who tries to take advantage of such a trivial mistake is engaging in a juvenile game of political gotcha in order to score points and avoid important issues.

Haha, never mind, just kidding:

A European male model pretending to be a coal miner appears prominently in a newspaper advertisement released by Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

*****

The stock photograph could undermine Grimes’s messaging as Republicans raise doubts about the authenticity of her pro-coal position.

That last sentence — a truly amazing sentence — was actually written by the Politico reporter and not the McConnell campaign. However, Team Mitch was happy to immediately tout how this showed GRIMES DOESN’T KNOW KENTUCKY COAL MINERS AND SECRETLY WANTS TO DESTROY THEM WITH OBAMA:

If you’re wondering if the U.S. Senate campaign in Kentucky can get any stupider than the past week, I regret to inform you that we’re not even close to the bottom of this mine shaft…

***** UPDATE *****

Your cherry on top and Moment of Zen, from Team Mitch:

grimes euro model coal

***** UPDATE #2 *****

Actually, we get two cherries on top of our Stupid Sundae.

It appears that while Mitch McConnell SAYS he’s for protecting the 2nd amendment rights of Kentuckians, he actually secretly hates them and wants to grab their guns or something, because he likes to use stock photos of Europeans. EUROPEANS!!!

Here’s Mitch’s NRA endorsement graphic:

mitch danish

And here’s the Danish (DANISH!) dude on Shutterstock; taken by a Danish (DANISH!) photographer:

mitch danish 2

And here’s Mitch’s 2nd Amendment graphic:

mitch slovenia

And here’s the Slovenian (SLOVENIAN!) dude from a Slovenian tourism website that Mitch grabbed up:

mitch slovenia 2

This can obviously mean only one thing: While Mitch McConnell SAYS he identifies with and advocates for hunters in Kentucky, he’s just faking it because he doesn’t know the difference between salt of the earth Kentucky hunters and EUROPEANS, so he probably wants to grab your guns and promote Slovenian tourism.

OR, it just means that almost every campaign in America uses stock photos, and it’s no big deal and does not reveal any secret hidden agenda lurking in the hearts of candidates.

As I said, we’re not even close to the bottom of this mine shaft…


Fischer vs. AFSCME

Our May 21 story in LEO showed how several unions representing Metro city workers — including AFSCME Local 2629, Teamsters Local 783, AFSCME Local 3425, and the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council (representing a broad range of unions representing city and non-city workers) — feel betrayed by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, whom they worked to elect in 2010. They expressed grievances with Fischer related to contract negotiations, pay, retaliation, and openness to discussion, but Fischer’s spokesman only sent LEO a two sentence reply when asked about their allegations, saying “Mayor Fischer and his team have a good relationship with our labor unions” and they “work together to reach collective bargaining agreements that are fair to both labor and management.”

Mayor Fischer sent an op-ed to LEO last week rebutting some of the claims made in the May 21 story, focusing exclusively on those made by Wesley Stover, president of AFSCME Local 2629. The full op-ed is in LEO’s print edition out today, which you can also read online here.

Just as Fischer took issue with some of Stover’s claims in the May 21 story, Stover took issue with several claims made by Fischer in his op-ed, and sent LEO his response, printed below:

When I was first told of a response from Mayor Greg Fischer to the “Labor Pains” article in the May 21 edition of LEO, I was encouraged that he was acknowledging labor concerns. I was also discouraged to note that instead of meeting with labor groups, he responded exclusively to the media. I have always respected the Office of the Mayor and continually felt that if Mayor Fischer simply knew the truth of what happens in his name that he would step in and justice would prevail. However, after reading his response, I was dismayed that his administration has again focused on the wrong things. Although I feel that the mayor has responded with the utmost professionalism, his administration’s response is inaccurate.

First, Mayor Fischer’s repeated references to Metro’s agreements and negotiations with “Mr. Stover” are incorrect. Metro negotiates agreements with AFSCME Local 2629; I participate in those negotiations only as a Union leader.

The mayor discussed fiscal reality and mentioned that Louisville Metro Government currently has 27 different contracts. Over the past three years, AFSCME Local 2629 has tried many times to alleviate that burden by merging seven of our contracts into one agreement with Louisville Metro Government. But this administration has repeatedly refused to merge the contracts. We will begin negotiating a contract for nine people this month because of this refusal.

While the mayor is absolutely correct that a side letter must be negotiated to bring in workers to an existing contract, I believe he may be uninformed. Mayor Fischer stated that bringing in workers to a contract with a side letter agreement is a process usually taking two weeks, but some of these Metro workers and positions have been waiting for almost four years, which is well before negotiations started on that contract. Although not recognized as union members by Louisville Metro Government and not receiving the benefits of the union contract, these employees have also stopped receiving what few benefits other non-union workers have received since their signing of organizing cards.

AFSCME Local 2629 recently secured an injunction from Jefferson County Circuit Court requiring Louisville Metro Government to temporarily stop its plan to change job descriptions of 19 of our 21 members within the Air Pollution Control District and subsequently force all members to reapply for their positions. According to the job descriptions that were provided to us several months ago, 15 of the 19 Members forced to reapply would no longer qualify for their positions. The injunction enabled the parties to work toward an amicable resolution through the grievance procedure and discussions. Unfortunately, Louisville Metro Government has decided to appeal this decision to the Kentucky Court of Appeals rather than working with the union. Metro is also incorrect to say that its plan complied with the collective bargaining agreement. Implying that our contracts would allow an administrator to simply change something in any job description and force older and more seasoned workers to the unemployment lines after two decades of dedicated service to their community is contrary to one of the most fundamental principles of a union.

Next, Mayor Fischer states that no jobs or hours have been cut back at Metro Technology Services due to the hiring of sub-contractors. However, a review of the Louisville Metro Technology operating budgets approved by the mayor over the past several years shows a reduction in four positions within one classification alone. The duties performed by the new sub-contractor are normally and historically performed by this classification. Although the contract that Metro Technology Services is currently operating under, which was negotiated prior to the current union administration, does allow for sub-contractors in certain specific instances, it does not allow for sub-contractors for the purpose of reducing or replacing Members.

There also seems to be some slight confusion concerning the contracts voted down by AFSCME Members at the Louisville Zoo, Metro Technology Services, and the Revenue Commission. The Revenue Commission workers have received their contractual benefits throughout the negotiating process. Louisville Metro Government will not allow any raises based on an employee’s time of service, so there are no raises or bonuses for Metro to withhold within the Metro Technology Contract. However, since the expiration of the Zoo, Parks, and Corrections contracts, all monetary benefits have been indefinitely suspended until a new contract is ratified and approved by the Louisville Metro Council. We would be glad to have all provisions of our contracts, including the monetary benefits, continue throughout the negotiation process, and we certainly welcome Mayor Fischer to direct his Labor Department to ensure that happens.

The Mayor is also wrong about the changes to negotiated agreements. During Master Contract negotiations, Metro fought hard to change tentative agreements. This is definitely one of the Union’s most important concerns, and we have tried seven times to meet with the mayor to discuss it, only to be ignored or have our meetings canceled. I would welcome the opportunity to provide dates of these meetings and interactions with his administration.

Finally, concerning Mayor Fischer’s appointed Labor Liaison. Emotions can run high on both sides of the negotiating table and I respect that the mayor acknowledges that. I also agree that simply being told “No” at the bargaining table does not constitute rude, arrogant, or disrespectful behavior. I certainly welcome Mayor Fischer to meet with any of our committees or read any of the written statements from our committee members concerning our experiences at the bargaining table.

Metro Employees are the backbone of service delivery to our communities, and we are very pleased that Mayor Fischer is committing to negotiate all contracts in good faith. I am happy to see that Mayor Fischer is willing to diligently adhere to every provision of our agreements so we can end his administration’s practice of excluding monetary benefits during extension periods.

We welcome the opportunity to meet with the mayor and his administration to work toward a better and more productive government. I again request that Mayor Fischer find time to meet with our locals’ leadership regarding these and other important issues.

Wesley J. Stover
President
AFSCME Local 2629


UnKynected gibberish is contagious: Now Rand Paul says he’s “not sure” if Kynect should be dismantled

So it appears that Sen. Mitch McConnell’s “unKynected” gibberish is contagious…

Today Sen. Rand Paul took questions from reporters about health care in Kentucky, saying that “people seem to be very much complimenting our exchange because of the functionality of it” — in part, true! — and then going into a somewhat rational discussion of one of Kynect and Medicaid expansion’s actual challenges, having enough providers to meet the new demand of insured patients.

But then Rand was asked (at 1:18 in the video below) “with all those unknowns, do you think the state exchange should be dismantled?” Rand Paul answered, “You know, I’m not sure…” with an awkward pause, before launching into more challenges that Kynect faces and problems with the law.

Note that Rand Paul never said, “Of course it should be dismantled, I’m for repealing Obamacare in it’s entirety, which would automatically destroy Kynect and the healthcare coverage of about 400,000 Kentuckians” at any point in that answer. Rather, he’s “not sure.”

This is too amazing to even believe. Mitch McConnell — the man with no true ideology and a long political history of changing positions along with the political wind — is one thing. But Rand Paul, Mr. Liberty himself?

Kynect giving healthcare coverage to over 400,000 Kentuckians along with badly overdue consumer protections can do amazing things, eh?


Ken Ham’s dinosaur boat isn’t receiving $43 million in tax incentives from Kentucky, and might not receive any (UPDATE)

steve-beshear-dino-01-crop

This week, Rachel Maddow ventured back into the bluegrass for a segment highlighting The Shame of Kentucky: Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis, creators of the Creation “Museum” — now featuring a white supremacist’s fossil — and the proposed Ark Encounter theme park, which will feature the story of a 600-year old man herding T-Rexes onto a giant boat a few thousand years ago as historical and scientific truth:

Maddow highlighted how the park — which will never be built, don’t worry — could be eligible to receive up to $43 million in tax incentives from the state, thanks to the vocal support of Gov. Steve Beshear. Ken Ham subsequently howled and squealed that Maddow got her facts wrong — Ham intentionally misconstrued what she said, like he does with all other facts — and Ark Encounter will get no public money to build it…just a ton of tax rebates from the state to go to himself and Ark Encounter investors.

Two months ago, Maddow was completely correct in her assessment, but according to new information LEO just discovered from Kentucky’s Tourism Cabinet, the facts on the ground have changed. Ham and his dinosaur boat will absolutely not receive $43 million in tax incentives from the state, and there’s still doubt that they will be eligible for any incentives at all.

Ark Encounter’s original tax incentive application for potentially $43 million was approved by a Tourism board in May of 2011. This gave them three years to start construction, and whatever Ark Encounter spent on construction, they would be eligible for up to 25 percent of that amount once the park opened in rebates, assuming that the project was an economic success and passed benchmarks. However, that three year period ended this month, and Ark Encounter construction has not yet started, which would mean that they are not eligible for any tax incentives unless they amended or resubmitted an application. And in March, that’s exactly what they did.

Tourism Cabinet spokesman Gil Lawson tells LEO that on March 28, Ark Encounter representatives withdrew their original application for a $172 million project and resubmitted a new application for a dramatically scaled back $73 million project. If this application is approved — and if Ark Encounter is actually built and meets economic benchmarks — they would only be eligible for a maximum of $18.25 million in tax incentives.

But that remains a big “if.” Lawson notes that not all applications for tax incentives make their way to the Tourism board for a vote, and just because an application makes its way to the board doesn’t mean that it will be approved. Lawson says that Ark Encounter’s new application is currently being reviewed by the Tourism Cabinet, and it is still far from being scheduled for a vote. Sometimes this process takes a long time (see: Kentucky Kingdom) and sometimes it happens in record speed (see: Ark Encounter from December of 2010 to May of 2011).

During Ark Encounter’s first inception, Gov. Besehar put his full weight behind it, pushing the project through easily with very little oversight, though much humiliation for the state of Kentucky (see: Dinosaurs on a goddamned boat). LEO asked a Beshear spokesman this afternoon if the governor plans to fully support Ark Encounter’s new application like he did in late-2010 and early-2011, or if he would take another strategy. He said he would give us an answer as soon as he could, and we’ll update this story once that comes to us. (*UPDATE: Beshear administration comment at the bottom of this post)

So here’s our question on what Beshear does: Are we going to see the Kynect “Get over it, GOP!” Beshear? Or the “gay people can’t procreate, so screw them” Beshear?

One more question: When Ark Encounter was wooing investors for their project earlier this year, did Ken Ham tell them that $43 million in public money was coming their way once it opened, or was he honest by telling him that little to no public money was going back into their coffers?

Either way, I’ll reiterate one thing: This park is most likely not going to be built in the first place, so this is probably all moot.

***** UPDATE *****

Here’s the comment from Beshear’s spokesman Terry Sebastian, which sounds like there will be no joint press conference any time soon where I can ask him if dinosaurs will be on the Ark:

“With the revised application in the review process, we are going to let the process play out and not comment at this stage.”


Yarmuth, Beshear relishing the sight of McConnell squirming on Kynect

For the past couple of years, Congressman John Yarmuth has told people to wait. Wait through all of the polls showing Obamacare to be unpopular, wait through all of the Republican attacks on it, wait through all of their attempts to repeal it and tie the law around the necks of Democratic candidates. Just wait, because once the Affordable Care Act kicks into high gear and starts working — with people actually seeing what it does instead of horror stories about what it’s supposedly going to do — people are going to like what it actually does, and Republicans are going to have to run on taking all of that away.

This past week, we’ve seen just that happen, as Mitch McConnell unleashed a pile of “unKynected” gibberish, trying to imply that even if Obamacare is repealed, Kentucky can keep its Obamacare exchange and Obamacare Medicaid expansion that people like. Totally dishonest nonsense, sure, but it clearly shows that McConnell knows he is entering dangerous territory by wanting to take away the healthcare coverage of over 400,000 Kentuckians.

Yarmuth is hammering that point home this week, with an appearance on Chris Hayes last night and a blistering speech on the House floor today:

Gov. Steve Beshear, the Godfather of Kynect, joined the McConnell pile on today by penning this blistering HuffPo op-ed calling out McConnell’s spin. Some choice excerpts:

Now comes Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell’s amended election-year promise, delivered as he’s fighting for his political life: To rid the state of the ACA even while keeping all the good that “kynect” does.

At best, of course, his promise represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the ironclad link between the ACA and “kynect.” At worst, it’s a blatant attempt to mislead Kentucky families for his political benefit.

While that is fun to ponder, the salient point is this: Even critics are acknowledging that the ACA is bringing health care to those who desperately need it. In short, it’s working.

*****

Those numbers — and the testimony of the people behind them — contradict the mindless nattering of partisan-minded critics who need to leave their Washington D.C. echo chambers and talk to the people they represent.

Because if each of the over 421,000 people who signed up via “kynect” could grab 10 minutes of Sen. McConnell’s time to explain what health care coverage means for their families, and if the Senator had the endurance to listen 24/7, it would take eight years to hear from each enrollee.

That’s longer than the entire new Senate term he says he deserves.

Rather than continue trying to tear out the ACA “root and branch,” as Sen. McConnell has advocated, he should understand why it’s been embraced and why it’s working.

*****

In Kentucky, improved access to care — especially preventive care and early diagnosis — will help us move forward with “kyhealthnow,” a wide-ranging initiative to attack historically stubborn problem areas like smoking, heart disease, obesity, cancer and dental care.

No wonder Sen. McConnell and other critics are suddenly leery of how voters might react to their desire to take health insurance away from 421,000 Kentuckians.

Ouch.

Notably absent from this piling on — minus a two-sentence statement from her campaign manager yesterday — is Alison Lundergan Grimes. I don’t know if this is an intentional effort to sit back and watch McConnell continue to dig himself a hole and tie himself in knots, or if they are just being timid amidst the fear that they are going to be lured into a Nobamacare trap. If it’s the former, they can’t wait much longer to take advantage of this, despite the help of Yarmuth and Beshear and newspaper editorial boards. If it’s the latter, then God help the campaign that doesn’t accept free gifts.