A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: McConnell breaking through bottom of barrel, blaming ‘entitlements’ for growth of deficit

WASHINGTON – Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell is no longer scraping the bottom of the political barrel. No, it appears our boy from Louisville has broken through the bottom of said barrel and is in the process of digging his way through to China. Just how low can Mitch go? Wait and see. You may remember, apparently Mitch doesn’t, that the Congressional Budget Office...

Bill Straub: Trump lies because he can, but with the numbers stacking up, few seem to care

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday of this week USA Today, which fancies itself a newspaper, published an op-ed piece from the president of the United States of America, one Donald J. Trump, in which he declared, among other things, that he had kept his campaign promises regarding health care, maintaining “that we would protect coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions and create new health care...

Bill Straub: Trying to figure out Mitch McConnell and apologizing for being too soft on him over the years

What happened to Mitch McConnell? It’s a question that has been bugging me and many others for years now. What transformed the Senate Republican leader, a seemingly earnest, hardworking lawmaker from Louisville into a political animal who has repeatedly in recent times brought disgrace to not only the legislative body he represents but, to a great extent, the republic as a whole? This is the man...

Bill Straub: Through the Valley of Death, Republicans (and McConnell) ‘pushing (Kavanaugh) right through’

WASHINGTON – I experienced an epiphany over the past few weeks that may seem counter-intuitive but nonetheless is the only reasonable explanation for Republicans, especially Sen. Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, marching into the Valley of Death to assure that U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed for a seat on the Supreme Court. McConnell, of Louisville, and others, particularly...

Bill Straub: Taking bets on McConnell’s choice of doing what’s best for (1) the nation or (2) his party?

WASHINGTON – Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell is facing a dilemma. McConnell, of Louisville, has, on numerous occasions, been justifiably criticized for placing the priorities of his Republican Party ahead of the nation’s welfare. It was, after all, ol’ Root-‘n-Branch who vowed rigid non-cooperation with anything President Barack Obama, a Democrat and the...

Bill Straub: While McConnell is ‘shaking the treat box’ for money, Republicans will likely keep the Senate

Anyone who has cats (we have four, which, at times, is five too many) can tell you they can be very, well, cat-like sometimes, leaving you wondering if they’re off hiding somewhere or if they somehow snuck out of the house when you weren’t looking and are out in the street ducking traffic. The only way to get them out of their undisclosed location, to cite a chestnut from the President George W....

Bill Straub: Certainly no witch hunt as Mueller moves right along; and a word about ‘great guy’ Art Schmidt

With the November election now less than two months away, Republicans are ratcheting up their calls for a quick and painless end to the investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s apparent maneuvering in the 2016 presidential election that resulted in, and it hurts to say, “President’’ Donald J. Trump (good Lord in heaven). The probe, entering its 15th month,...

Bill Straub: The view from Trump’s DC hotel is ruined by an ‘ugly’ FBI building — and therein is a story

Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell has emerged in the past few months as such a snuggling lapdog for “President’’ Trump (Lord have mercy) that even the most adorable Pomeranian might sneer in contempt. The Louisville Republican who, history shows, regularly places the desires of his party above those of the nation he has taken an oath to serve, has been doing the...

Bill Straub: McConnell is Trump’s primary enabler as the walls come tumbling down around the President

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is so smitten with the idea that he’s playing “the long game” in politics that he titled his self-penned hagiography after that empty phrase. But it’s quickly becoming obvious, as the walls come tumbling down around President Trump (OMG!), that the sage of Louisville, misspoke. He isn’t playing the long game. He’s playing the wrong game. And...

Bill Straub: ‘Knock ’em out, drag ’em in’ Bevin shows how divisions just get wider and more bitter

So, just what is it with this Bevin guy? It used to be during the long, sultry, Kentucky summers, with lawmakers out of town and anyone with a lick of sense off somewhere drinking sweet tea in air-conditioned comfort, a governor would lay low, hope things remained calm and start planning for his/her political future. Not so with Mad Matt, obviously. First, there was the contretemps over his rather...

Bill Straub: Andy Barr is finding Amy McGrath a formidable opponent for 6th Congressional seat

It hasn’t been a very good last few days for Rep. Andy Barr, which is bad news for a financial industry that controls his every tic in Washington but potentially good news for the residents of Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District. Barr, R-Lexington, whose accomplishments during his first five years in office couldn’t fill a thimble, unexpectedly finds himself in a tough re-election campaign...

Bill Straub: Enough is enough is enough, it’s time for press corps to take the gloves off and tell the truth

For better or worse, I spent six years back in the early 2000s as the White House correspondent for Scripps-Howard News Service. Believe me, that’s neither a boast nor a brag, as George M. Cohan might say. I always remember the words of Ron Hutcheson, the one-time White House guy for Knight Ridder while we were sitting at a hotel bar in Waco, TX, with nothing to do but twiddle our thumbs while then-President...

Bill Straub: Trump Derangement Syndrome aside, there are legitimate questions about Putin and Trump

To Sen. Rand Paul, it can all be chalked up to Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). The Republican lawmaker from Bowling Green, famously referred to as a “wacko bird’’ by one-time presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona – a member of Paul’s own party, it should be noted – insists the vitriol that greeted President Trump’s (YIKES!) recent session with Russia strongman Vladimir...

Bill Straub: Humpty-Trumpty bullies way through NATO, insults May on home turf, loves Putin more. . .

President Trump’s (OMG!) recently concluded European excursion was, by all estimates, a disaster, not to mention a public humiliation that seemingly eroded America’s once commanding presence on the international stage. That is not a controversial sentiment. Republicans and Democrats, folks on the left, right and center, have spent the past few days assessing the damage perpetrated by a man who...

Bill Straub: Who’s on first, second and third? Don’t ask Moe, Curly or Larry, facts befuddle them

I experienced an educational moment at the ripe, old age of 65 the other day, actually it was significantly more than a moment but that’s neither here nor there because it was enlightening to say the least. It involved Facebook and an interaction with a gang of Trumpsters. I learned a lot, actually, but I ended up feeling like Bud Abbott trying to explain to Lou Costello who’s on first – sometimes...

Bill Straub: It take a certain talent to spew gibberish on a consistent basis, and McConnell has talent

Looks can, indeed be deceiving. Take Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, for example. McConnell, of Louisville, comes across as your dull, standard issue white-man-in-a-suit with a droning voice who would turn the head of absolutely no one at the neighborhood Piggly-Wiggly. But the fact is ol’ Root-‘n-Branch is one of the most outrageous figures to hit the American scene since Huey Long,...

Bill Straub: Take Carrollton KY, a good, safe place to live (as it should be) but diverse with ‘darker’ people

Some years back, at least a quarter-century ago when the burley economy was still thriving, I spent a couple days in Carrollton to research an article on migrant labor. I recall driving toward the Ohio River at the northern edge of town one evening when I happened upon a grocery store, and not just any grocery store. It was painted in red and green and the signs out front were all in Spanish. In this...

Bill Straub: No ‘Profiles in Courage’ found perusing political landscape of Trump-McConnell land

In February 1944, after seven years of guiding President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s agenda through the upper chamber, Senate Democratic Leader Alben Barkley, from the small, Western Kentucky town of Lowes, a man who would “rather be a servant in the House of the Lord than to sit in the seats of the mighty,’’ declared enough was enough. FDR had vetoed a tax bill – the first time a president...

Bill Straub: Following Tuesday’s primary election, the Republican Party now the party of Trump

WASHINGTON – There can no longer be any doubt that the Republican Party, once known as the party of Lincoln and, later, the party of Reagan, is now the party of Trump. The proof comes in Tuesday night’s primary election results. In South Carolina, state Rep. Katie Arrington toppled incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford to capture the GOP nomination for that state’s 1st Congressional District seat centered...

Bill Straub: McConnell to become longest-serving GOP boss, takes home-run trot as ‘Rome’ burns

WASHINGTON – Back in January 2007, when Mitch “Root ‘n Branch’’ McConnell was just beginning what will become his historic run as the longest serving Senate Republican leader in history, Congress was held in broad contempt by the American public with only 35 percent of those questioned in the Gallup Poll expressing approval. Sen. Mitch McConnell Under McConnell, first as the minority leader...