A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: Amy McGrath has won nomination to challenge Mitch McConnell; what will she do with it?

So, now that Amy McGrath has won the Democratic nomination to challenge Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell in the fall, what is she going to do with it? Not much, if you listen to the analysts who are paid to handicap this sort of thing. Both Sabato’s Crystal Ball, ramrodded by Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, and the Cook Political...

Bill Straub: Will McConnell maintain majority leader status, even if he defeats his Democrat opponent?

To the vast relief of a grateful but beleaguered nation, Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell, has made it clear that, should the good folks of Kentucky choose to return him to the upper chamber for the seventh time this November, he would be more than willing to continue to serve as capo di tutti capi of the GOP caucus, whether it maintains its majority for another two...

Bill Straub: Georgia Davis Powers represents all that should be celebrated by a statue in Capitol Rotunda

Unless you’re a devotee of Turner Classic Movies – I plead guilty – you’ve probably never come across Judge Priest, a 1934 film starring Will Rogers and directed by the American master, John Ford, who, a year before his passing, said it was his favorite movie. Based on the writings of Paducah native Irvin S. Cobb, Judge Priest takes place in an unidentified Western Kentucky town sometime around...

Bill Straub: It’s the autocratic way — using (or threatening) military force against U.S. citizens

The nation dodged a bullet, figuratively and, perhaps, literally, this week when President Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, failed to follow through on his threat to deploy the military to deal with the generally peaceful protests generated in wake of the death of George Floyd up in Minneapolis. Floyd, an African-American, died when a white policeman,...

Bill Straub: Quite a pair. As Trump disintegrates, McConnell just keeps digging grave for democracy

America’s Il Duce, one Donald John Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, in MacArthur-returns-to-the-Philippines mode, stormed Lafayette Park like a ground sloth on Monday to stand in front of a church and display a book he has never read, The Bible, whose passages he couldn’t distinguish from a limerick that starts “There once was a man from...

Bill Straub: Be prepared, ‘fanning the fames and condemning the fire’ has just gotten started

There was some strange fruit hanging from a tree on the grounds of the state Capitol in the hours before Memorial Day, fruit that was nowhere near as savage and ghastly as the sort Billie Holiday sang about, but strange nonetheless. A proud product of the Kentucky educational system, attending a rally to promote guns that morphed into a protest over state-mandated coronavirus restrictions, drove his...

Bill Straub: Where should the public invest its faith? Trust has always been the American way

The late Jimmy Breslin, my hero, said it succinctly: “You’re supposed to be despised.” Breslin was, of course, referring to newspaper reporters, that constant target of critics who complain that they are either paying inadequate attention to a critical subject or they’re paying too much attention to a trivial matter. Regardless, it’s true that reporters are always poking their collective...

Bill Straub: Despite terrific failures, Trump’s possible re-election cannot really be underestimated

To quote the late, great Marvin Gaye, “What’s going on?” Before us is the president of the United States, one Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, who has established, with no fear of contradiction, that he is not up to the task of running this great country intellectually, physically, temperamentally, emotionally, judgmentally...

Bill Straub: Mitch McConnell, known for putting party before country, does it again over ‘blue state bailouts’

In 1975, facing an excruciating financial crisis, the City of New York under Democratic Mayor Abraham Beame, looking bankruptcy squarely in the eye, went hat-in-hand to President Gerald Ford seeking some sort of bail-out to help clear the debt. Ford, a Republican, told Beame and the five boroughs to take a hike, leading the New York Daily News to print one of the most renowned front-page headlines...

Bill Straub: Kentuckians excel at picking racehorses and UK ballgame spreads, not so much DC reps

Kentuckians over the decades have exhibited a great knack for picking the exacta at Keeneland and coming down on the right side of the point spread at UK basketball game. But that acumen seems to escape them when it comes time to choose their representatives in Washington, where winners have proved few and far between. The Commonwealth has long been saddled with Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch”...

Bill Straub: Some judges shouldn’t be considered for quick advancement, and Justin Walker is one

What, Pigmeat Markham wasn’t available? Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, fulfilling his primary duty as consigliere to an addled wanna-be king has, as always, convinced President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, to nominate U.S. District Judge Justin Walker, of the Western District of Kentucky, to...

Bill Straub: The jig is up and nearly everyone can see president’s coronavirus failure but Trump himself

The time has arrived, as W.C. Fields once sagely noted, to grab the bull by the tail and face the situation. The jig is up. Folks who have placed one of the many smug portraits of President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, up there on the mantle next to Jesus and Ronald Reagan, have simply run out of excuses. This man who is singularly...

Bill Straub: Saying whatever is necessary to assure their legends for a place in history; it’s all in the spin

Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell has dished out some doozies during his time in the District of Columbia and the pervasiveness of the coronavirus is providing the man with a great opportunity to add to the legend that is Moscow Mitch. For instance, our boy from Louisville took to the air this week with a television campaign ad grabbing credit for passage of a $2.2...

Bill Straub: A very good case can be made for mail-in ballots, but not everyone wants more turnout

When he hasn’t been fulminating over governmental overreach in addressing the coronavirus crisis or gnashing his teeth into dust over the pending economic recovery package, Rep. Thomas Massie has been using his copious free time to warn against the potential “end of our republic as we know it. And that menace on the cusp of achieving what the likes of Jefferson Davis and the Axis powers dreamed...

Bill Straub: There’s cringe-worthy and there’s cringe-worthy; in fact, these amazing actions are a pandemic

One of the most cringe-inducing moments amidst the chaos surrounding the coronavirus pandemic came last week when, during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, credited “the UK’s” handling of the crisis, noting “it’s got the border, it’s got very strong borders,...

Bill Straub: Good ideas come and go — but for the Equal Rights Amendment, it’s an idea long past due

It was Victor Hugo who claimed “nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” yet here we are, in the year of our lord 2020 (complying with a directive from the nitwits in the Kentucky General Assembly) and the Equal Rights Amendment, initially offered to the 50 states for their consideration in 1972, remains in the dumpster, with the possibility of resurrection sketchy at best. That...

Bill Straub: When enough is really enough, whenever that may be, there’s always the November ballot box

When is enough, finally, enough? That essentially is the question that will be posed to voters of Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District this November when it comes to Rep. Thomas Massie, R-SomewhereorotherLewisCounty, who has been applying his brand of oddball legislating in the nation’s capital for better than seven long years now. Massie, as most observers of his reckless meanderings know...

Bill Straub: Mitch McConnell has been called out, however gently; the permanent stain of failure is his

Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell has spent 36 long years in the nation’s capital splitting asunder a once great political institution for his own partisan purposes at significant cost to the body politic. Now a group that can’t be ignored is finally calling him out, if only in a veiled manner. A bipartisan group of former senators has launched what can only be...

Bill Straub: A look at Kentucky’s presidential primary May 19; R choice sure; D in the air, picking Sanders

As usual, this year’s presidential primary in Kentucky could be another case of closing the corral gate after the horse has escaped – the May 19 date comes so late in the candidate selection process that the results carry little or no impact in determining the parties’ eventual nominees. There exists a possibility that scenario might change a bit this year, at least on the Democratic side, with...

Bill Straub: Does the Trump cult even remember when they first sold out? Does Rob Portman?

This is a column written more in sorrow than anger, stealing a reference from Shakespeare, about a man who once upon a time stood up to President Donald J. Trump but who has since succumbed to his wiles, folding like a cardboard suitcase in the presence of President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom. In 1994 I was chosen to serve as the Washington correspondent for the...