A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: McConnell will pass on serious climate change discussion, go right to Green New Deal vote

WASHINGTON – Oh, that Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, such a clever boy. Progressive lawmakers, growing increasingly concerned over the impact of global climate change and the inability to address the catastrophe because of no-nothing legislators who refuse to acknowledge its looming impact, have offered up what has come to be called the Green New Deal. The package, offered by Sen. Ed...

Bill Straub: Comity, progress gone, we must protect voting rights to hold on to democratic process

If you’re black or brown or poor, it’s obvious now that Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell couldn’t care less about your sacred right to vote. House Bill 1 in the 116th Congress is titled the For the People Act, and is intended to address many of the glaring deficiencies in the nation’s electoral system. It strengthens campaign finance laws, establishes new...

Bill Straub: Thomas ‘Wonderboy’ Massie, darling of far-right fringe, wants to undermine the government

WASHINGTON – It’s fair to say that Rep. Thomas “Wonder Boy” Massie has one of the, well, most unusual voting records in Congress, a claim that even he is unlikely to contradict.  The Republican from SomewhereorotherLewisCounty has been busy since the outset of the 116th Congress engaging in the foolishness that has made him the darling of the nation’s far-right fringe, the Bluegrass’s...

Bill Straub: Character is indispensable, character matters, character first; did someone say ‘character’?

Apparently a person’s character doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in Sen. Rand Paul’s world. The Bowling Green Republican, who once referred to President Trump (YIKES!) as “a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag,’’ has somehow emerged as the most intense defender of said orange-faced windbag in the upper chamber, going so far as to wage attacks on those who might suggest that...

Bill Straub: Even the ‘best bad idea’ won’t get the Republicans out the hole Trump has dug for them

Some years ago, Steve Martin (yeah, the guy with the banjo), then an up-and-coming standup comic, introduced a routine and produced an album he titled “Let’s Get Small.” “I like to get small,’’ Martin would tell his always enthusiastic audience. “It’s a wild, wild drug.” Well, apparently Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell has uncovered Martin’s...

Bill Straub: Think of all the great acts. Give big round of applause now for McConnell, Paul and Trump

In the past, we’ve had Laurel and Hardy, Burns and Allen, Abbott and Costello. Now we have McConnell and Trump. In an interview with columnist Fred Barnes, an acquaintance from the days of appearing on “Issues in the News’’ over the Voice of America, Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, of Louisville, squealed like a four-year-old holding a double-scoop ice cream...

Bill Straub: For want of a wall, for a temper tantrum, for dodging responsibility — is government lost?

For want of a wall, the government was lost, at least partially, and it doesn’t look like the darn thing is going to be found anytime soon. President “Tiny” Trump, once again throwing one of those tantrums we have all come to welcome and love, has decided to take his ball and go home, padlocking a goodly portion of the federal government because Congress won’t give him $5.7 billion to...

Bill Straub: Gov. Bevin is playing Yosemite Sam, a ridiculous Looney Tunes cartoon character

In contemplating Kentucky Gov. Matthew Griswold Bevin, aka Mad Matt, aka St. Matt the Divine, one can’t escape the assessment that he would be much more successful as a cartoon character than a public servant. Our boy Matt, in fact, is the living embodiment of Yosemite Sam, the foil for Bugs Bunny in all those wonderful Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts we used to catch on Saturday mornings. Like...

Bill Straub: Mitch McConnell is in an uncomfortable spot (and he did vote for Clinton’s impeachment)

Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell said a lot the other day by saying nothing. Asked by a reporter at a press briefing, “On Friday night, federal prosecutors implicated the president on two crime. Do you have any concerns about that?” McConnell, of Louisville, answered, to wit: “I don’t have any observations to make about that.” The inquiry, of course,...

Bill Straub: ‘Tis the season; since lots of kids are hungry, can we figure out how to feed them?

‘Tis the season, as they say, and Kentuckians caught up in the spirit are ready to spread the sort of comfort and joy one might expect as Christmas draws near. Well, most of them anyway. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-SomewhereorotherLewisCounty, a sterling advocate of the “I’ve got mine I don’t care about yours’’ philosophy of Ayn Rand, is at it again. In a state where 20 percent of the children...

Bill Straub: When you don’t know anything, it is probably best to shut up and listen to those who do

Permit me to borrow a phrase that has been used consistently by Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell and any number of his colleagues on the GOP side of the aisle: I am not a scientist. Here is my curriculum vitae on the subject: I somehow managed to survive a high school chemistry class taught by Mr. George Barstow who had been a teacher since the Roosevelt Administration...

Bill Straub: A man and his guns (enough to get the job done) is example of how we don’t do the job

Over in the lovely old town of Springfield, located smack-dab in the middle of the commonwealth, police this week came across a patriot determined to exercise his rights under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, armed with the sort of firepower the 101st Airborne would have welcomed as it endeavored to fight its way out of Bastogne. This individual, one Matthew Smith, was seen sitting in...

Bill Straub: A new word to enhance your vocabularly; to describe ‘beyond shameful,’ try ‘mitchful’

Occasionally when following American politics you come upon a statement or claim that is so outrageous, so mind-boggling that characterizing it as shameless tends to understate the absurdity. Such statements extend well beyond the boundaries of shamefulness into a completely new territory. They are mitchful. Those of us who have witnessed the increasingly ghastly career of one Senate Republican Leader...

Bill Straub: Real winner of Tuesday’s election in Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin who wasn’t on ballot

The real winner emerging from Tuesday’s election in Kentucky wasn’t Rep. Andy Barr, who staged a come-from-behind victory in the Sixth Congressional District, or President “Tiny’’ Trump, who insisted to his supporters that this year’s vote was all about him. Nope. The honor goes to someone who wasn’t even on the ballot – St. Matt of New Hampshire, our boy Bevin, the reigning governor,...

Bill Straub: Reagan once said ‘there is no room for intolerance,’ but Trump didn’t get the message

WASHINGTON – I can’t say with absolute certainty that the filth that gushes from the mouth of President “Tiny’’ Trump-like sewage through a straight pipe contributed to the current run of violence plaguing the nation, including the incident involving two African-Americans gunned down at a Jeffersontown Kroger last week for being black. There are experts who study the relationship between...

Bill Straub: Kentucky commands nation’s attention as Andy Barr-Amy McGrath race goes down to the wire

WASHINGTON – Kentucky doesn’t often command the nation’s attention unless it happens to be the first Saturday in May or the Wildcats are making a run in March. But during this vital political season, a lot of eyes are turning toward the congressional race in the commonwealth’s Sixth District, which could determine which party controls the House. The contest between incumbent Rep. Andy Barr,...

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: 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...