Less than a week from today, Kentucky Republicans, such as myself, will choose our next nominee for the Governor of our commonwealth. The choice we make will have major implications for the future of Kentucky. For 60 of the past 68 years, a Democrat has occupied the Governor’s Mansion. One of those Democrats was my own grandfather and namesake, who was governor in the early 1980s.
Times have changed, however. The Democratic Party has moved far to the left, a development that led me to join the Republican Party. Our nation is deep in debt. Our own state is among the bottom 5 in terms of credit rating. The most recent monthly jobs report showed a loss in private sector jobs in Kentucky. Years of Democratic leadership have clearly failed our state.
We are in dire need of bold conservative leadership on the state level. I have come to the simple conclusion that the candidates best suited to win the general election and move our state in a bold, conservative direction are James Comer and Chris McDaniel.
In order to get the kind of bold conservative reform Kentucky needs, we must first win the general election against likely Democrat nominee, Jack Conway. The most recent polling has all of the Republican candidates except for James Comer down double digits against Jack Conway in a general election match up. Comer, on the other hand, is within the margin of error. We also know that in 2011, when both Jack Conway and James Comer were on the statewide ballot, Comer got 70,000 more votes than Conway. This was a year in which Democrats won every other statewide election. James Comer was the only Republican to win statewide, and he won with over 63% of the vote.
It’s also of great importance that whoever wins the nomination is able to successfully execute a conservative vision when elected. James Comer also has a record of success in this respect. When James Comer first was elected as Commissioner of Agriculture, in 2011, the office was mired in waste and corruption. Commissioner Comer immediately began reforming the office and restored transparency and fiscal sanity. For his success, the Bluegrass Institute gave him an award for restoring transparency in government. He was even able to return $1.65 million dollars to the treasury. The only earmark funding ever returned by a constitutional officer.
I had the privilege of personally getting to know Commissioner Comer. To say I have great respect for him would be an understatement. He is a man of incredible integrity and a strong commitment to bettering Kentucky. Along with his wife TJ and their three children, the Comer family stands for everything that is good about Kentucky.
I am very proud to support James Comer and Chris McDaniel for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Their candidacy is simply unmatched in terms of personal integrity, achievements, and vision. Nominating Comer and McDaniel would be the next step towards a better Kentucky.
Bill Bryant, host of “Kentucky Newsmakers” on WKYT-TV in Lexington, Ky., mentioned our own John Y. Brown, IV on his political news segment yesterday. Bryant referenced the “Why We Lost” piece JYB4 penned this week.
Take a look:
WKYT 27 NEWSFIRST
I was as disappointed as any other Republican with last Tuesday’s election results. President Obama defeated Governor Romney soundly in the Electoral College while also defeating him, albeit by a lesser margin, in the national popular vote. Republicans also lost seats in both chambers of Congress.
This was a pivotal election. On Tuesday, we learned that the large expansion of the federal government that took place in President Obama’s first term will likely continue without a Republican president or more conservative House or Senate to intervene. Whether Republicans like it or not, Obamacare is here to stay. The same is true of Dodd-Frank Act and many other expansions of federal power that took place under this President.
Likewise, whoever was elected president in 2012 was destined to play a major role in the budgetary reforms that are needed to bring our country to long term financial solvency and short term fiscal sanity. With President Obama, we can expect to see heavier tax hikes and military cuts and much smaller domestic spending cuts than we would have under a President Romney. Entitlement reform will be hard to achieve in any meaningful way with a President who is already on the record as opposing raising the retirement age, cutting benefits (even for the wealthy), or having any sort of market based changes within the various systems.
The point here is that with so much on the line, my party lost big last Tuesday in an election that had huge implications for the future of public policy.
The easy impulse is to find blame (the devastating storms, the power of incumbency, an Obama friendly media, etc.) that will relieve us from the harder (but also more rewarding) task of asking ourselves honestly where our party came up short.
What was it that made swing voters break towards President Obama instead of Governor Romney in the final days of the campaign?
Most commentators tell us that it was because Republicans came off as too extreme on social policy like immigration, abortion and other hot button social issues. These extreme positions, the argument goes, caused republicans to lose critical support from minorities, women and youth. I believe there is more than a grain of truth to what those commentators are telling us.
Most minorities don’t support Republicans because of issues like immigration but more because they are drawn to the populist economic message that Democratic Presidents typically promote. These segments of voters generally support higher taxes (on the “rich”) and more public services.
Read the rest of…
John Y. Brown, IV: Why We Lost — Republicans Need to Connect to Middle America
Last night, at the annual GOP Lincoln Day statewide dinner, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer — a rising star himself — welcomed Brown to the party from the dais, sparking a long and warm ovation.
And Sunday morning, Johnny appeared in the pages of the Courier Journal (Louisville) with the King himself — the longtime leader of Kentucky Republicans, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell.
Johnny’s father — and forgive us, we have already forgotten his name — was said to be kvelling, although he wasn’t sure what the Yiddish term meant.
For three generations, John Y. Browns have been active Democratic politicians in Kentucky.
John Y. Brown Sr., my great-grandfather, was an avid supporter of FDR’s New Deal while serving a term in the US House of Representatives and was a champion of various liberal causes in Kentucky’s state House for several decades.
John Y. Brown Jr., my grandfather, served one term as a Democratic governor of the Commonwealth and was the national chairman for the Democratic Telethons of the early 1970s.
My father, John Y. Brown III, was a two term Democratic Secretary of State and delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1996.
Being the fourth John Y. Brown, most people would expect that I would follow the tradition and become a Democrat. However, when I turn 18 later this month, I plan on registering with the Republican Party. It has been a decision that I have thought out fully and feel good about—even if it appears to break with a family political tradition.
As my political philosophy developed over the years, it became clearer and clearer that I was drifting rightward. My father would tell me that he believed the temperament we’re born with influences our political philosophy—as much as our ideas and beliefs. My personal political journey has confirmed this in many ways. Every time I heard about an issue where there was major disagreement between the political parties, I found myself siding with the Republicans over the Democrats. Eventually, I stopped resisting this and embraced my inclination toward a conservative political philosophy.
Read the rest of…
John Y. Brown, IV: Why I’m Registering As a Republican