Larry Dale Keeling looks back over his career, says Kentucky history often repeats itself

06/27/2011 01:01 PM

Long-time political writer and columnist Larry Dale Keeling spent 36 years at the Lexington Herald-Leader, many of them on the editorial board.

Keeling said he predicted U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s narrow victory over incumbent Walter “Dee” Huddleston in the summer of 1984 to Joel Pett, the long-time Herald-Leader cartoonist.

But Keeling said that victory, with attack ads that featured hound dogs hunting for Huddleston, ushered in a new kind of politics into Kentucky.

“I think that was the beginning of what we see today, of pretty much totally negative campaigns in Kentucky. They may have been happening elsewhere, but I had not seen that in Kentucky before then,” Keeling said (see the 2:00 mark of the clip)

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s election was a “phenomenon,” Keeling said. It was more a product of anger at incumbents instead of Paul’s credentials as a candidate.

“He thought the Dukes of Hazzard were in Hazard, Kentucky, when they were in the fictional Hazzard County, Georgia with two z’s,” Keeling said. (see the 5:00 mark of the clip)

Keeling said Paul claimed mine safety was a local issue and if mines weren’t safe, people wouldn’t work there. He said that showed a real lack of understanding and history of Kentucky’s mine workers.


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