Postcard from a Fancy Farm Rookie: Eight take-aways from the 2012 picnic

08/06/2012 07:58 AM

(Editor’s note: Of the Pure Politics team that covered the weekend worth of Fancy Farm -related events, two were going for the first time. These are their stories.)

Fancy Farm: A collection of good speeches, fired up crowds, funny posters, funny people and lots of politics. Oh, and good food.

The 2012 gathering in west Kentucky was my first one. Here’s what I took away from my first time at the weekend-worth of political gatherings:

- All the events are really spread out. I expected all of the weekend to be really close together, the way that the picnic was. Maybe five or ten miles between each event, not 40. Just going from the Garden Party of retiring Representative Mike Cherry in Princeton to the pre-Fancy Farm Republican dinner in Calvert City felt like it took forever.

- National politics will bleed into Kentucky’s local elections. All of the candidates I interviewed throughout the weekend as well as in many of the speeches, people were confident that the Presidential election will have a huge impact on races in the state.

- Elaine Chao has to have the cleanest breath in Kentucky. At the Republican breakfast, I was sitting up front and directly across from the former U.S. Secretary of Labor. There were mints laid out for each of the speakers or prominent guests, two for each. I started to notice that she ate hers, then took the mints from her husband, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. Then he started stealing mints on the table for her (which I personally thought was kind of adorable). Then when James Comer, who was sitting beside her, left the breakfast to get to the picnic, she snagged his mints too.

- The lunch at the picnic lives up to the hype. From what I am told, the line was no where near what it normally is at the Fancy Farm Knights of Columbus hall on the picnic grounds. There was still a line though, and it was worth the wait. Especially the tomatoes. I am normally not a fan of them, but those were great.

- You know the catchy tune of a song called “Our House?” Got that stuck in your head now? Well that’s what I was hearing in my head thanks to the focus on this year’s state House races. Far west Kentucky alone features four open seats that look to be good ones to watch. The Democrats introduced the theme of the state House not being for sale with clever t-shirts and jabs in speeches from people like House Speaker Greg Stumbo. Republicans said it was time to bring in a new house with posters saying “Whose house? R House!” and a slew of zingers offered by State House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover. Their “12 in ’12” slogan is another aspect of the Republican platform in this years election cycle because with the gain of twelve seats, they would become the majority in the House for the first time since 1920. While Democrats are bracing for Republicans to chip into their 58-41 majority (with one vacant seat), they say the GOP won’t come close to a dozen pick-ups.

- James Comer is apparently the “King of Facebook.” At least that’s according to state Rep. Steven Rudy, R-West Paducah, who announced that as part of his introduction of Comer at the Republican breakfast Saturday.

- Neither side knows what to think about Libertarians. When a member of one party speaks, the opposing party goes nuts and yell funny things. But when Libertarian Ken Moellman spoke, the crowd was pretty silent. Moellman was serving as a surrogate for Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate Gary Johnson. And he said things that both sides could agree with — or disagree with. At one point, one man decided to break the silence and yelled “…you’re fat.” Moellman responded with “thank you,” then returned to his speech without missing a beat.

- Next year, bring a fan.


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