Saturday, August 05, 2017

We Have An Idea Who Amy McGrath Is Now. But What Will She Do For Kentuckians In Congress?


A lesbian friend of mine was as excited by the Amy McGrath video as I was-- no, more excited than I was. It's an inspiring video-- one of the best I've seen all season... on a par with Randy Bryce's introductory video. We covered it, enthusiasically, on Wednesday. I even got a friend I visited in the hospital to watch it so he would get a feel-good boost of the right kind of patriotism.

But my friend warned me that as inspiring as the short clip is-- and as sexy as she finds Amy-- there was something missing. Unlike Randy Bryce, Amy isn't offering much more than her inspirational life story. Many voters want more; elections are about them, not candidates' biographies. My infatuated friend said she smells "Blue Dog."

Today another friend-- you remember ValleyGirl?-- sent me a short note:
A great ad does not a great candidate make.

No news to you, I'm sure. But people on my mailing list are stumbling all over each other to praise Amy McGrath and donate money to her. wow! I guess all the adrenaline they felt watching those fighter jets got them hyped up.

But next up on youtube was this:

Dem Amy McGrath Stumbles Through CNN Interview, Won't Explain Position On Trump Or Single Payer

I've been trying to get in touch with Amy all week. I had some good leads but so far nothing has panned out. The CNN interview was bad enough but her her campaign website, which-- DCCC style-- has no issues or positions page, just bio stuff, turned me off a bit. What was great about Randy Bryce was that after the video, there was the reality of a dedicated, tried and tested progressive who understands the issues and knows how to discuss them. Maybe Amy's that too; I hope so.

Danielle Kutzelben interviewed her for NPR Thursday. Highlights:
How did you decide to run? Were you recruited, or was this purely your decision?

So this was purely my decision. There's been a lot of talk of Democratic Party recruitment, and I sort of laughed at that as I was going through the process of defining myself.

Because I say, the Democratic Party didn't recruit me; I recruited it. After the 2016 elections I think like a lot of Americans, we just took a step back and for me I just refocused and tried to figure out what just happened. Who are the candidates, [and] how did we get here?

And I realized that I had to do something. I felt like I had two choices: I could accept things the way they were, sort of politics as usual, or I could accept the responsibility for trying to change something, trying to do something. And this is my response.

So was the 2016 election the straw that broke the camel's back?

I think the 2016 election was not necessarily the straw that broke the camel's back.

I would say it was the start of real reflection for me as to, "Hey. This is something I think I want to do."

The straw that broke the camel's back for me was when the Republicans in the springtime were putting up their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, this terrible bill that nobody liked, and they were pushing it through Congress without debate, without anybody knowing what was in the bill, just to prove a political point.

You talked about not being recruited, but Democrats are recruiting veterans and particularly women veterans for 2018. You check both of those boxes, so what do you think about that strategy?

I think it probably-- hopefully it will be effective.

I think, look. With regard to women, I'm not running as a woman-- "Vote for me!" But the fact of the matter is we have a very low percentage of women in our Legislature in this country compared to other nations in the western world.

Part of that problem is women don't run. We don't run for office. It's not that people are overwhelmingly voting against us. We just don't step up to the plate. So we have to do a better job of recruiting women and getting women to step up.

With regard to veterans, look. We have the fewest amount of veterans in our Legislature in places like Congress than ever before in history. [Note: She's close, in terms of modern Congresses, but according to the Congressional Research Service, at the start of this Congress, there was one more veteran member than there was at the start of the prior Congress.] And I feel this is a problem. Because veterans, they're a group of people who really put the country first. They put their lives on the line, they sacrifice, they know how to get a mission done.

So yes, I believe that strategy is a good one. Not because it's going to flip the House for Democrats-- obviously I'm a Democrat, and I'm happy for that, and I hope that happens. But I think that's good for America. We need more women, we need more veterans.

There's this divide among Democrats right now, between the far-left wing and centrists. How should the party bridge that divide? Do you think you could help?

I think-- it's not just Democrats that have a divide. I think you're seeing some real divides on the Republican side, too.

But there is a bit of a gap. So how I think I can deal with this or why I'm somebody who might be able to bridge that gap is I fully recognize that if it were not progressives-- I mean real progressives; radical people at the time-- in government, I would not have had a job for 20 years.

Because when I was 13, 14 years old, it was those progressives in government who said-- when most of Congress said, "Hey, women shouldn't fly in combat. Women shouldn't do that job,"-- it was those progressives who said, "No. We should have the best person doing those jobs, and our goal is to fight and win wars. So we should have the best person."

With regard to the more moderates, I have spent 20 years as a United States Marine. I'm a little more realistic when it comes to some of these foreign policy, defense policy issues, some of the things we do overseas. And so I really feel like I can connect to the more moderates.

I also consider myself a fiscal conservative. And what does that mean? To me, that means that we actually pay for the goods and services that we want government to provide. That's what that means.

In last year's primary were you a supporter of Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton?

I was a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

In your ad, you criticize Andy Barr for supporting the GOP health care bill. How would you want to see Obamacare changed? Is single-payer something you could support?

I like single-payer. So let me take this back. If we have the structure that we have right now. If we were to start over and have to start over from scratch, say this was 10 years ago-- I think we now know that single-payer would be the way to go.

But the reality is, we don't have that. We have a large infrastructure of health care in America. And maybe what we ought to do is try to shore up Obamacare and make it work. Make the holes that are in it-- and there are some real holes; no one has ever said the Affordable Care Act was perfect-- but let's not lie and say it's failing. It's not failing.

Many Kentuckians are benefiting from it. Even Republican Kentuckians are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act. Let's have a conversation about it and actually try to shore it up and fill the holes. We still have large swaths of the American public that still cannot afford health care, even under the Affordable Care Act.
Is she going to campaign by promising to sign on as a co-sponsor of John Conyers' Medicare-For-All bill? Probably not. Will she sign on if she's elected? I hope I get to ask her. Is she the DCCC candidate? Friends in Kentucky tell me she isn't and that they've been encouraging Lexington's popular mayor, Jim Gray, to run. Gray-- identity group is LGBT-- just ran for senator against Rand Paul, so his name recognition is very high. He did way better than Hillary did in KY-06. In fact, he beat Paul in three counties, including the big one-- Fayette, where the result was 82,407 (60.4%) to 54,064 (39.6%). He took Franklin 13,860 (58.1%) to 10,000 (41.9%) and won in Nicholas County 1,434 (51.2%) to 1,365 (48.8%). He out-performed Hillary in every county. The only one she won-- Fayette-- she under-performed Gray by a lot. She beat Trump 69,776 (51.2%) to 56,890 (41.8%). Over 10,000 Gray voters abstained in the presidential race.

Like I said Wednesday, in the kind of political environment we have now, this is probably a winnable seat. But it's a crowded primary already, even without Gray. The other candidates include state Senator Reggie Thomas, Colmon Eldridge-- a former staffer for former Governor Steve Beshear-- Leslie Combs, a former state rep from Pikeville, and frequent candidate Geoff Young. It will be interesting to see if, like Bryce in Wisconsin, Amy can keep getting better after the introductory video, which has already topped a million views! I'm still waiting for a call back.

Valley Girl followed up with some more insight this morning:
Contrast that sorry [Amy McGrath CNN] performance with Randy Bryce’s first appearance on national TV-- Jun 22, 2017, on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell:

Here’s the deal-- in his first appearance on national TV, Randy Bryce was exactly the same person as portrayed in his great campaign launch video. And, in every interview I’ve heard or watched, radio or TV, he remains the same person: honest, articulate, competent, graceful, no bullshit.

And Amy McGrath? Gag me with a spoon. Yes, her campaign launch video was great. Powerful. But it’s not enough to have a great campaign video, unless the video proves true over time. Did the Amy McGrath who appeared on CNN remotely resemble the Amy McGrath presented by Mark Putnam, a very skilled and talented ad creator, in her launch video? I’ll leave that for you to answer.
Some excellent news that just came in. Former Congresswoman Donna Edwards is helping advise Amy on her campaign so, if there were any early stumbles, they are likely to get straightened out quickly. "Amy," she told us, "is just the kind of no-nonsense, authentic public servant that we need in Congress. It may be a tough district, but she's the real deal."

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At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Jacqrat said...

As the infatuated friend of a famous person, I too am delighted to see Donna's endorsement. There is also a line in the NPR interview where she talks about Progressive Democrats, aka Real 'Radicals' making it possible for her to actually get to fly those sexy fighter jets.

Maybe she just is a "whole picture" kind of thinker. Which, if you think about it, would be REAAAAALY good to have more of now. FINGERS CROSSED. And maybe a candle lit for good measure.

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jaqrat,

MS here. Fingers crossed, indeed.

And thank you for your tireless work on behalf of progressive causes.

At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Hillary supporter who does not support MFA? Her stance on tweaking obamacare is like advocating prettier bunting on the gunnels of the titanic. More lesser evilism. Count me out.

At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All other aspects of this veteran aside, she has a terrible off-the-cuff delivery, and comes off as someone who doesn't quite know how to live up to her stated goals of "doing the work of the people". I sometime consider that choosing military officers to be our political representatives is a mistake, as the lifestyle they lead as military personnel is greatly scripted. They thus can't easily adapt to the random happenstance that is life for most of the rest of us.

The fact that she was a successful fighter-bomber pilot in the most misogynistic branch of the military indicates she has ability and can learn to fit in to be successful. The question is: can she apply those skills to a civilian world, where misogyny takes on an entirely different appearance, and where success is defined very differently?

I hope for the best, but I fear for the worst. McConnell hasn't noticed her yet, or he'd already have her on the defensive. We'll see what she's made of when that happens.

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Military personnel have all the skills of civilians, and more. They adapt to any environment and strive to achieve the best results for their peers. Their lives are anything but “scripted.” Generalizing military professionals shows a lack of intellect and a great misunderstanding of the people who give their lives to make sure others retain their comfortable lifestyle with out having to sacrifice anything.

At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The right reasons"? WHY is she a Democrat? Could it be that if you're a lesbian you can only be a Democrat? BECAUSE your sexuality trumps every other issue and Democrats cater to LGBT. Priorities based on one's low can you go?


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