Skip to main content

Bait goes for naught if the fish won’t bite.

Candidate Matt Bevin

Kentucky GOP Candidate Matt Bevin Bit on Democrats' Bait—Berry Craig

The same is true for politicians.

The other day, Matt Bevin, the Kentucky GOP gubernatorial hopeful, bit on the state Democratic Party’s bait, namely the billboard at party headquarters in Frankfort, the state capital.

“WE CAN'T TRUST MATT BEVIN” said the sign. Bevin spied it, paused on the roadside and made a web video ridiculing the message.

"Today Bevin took a break from not releasing his tax returns to stop by the Kentucky Democratic Party Headquarters and record a 1:30 web video attacking the KDP for our billboard."

The Democrats loved it. David Bergstein, the party PR guy, batted out a news release headlined "Cracking Up: Matt Bevin Stops By the KDP." “In a moment that demonstrates just how unhinged Matt Bevin has become, today Bevin took a break from not releasing his tax returns to stop by the Kentucky Democratic Party Headquarters and record a 1:30 web video attacking the KDP for our billboard," Bergstein crowed like a Democratic rooster.

Party Chair Patrick Hughes piled on:

"If Bevin wants to stop by the KDP he should just let us know—we'd be happy to talk with him about his failure to pay his taxes, his lies about his positions on critical issues, and his refusal to release his tax returns. In the meantime, this bizarre video demonstrates just how unstable and unhinged Bevin is becoming as he faces increasing scrutiny from Kentuckians about his long record of dishonesty. Bevin will be happy to know that we've updated the billboard."

Okay, maybe he won't be gladdened by the new signage: "WE STILL CAN'T TRUST MATT BEVIN."

The news release included a photo of the revised billboard. Piling on himself, Bergstein included a link to Bevin's video.

In the video, Bevin tried to play it cool. Of course, if he hadn’t been hot, there wouldn't be a video.

Anyway, like a big bass in Kentucky Lake, he was hooked. And the Democrats got the last laugh.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

The billboard, by the way, reads “KENTUCKY DEMOCRATIC PARTY.” In his video, Bevin went out of his way to call the Democrats “the Democrat party,” a slam common among right-wing Republicans.

The aspersion evidently goes back to 1940 when FDR was the chief object of GOP disaffection.

In any event, the Democrats call Republicans “Republicans.” So why don’t Republicans call the other party by its real name?

“There’s no great mystery about the motives behind this deliberate misnaming,” Hendrick Hertzberg wrote in The New Yorker in 2006. “‘Democrat Party’ is a slur, or intended to be—a handy way to express contempt. Aesthetic judgments are subjective, of course, but ‘Democrat Party’ is jarring verging on ugly. It fairly screams ‘rat.’ At a slightly higher level of sophistication, it’s an attempt to deny the enemy the positive connotations of its chosen appellation.”

Sen. Joe McCarthy loved to call the other party the “Democrat party,” while demagoguing, questioning their patriotism and lying and smearing them as communists. (Real communists said the Democrats were dirty capitalists, like the Republicans.)

berry craig

Anyway, you’d think a candidate for governor could find a better use for his precious campaign time than responding to a predictable put-down on a sign at the other party’s HQ.

Attorney Gen. Jack Conway, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, no doubt would ignore a sign slamming him at GOP HQ. He wouldn't give the opposition the joy of getting a rise out of him.

But Bevin is a tea party-tilting John Birch Society-friendly reactionary who is easy to ire.

Doubtless, too, Hughes, Bergstein and the other Democratic HQ denizens are high-fiving each other over the big fish they landed with such ease.

Berry Craig

Now that the Dems have re-baited their sign, you’ve got to wonder if Bevin will bite again.

Berry Craig III