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I don’t know if Matt Bevin, the GOP candidate for governor in Kentucky, ever took a history course on ancient Greece.

Kentucky Elects Union Buster

What’s the Matter with Kentucky?—Berry Craig

If he did, he ought to know about hubris, what the Greeks of antiquity called too much pride.

Bevin is bursting with hubris, which in Greek culture was a big-time transgression.

In Greek mythology, the gods were ever punishing mortals who were guilty of hubris.

In Kentucky today, Democrats are punishing Bevin, most pointedly in a devastating digital ad dubbed "Caught on Tape."

It shows Bevin saying one thing one time and saying the exact opposite another time. When reporters call his hand, Bevin sometimes bristles.

He's still at it, according to a Kentucky Democratic Party email sent out the other day. It quotes a televised Q and A between Bevin and Jay Nolan, publisher of the Mountain Advocate newspaper in Barbourville, Ky.

Nolan: "You have a little different approach to education. You favor letting parents take their per-pupil spending that is allocated for each child and apply it to the cost of private or religious or homeschooling. And you also are against Common Core. A lot of people in the Kentucky Education Association and public school teachers oppose this. Why are you right?"

Bevin’s how-dare-you tone has become familiar to reporters covering him on the campaign trail.

Bevin: "I'm not saying that everybody should be able to take their money wherever they want."

The email has a video clip of Bevin when he spoke at the Commonwealth Policy Center Gubernatorial Forum of March 30 and said: "We need to let the dollars follow the student."

For the record: Bevin was nice to Nolan.

Even so, Bevin’s how-dare-you tone has become familiar to reporters covering him on the campaign trail.

He says the press is misrepresenting him.

Once he refused to answer a TV guy’s question, accusing him of working for Attorney Gen. Jack Conway, Bevin’s Democratic foe for governor.

"On issue after issue, Bevin is reversing himself and blaming the media for mistaking straight-aways for u-turns, all the while doing something that most Kentucky political observers long thought impossible: Making Attorney General Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee for governor, look consistent and unwavering," wrote Sam Youngman, the Lexington Herald-Leader's political scribe.

"Bevin has been all over the map on health care, early childhood education, public-private partnerships for infrastructure, and his rocky past with Mitch McConnell. And that's not even a comprehensive list."

Okay, maybe Bevin doesn’t know what hubris means. But he is a Christian. So he ought to be familiar with the biblical warning, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."

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Bevin is also a fan of Ayn Rand, the reactionary libertarian novelist and philosopher who proclaimed selfishness to be a virtue. Rand was also an outspoken atheist.

Adam Edelen, the Democrat who wants another term as state auditor, suggested Bevin put down the books of Rand and pick up the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Okay, they’re in the New Testament. "Pride goeth before destruction” is in the Old Testament. But in the New Testament, Jesus admonishes, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”

Christians call it the “Golden Rule.” Rand believed that whoever had the gold, rules. So does Bevin.

The Bible also says Jesus didn’t believe selfishness was a plus. He chased the moneychangers out of the temple and said the meek--not the moneyed—would inherit the earth. That’s in the New Testament, too.

Anyway, even some conservative Republicans are nailing Bevin for flip-flopping.

John David Dyche, Sen. Mitch McConnell’s biographer and Lexington WDRB radio commentator, mused that “if Bevin's condition is not 'pathological' as U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell's campaign said it was last year and Democrats say now, it is nonetheless a quite remarkable phenomenon.”

The Democrats claim Bevin can’t deny what the video tape clearly shows. But he tries time and again.

I guess Bevin is banking on the old saw that the body politic has the collective attention span of a gnat. Besides, a lot of Republicans, notably of the tea party persuasion like him, love it when one of their own lambasts the “liberal media.”

Anyway, the Democratic ad shows Bevin’s MO: declaration, denial and declaiming the media for citing him for yet another “u-turn.”

"And when Bevin has been confronted about his dishonesty, he acts like a fussy two-year old: lashing out at reporters and stubbornly denying that he ever said what we all clearly heard," wrote Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Patrick Hughes on Huffington Post.

"I would remind Bevin that the object in front of him at many events is a video camera, and the next time he tries to mislead Kentuckians about his plans that would hurt our hardworking families he should really check the tape," said Hughes' statement in a release that came with the Caught on Tape" tape.

Somehow, I doubt Bevin will heed Hughes.

Anyway, I was a daily newspaper reporter in my salad days. The politicians I interviewed understood the meaning of “Never argue with anybody who buys ink in barrels.” The pols had the good sense to act accordingly with the Fourth Estate.

Now it’s “Never argue with a man or woman with a microphone in hand and a video camera rolling over his or her shoulder.”

The lesson seems lost on Bevin.

By the way, in Greek mythology, the goddess Nemesis—the spirit of divine retribution—was all over hubristic humans. Her handle was “The Inescapable.”

Berry Craig

In any event, Bevin’s case of hubris seems incurable. Until—or if—it clears up, his Nemesis—or Nemeses--will continue to be Hughes and his ad-crafters.

Berry Craig