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By John David Dyche WDRB Contributor
As a service to readers who are either sick and tired of 2013 or pressed for time, this column presents next year's political news in advance. Here is what will happen in 2014.
Governor Steve Beshear gives essentially the same State of the Commonwealth speech as he gave last year. It is full of things that he says the state absolutely must do without delay, but he does not follow through on any of them.
The only new wrinkle in this year's speech is that Beshear hails the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare as the greatest policy triumph in the state since the Kentucky Education Reform Act in 1990. Very few applaud.
Beshear presents alternative budgets, one predicated on revenue from expanded gambling and the other without it. He then leaves the expanded gambling effort entirely up to legislative and business leaders and offers no tax reform proposal.
Crit Luallen announces that she is not running for governor next year. She says she will stay neutral in the Democratic primary, but behind the scenes helps Auditor Adam Edelen against the other major undeclared candidate, her erstwhile political kid brother, Attorney General Jack Conway.
The filing deadline for state legislative seats leaves Republicans well-positioned to capture a majority in the state House in November. Some nervous Democrats wish they had gotten ahead of the curve and switched parties already.
Realizing their desperate position, state House Democrats pursue a confrontational strategy with Senate Republicans in an attempt to make new Senate President Robert Stivers into a boogeyman like the former Senate President David Williams. The aura of bipartisan good feeling that characterized the last legislative session evaporates quickly, but Stivers wins the public relations battle.
Mitch McConnell easily wins his U. S. Senate primary against Matt Bevin. Regardless of the margin, which will be better than 2-1, the state's mainstream media try to peddle a bogus narrative that Bevin has mortally wounded McConnell for the general election.
Obamacare becomes an even bigger debacle than it already is. Some Democrats who voted for it or supported it and are running for reelection admit to making a mistake, but blame Republicans for not stopping them.
President Obama taps Beshear as Obamacare czar and tasks him with fixing everything that still does not work. Beshear realizes that there is a lot more to the mess than merely adding people to Medicaid and is the target of a hilarious Saturday Night Live parody.
Now governor and with no immediate prospects for becoming president of the University of Louisville, Jerry Abramson changes his mind and says he is seeking the office next year. He promptly calls a special session to deal with tax reform and gets credit for guts.
After first extending the deadline for making a nuclear deal with Iran, President Obama makes a bad one. Israel, with the support of Saudi Arabia and other Sunni regimes, successfully attacks Iran's nuclear facilities.
The economy still stinks, and the Fed accelerates its quantitative easing policy. Obama ramps up his class warfare rhetoric and not so subtly supports the emerging presidential campaign of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as an alternative to Hillary Clinton.
Republicans gain seats and hold their majority in the U. S. House of Representatives. All Kentucky congressmen are reelected, including John Yarmuth who survives an Obamacare-related close call.
The GOP gains the majority in the U. S. Senate. Mitch McConnell beats Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes more than he beat Bruce Lunsford by in 2008 and becomes the first majority leader from Kentucky since Alben Barkley.
In Kentucky, the GOP holds the state Senate and at long last wins a majority in the state House. A few Democrats realize that the Republican majority is likely to be permanent and belatedly switch parties.
Democrats demand that Greg Stumbo immediately step down as speaker of the House. Sannie Overly replaces him, and everyone wonders what took so long.
Agriculture commissioner James Comer and former Louisville councilman Hal Heiner formally announce their candidacies for governor, and one of them has a female running mate. It gets ugly quick, which is what happens in Republican primaries before the party wins the governorship.
Rand Paul announces that in 2016 he will simultaneously run for President and seek reelection as U. S. Senator. Having failed to persuade the General Assembly to change Kentucky's law that would prohibit him from being on the ballot for both, he files a lawsuit to strike it down.
All this having proved wrong, this columnist decides not to do a predictions column for 2015.
John David Dyche is a Louisville attorney and a political commentator for WDRB.com. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jddyche.