Here are some current political questions. One is being asked locally in Louisville, another statewide across Kentucky, the third nationally throughout America, and the last one all around the world. Answers are offered, too, although not necessarily the right ones.
Local: “Who will run the city now?”
That is what one prominent Louisvillian asked me after the recent death of Metro Council president Jim King. It is said that there are no indispensable people, but King came extremely close in the governmental life of Louisville.
He was a Democrat who bridged the gaps between his party's factions and worked well with Republicans; a businessman with a quick and expansive mind who turned his considerable entrepreneurial acumen to public service; and a natural leader who never let adversity or his own occasional mistakes (most of which were made out of good intentions) stand in the way of doing what he thought was right.
Emerson wrote, “There is properly no history; only biography.” Much of what we consider to be positive about Louisville's history in this still-young century is actually the biography of Jim King.
Nobody can really replace King. We can only hope that those who follow him will take inspiration from his example.
State: “How does the candidacy of Will T. Scott affect the Republican gubernatorial primary?”
That is what Republicans across Kentucky are wondering after Scott resigned from the state Supreme Court to join Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner in the GOP contest. Most detached observers see Scott as a longshot and evaluate his impact more as a potential spoiler than a possible winner.
Scott, of Pikeville, and his running mate, former Menifee County Sheriff Rodney Coffee, face a difficult to dispel perception that theirs is a regional Eastern Kentucky candidacy. It is also hard to see how they raise anywhere near the campaign money that Comer and Heiner will have available.
Some think that having another candidate in the race from outside the so-called “Golden Triangle” comprised by Louisville-Lexington-Northern Kentucky will hurt Comer, who is from tiny Tompkinsville, and help Heiner, who is from Louisville, by splitting the rural vote. Others who consider Comer the frontrunner think that Scott's bid encroaches on territory that Heiner is trying to stake out as the anti-establishment challenger.
It is hard to predict if Scott's conservative populist candidacy will have significant impact on the Republican governor's race. His retirement from the high court will definitely bring some change to that extremely important and often overlooked seven-member institution, however.
National: “Mitt Romney?”
According to a brand new CBS News poll, “Fifty-nine percent of Republicans would like to see Romney jump into the 2016 race” for president. Romney says he is giving a third try for the White House serious consideration.
Yet many GOP and conservative opinion leaders are appalled at the prospect of another bid by Romney. They are making their feelings known in hard-hitting editorials, unusually frank public comments, and other ways.
It is not clear if any of this is getting through to Romney, though. He seems determined to remake himself yet again, this time transforming from a ridiculer of the so-called 47% “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it,” into an anti-poverty crusader.
Republicans need a fresh face in 2016, not a failed candidate who came off as a phony. Mitt Romney is widely recognized as a good man and a capable manager, but he should by no means seek the presidency again.
International: “Does America have what it takes to defeat radical Islam?”
That is what Americans are asking anew as megalomaniacal Islamic terror metastasizes into myriad forms, seizes ever more territory, and takes the fight to far-flung fronts from the jungles of Nigeria to the cosmopolitan boulevards of Paris. Recent signs from the Obama administration are certainly not encouraging.
Obama and his team refuse to even acknowledge the most essential fact about our enemy: it is Islamic. Moreover, Obama's administration seems ashamed or embarrassed to acknowledge that there is such a thing as “The West” of which we are a part and which is a great civilization worth defending to the death if necessary.
John Kerry's recent but belated visit to Paris to give the French people a “big hug” with ultra-sensitive troubadour James Taylor in tow to sing “You've Got a Friend” may be the most embarrassing moment in American diplomatic history. Charles Krauthammer correctly said, “It seems like an Onion story but it actually is real.”
How must the evil fanatics hell-bent on our destruction perceive us after such pathetic, puerile displays? And, as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich compellingly argued in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, we still do not even have a strategy for defeating radical Islam.
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.