The Daily Take for Thursday

Bruce Maples
Bruce Maples
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Good morning! This is the time of year when it is hard to write about politics in Kentucky, because there is usually very little going on, at least in public. The political pond is still and quiet.

So imagine the reaction in that pond when you throw a big rock into it, which is what Joe Sonka did yesterday. Here’s his tweet announcing the throwing of the rock:

Now before your head explodes, let me add a few pieces to that headline:

  • There are no open judgeships in Kentucky at the moment. This appears, instead, to be a promise of a future appointment.
  • The source for the story appears to be John Yarmuth’s office. Yarmuth vehemently opposes the nomination, even if only for the future.

I’ll post a story about this on the site, but I want to give you my take on the reactions to the story (the ripples in the pond).

The replies on Twitter, of which there were hundreds, fell into a few categories, ordered by my perception of their frequency:

  1. Expressing horror about this specific supposed action by Biden, often telling/begging him not to do it
  2. Expressing generalized cynicism about the failure of Biden or all Dems to fight for their commitments
  3. Focusing on McConnell as the person on the other side, and how he cannot be trusted
  4. Griping about the C-J paywall, and that the commenter isn’t going to pay for an online subscription to read one particular story
  5. Wondering if Biden felt this was a way to get more of his judges through the Senate, and if it will work
  6. Noting that Yarmuth’s office appeared to be feeding the story to the C-J in order to blow up the deal

What struck me about the reactions was how many of them basically reacted to the headline alone, with some sort of emotional in-the-moment statement. “If Biden does this, I’m through with him” is one example.

Reactions 1 through 3 above are like that. They all looked at the surface of the story, and reacted accordingly.

In contrast, a few of the commenters dug deeper into the story, noting that there are no current openings, and wondering if this “deal” might actually work. One pointed out that there are over 50 open judge seats right now, and if putting a horrible nominee in one seat gets 20 or 30 good nominees in the others, that would be a pretty good tradeoff. And a few went one layer deeper and noted that obviously Yarmuth had leaked the story to the C-J in order to blow up the deal.

The point I’m (perhaps poorly) trying to make here is that a lot of today’s political discourse is based on an emotional reaction to the surface level of a story. Many people forget the maxim shared with me years ago: When it comes to politics, there is the stated reason, and there’s the real reason.

I am sometimes guilty of emotionally reacting to political news. But I try, usually, to take a moment to see the politics of it, and try to discern if there is more to the story than meets the eye – to peel the onion of the story, as it were.

I’ll be interested to see where this story goes over the next few days. Maybe it was a trial balloon. Maybe Yarmuth stopped it. Maybe there is no deal, and McConnell leaked that there was in order to get a rise out of Yarmuth and to cause dissension among Democrats. Or maybe there actually is a deal, and McConnell actually keeps his word.

We shall see – hopefully, beyond just the surface of the story.

::

All for today. Thanks, as always, for reading – and for supporting the work.

Bruce

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The Daily Take is a newsletter containing observations and thoughts of publisher Bruce Maples, and is only available to Partners of Forward Kentucky. It is available via email, and is also available on the web site to logged-in Partners. The email version is sent to Partner members who have opted-in to receiving it via the Newsletters section of their profile.

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Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

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