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Fat pitches from Cameron

In honor of the baseball playoffs, Berry Craig points out some of Daniel Cameron’s fattest pitches – including one just waiting to be smacked back at him.

At their Paducah candidate debate, Attorney Gen. Daniel Cameron, the GOP gubernatorial hopeful, served up some fat pitches to Andy Beshear, the Democrat whose job he's after.

Hey, it’s baseball playoffs time.

Here’s Cameron’s fattest  pitch of all, a hanging curveball smack over the middle of the plate: I think this is a race about crazy versus normal. Beshear should swat that one deep into the cheap seats.

The line would make a dandy TV commercial.

I can hear the Team Blue captain open with, “Daniel Cameron says this election is about ‘crazy versus normal.’ I’m willing to let Kentuckians decide which one of us is which.”

Ad crafters could follow up with examples of Cameron craziness, including whoppers like Beshear coddles “woke radicals” and  hobnobs “with anti-Christian hate groups” while he and President Biden “mock our faith, our families, and our values, and they try to cancel anyone who disagrees.”

I mined those nutty nuggets from Cameron’s Fancy Farm speech in August. There are more mother lodes of Cameron kookiness out there. (BTW: The president is Catholic; the gov's a deacon at Beargrass Christian Church in Louisville.) 

The hard-right Cameron never misses a chance to brag on his Trump endorsement and burnish his MAGA creds. The state's top cop evidently figures that all it will take to beat Beshear is riling up the Trump true believers.

Beshear, the flaming moderate, is broadening his appeal beyond Democrats. He’s actively courting independents, swing voters, and even non-MAGA Republicans. It looks like a winning strategy.

Beshear notched a 64 percent approval rating among Kentuckians in a July Morning Consult survey. According to the poll, he’s the country’s most popular Democratic governor and ranks fifth among all 50 governors. 

But here’s the number that must have Cameron running for the Pepto Bismol: nearly half of Kentucky Republicans surveyed are happy with the job Beshear’s doing.

Anyway, at the debate, the Louisville Courier-Journal’s Joe Sonka quoted the incumbent asking his challenger, “Can you see beyond the letter behind someone's name?” Of course, he meant “D” or “R.”

Sonka also quoted a Beshear pledge: “Whether you are a Democrat or Republican or an Independent, there is space for you in this administration and on this campaign.”

With Cameron it’s clear: non-MAGAs need not apply.

My guess is Cameron will stick with Beshear/Biden bashing all the way to poll closing time on Nov. 7. From the start, the AG’s campaign has been based on demagoguery, dissembling, and doting on The Donald. Four years ago, those three D’s helped get him elected. 

But this time, the political winds seem to be at Beshear’s back.

The governor is leading in the polls – by 16 points in the most recent survey. 

In his Fancy Farm speech, Cameron, Trump-style, piled on the rhetorical red meat. The MAGA crowd gobbled it faster than they tucked into the picnic’s famous pit barbecue. 

Beshear replied with kinder, gentler jabs.

But he chided Cameron and the Republicans for “trying to pit us against each other, calling everybody names who disagrees with them, telling you it’s okay to yell at, even hate, your fellow Kentuckians.” The governor said he’s “ready to prove that’s a losing strategy in the commonwealth of Kentucky.”

So far, at least, evidence suggests Beshear might be right.

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Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a professor emeritus of history at West KY Community College, and an author of seven books and co-author of two more. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

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