Kelly Craft is making a big splash in Kentucky politics as she presses to get greater name recognition in preparation for the crowded Republican May primary election.
Mrs. Craft is apparently independently wealthy and, also apparently, expending large sums of her own money in airing commercials across Kentucky TV markets.
In her first commercial, she tried to make a case for the toll that illegal drugs are taking on Kentucky families with her “empty seat at the table” commercial. She was subsequently called out by several reporters and commentators because she seemed to be suggesting that she — “as a mother” — had lost a child to drug use.
She later tried to clarify the content of the commercial by admitting that a member of her family, not a child, had dealt with drug addiction but had overcome the problem.
It’s unfortunate that Mrs. Craft is jumping into her campaign by utilizing so many of the old, tired, evasive, and dissimilating tactics that are the trademark of politics today … by all parties.
After her well-publicized visit to the U.S./Mexico border, she produced a commercial noting that “we may not be able to build a wall like this at Kentucky’s border” and then merrily goes on to exclaim that she will secure the Kentucky border, presumably against drug traffickers.
Of course, she doesn’t say exactly how she plans to do this. Are interstate travelers going to have to look forward to drop gates and checkpoints at every highway that crosses from Kentucky into an adjoining state? It’s doubtful that those driving along Interstate 75 would be very happy about having to stop at either Tennessee or Ohio before continuing their trip. But she doesn’t specify which border needs to be “secure.” Kentucky borders seven other states; that’s a lot of checkpoints.
She might also be asked at some point which abutting state presents the most danger to Kentucky, and whichever state is selected is likely to raise some degree of indignation among the residents there.
Mrs. Craft proudly points out to drug traffickers that “I’m coming after you!” If she were to be elected governor, it seems likely that most Kentuckians would prefer that she utilize law enforcement agencies to take on that task (as they are already doing) rather than having their governor donning a flak vest and heavy artillery and facing off with well-armed drug lords.
By suggesting that “Beshear and Biden” are ignoring our border problems, she reveals a number of things about her current campaign.
First, she is trying to erode Governor Beshear’s popularity in the state by linking him with President Biden, whose ratings are much lower here. That’s the age-old ploy of “guilt-by-association”.
Then she would seem to suggest that the Kentucky governor has any influence over what transpires at the U.S./Mexico border. Maybe she has some method of extending her plans for the Kentucky/Tennessee-Virginia-West Virginia-Ohio-Indiana-Missouri-Illinois borders. If it’s such a great plan, why wait? Perhaps Governor Abbott of Texas would like to know about it.
Lastly, Mrs. Craft is catering to fear in her commercials, just as so many politicians do, creating bogeymen and ignoring the myriad of other everyday problems which haunt people.
At the very least, relocating Eastern Kentucky flood victims, rebuilding Mayfield and other tornado-devastated communities, getting broadband into remote Kentucky areas, dealing with teacher shortages and retention, and continuing to create jobs in all areas of Kentucky should take an equally prominent position on the stage of issues.
But then, those aren’t as glamorous or as inciteful, are they?
Written by Chuck Witt, a retired architect, a former newspaper columnist, and a lifelong resident of Winchester. Cross-posted from WinCity Voices.