by Patrick M. Peterson, Ph.D.

To kick off the new 2023 legislative session, we might expect the Republican “super-majority” to focus on core bread-and-butter Kentucky Republican issues. We’d all likely unify around lowering taxes, relieving some regulatory burdens on small businesses, or disentangling our schools from onerous ideologies. Many voters are concerned about election integrity, which is an obvious problem given that Kentuckians have voted 60% to 80% Republican in the legislature and national elections while (amazingly!) voted for an autocratic Democrat to be Governor. Our national federal government faces a crisis of credibility and legitimacy, yet the Kentucky Republican leadership seems most eager to run, lie, distract, or deflect from that issue as if their livelihood depended upon maintaining a sloppy, insecure, and highly suspect system of elections (perhaps it does).

But instead of actually working to address the concerns of their Republican constituency, a very few small-minded people (Senate Republican Floor Leader Damon Thayer, Senate President Robert Stivers, and Speaker of the House David Osborne) seem most concerned that the party is too big or too strong, or at least that they are struggling to control and impose their will upon their own caucus. So enter front-and-center Tuesday, January 3 (the opening day of the 2023 General Assembly) the legislature is scheduled to address an issue (not) of earth-shattering importance to Republicans in Kentucky: changing the Senate rules to make it easier to kick Republicans out of the Republican caucus. Obvious criticisms come to mind first. Are the leaders too bored with a lack of opposition and therefore need to create new opposition legislators? Or is the fact that the voting public is so intelligent (as to largely remove the globalist “D” party from Kentucky offices) that the de facto ruling “R” party can’t fathom what to do next? Are Thayer, Stivers, and Osborne so frightened of their own caucus that this is a desperate “Hail Mary” attempt to cling to power? Regardless, removal from the caucus means that some unlucky legislator, who ran as a Republican and was elected by a substantial constituency of Kentucky voters – no doubt mostly Republican voters – would be treated forever forward as a non-Republican in all legislative affairs. If this is your district’s legally elected official, it will absolutely be an insult and a punch in your face by these shallow and arrogant fools who currently lead the Kentucky Republican Party. And regardless of whether this is imminent or hypothetical, the very act of even considering such a maneuver (much less show-casing it as their most urgent legislative priority of 2023) shows the party leadership neither respects you (the Republican voter) nor your democratic heritage of living in these United States of America. To sum up, the fact that this is even being brought up for legislative debate is a major insult to the people of the great Commonwealth of Kentucky.

All of this makes us wonder whether Kentucky’s Republican legislative leaders have lost their minds, lack sufficient clarity of reasoning, have bad political judgment, or simply have no intention of maintaining a Constitutional Republic here in Kentucky. Are they so petty and childish as to desperately fear any young Republican among the ranks might actually rise in political stature and ultimately succeed them? Do they think they are immortal and this will never happen? Do they have no understanding or respect for democracy as to allow for processes of debate and discussion to decide whether and what goes forward as legislation? Unfortunately, we have no choice but to ask these seemingly simplistic questions, because the party’s leaders are behaving so childishly, so non-democratically, and ultimately so fundamentally against the principles of our Republic. When the Republican Party leadership strives to remove the “Republic” from “Republican”, we are left with only the pathetic suffix “an,” which might stand for “almost nothing,” or worse “absolutely neutered.” In truth, the party desperately needs new leadership, before catastrophic self-destruction inevitably occurs.

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