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Kentucky editorial roundup

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 19, 2015 at 2:58 pm •  Published: August 19, 2015
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Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

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Aug. 18

Herald-Leader, Lexington, Kentucky, on Sen. Rand Paul's presidential run:

In principle, the best case for Kentucky Republicans to replace their May 17 presidential primary with a March 5 caucus is that it would give them more of a say in choosing the nominee and make Kentucky relevant to the process.

In reality, the only reason state Republicans are considering a caucus is to support the presidential aspirations of Sen. Rand Paul, who is precluded by state law from seeking two offices on the same ballot.

Paul could seek Kentucky's presidential delegates at the caucus while also seeking his second Senate term in the primary. The 350-member Republican central committee will meet this weekend to consider plans for a caucus.

On Monday, Paul sought to calm fears about the cost to the party by saying he was depositing $250,000 in the Republican Party of Kentucky's account.

Political parties pick up the tab for caucuses, which generally attract a smaller but more motivated group of voters. Taxpayers foot the bill for primary elections.

Paul has promised to pay for the caucus — estimated at $500,000.

Paul also said Monday that he would raise or transfer an additional $200,000, that he is recruiting unpaid volunteers to staff the caucus to reduce expenses and that the presidential campaigns would help defray costs through $15,000 filing fees that they also pay in other caucus states.

But how eager will other campaigns be to compete in a caucus paid for by Paul and staffed by Paul's volunteers?

Paul is the obvious favorite. Knowing Kentucky is likely to give him most or all of its delegates, the likelihood of other candidates campaigning here is small. The real politik undermines the principled arguments favoring a caucus.

And the RPK would be throwing an all-about-Rand caucus at a time when it will need resources and energy for this year's statewide races and next year's legislative and local races, when Republicans will renew their quest for control of the House.

Traditionally, presidential nominees already are decided by the time Kentucky's primary rolls around, although with so many Republicans scrapping for the nomination, it might be up for grabs later than usual.

In any case, Paul, whose campaign has been flagging, is asking a lot from his state party.

Online:

http://www.kentucky.com

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Aug. 19

The Advocate-Messenger, Danville, Kentucky on proposed pipeline near Mammoth Cave National Park:

A controversial natural gas liquids pipeline that has drawn much attention locally may have hit an even larger snag last week when questions were raised by the U.S. Parks Service about potential danger to Mammoth Cave National Park.

The park's superintendent, Sarah Craighead, gave voice to concerns that sound eerily similar to those coming from residents of Boyle County, where more than 20 miles of the Kinder Morgan line would be repurposed. In a letter obtained by The Courier-Journal, she cited familiar worries about the age of the actual pipeline and the possibility of a catastrophic leak that would put species and the vast underground environment in danger.

One of the main reasons for caution is the karst terrain surrounding the west Kentucky cave system, which is characterized by large sinkholes and subterranean streams and caves. Scientists worry about how collapses caused by these characteristics of limestone topography might lead to spills spreading over much wider areas because of those same karst features, many of which our area shares.

Something slightly different from our local situation: The pipeline doesn't even run through the actual national park. The unease of earth scientists and park officials about spills causing a disaster simply due to connectivity below the surface is even more reason not to let this plan go ahead without more answers.

Some of the queries posed by park officials are the same, or similar, to those we have heard from the activists and local residents who turn out in droves simply for information about the pipeline. Most bear repeating. They include the history of pipelines in this kind of topography, exactly what chemicals will be moving through the area, gaining assurances that insufficient line segments will be replaced and having more studies done to find out how substances would travel in case of a spill.

Many Boyle County residents already have expressed these and other legitimate concerns about our own water supply and the safety of schools and homes within feet of the converted line. If those aren't enough to spur an exhaustive and data rich analysis, perhaps the pleas of those charged with protecting one of our natural wonders will advance the cause.

These calls from this new front on the pipeline, along with comments already submitted through the federal process, should result in a full environmental study beyond the review the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is currently conducting.

Online:

http://www.centralkynews.com

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Aug. 16

Kentucky New Era, Hopkinsville, Kentucky, on presidential candidate promises:

What's the difference between what a presidential candidate promises a year before the election and what he or she would actually do if elected?

That's a question more voters might want to ask. Much of what a candidate says today to attract attention and earn the favor of voters in a crowded field — at least on the Republican side — could be far from their reach once they walk into the White House. Sometimes it is because the promises are wildly ambitious. Sometimes the promises won't hold up because of unforeseen changes in the country or halfway across the globe.

The president of the United States is still the most powerful person in the world, but the president has to contend with seemingly countless obstacles — changes in public opinion, congressional opposition to White House proposals, foreign threats and even natural disasters that drain federal resources.

Think about the last two presidential elections and the historic turns the country experienced shortly after the new president took office. George W. Bush could not have predicted (no one could) that the United States would be attacked by terrorists who took over commercial jets on Sept. 11, 2001.

Barack Obama entered the presidency just as the country's financial crisis (which resulted in bank failures, a slide on Wall Street and automaker bailouts) was becoming clear at the start of the Great Recession.

When a presidential candidate promises a specific program — such as Democrat Hillary Clinton's $350 billion plan to reduce college expenses for many Americans or Republican Jeb Bush's pledge to slice the federal workforce by 10 percent — voters who support those proposals ought to be asking what skills that candidate possesses to pull off such an ambitious plan. For every promise made by a presidential candidate, there are several roadblocks that stand in the way of achieving that promise.

In addition to weighing specific proposals from presidential hopefuls, voters ought to ask how the candidates deal with challenges, conflict, hardship and doubt. There are several governors in the run, and each one has a record of dealing with a state legislature. There are business executives in the race. They have a record of dealing with stakeholders.

It would be good to see candidates pressured more often to explain how they will do what they promise.

We're tired of platitudes and pledges to put the country on the right path. And we're tired of promises that are not backed by an explanation of how to achieve the pledge.

In our country's history, presidents have rarely gotten what they wanted without making compromises and dealing with countless unexpected detours along the way. We need a president who can handle that tough road.

Online:

http://www.kentuckynewera.com


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