House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has been the laughingstock of late night shows recently for his series of verbal flubs, like referring to Hungary as “Hungria” and discussing the “band on America.” While everyone has been mocking McCarthy (who has now announced he will not run for Speaker of the House), a Republican candidate for governor in Kentucky has managed to really stick his foot in his mouth as well.
Matt Bevin, who previously was a Tea Party primary challenger to Mitch McConnell, is now running for governor in Kentucky. He is facing off against current Kentucky attorney general Jack Conway, as well a third party challenger.
Matt Bevin has pledged to repeal Kentucky’s health insurance exchange program Kynect, as well as the state’s acceptance of Medicaid expansion funding. He has also refused to endorse fellow Kentucky Republican Rand Paul’s presidential campaign, even though Senator Rand Paul endorsed his candidacy for governor. Needless to say, he’s not well-liked, even by members of Kentucky’s Republican Party.
“First, Bevin refuses to raise money into the [Republican Party of Kentucky]. He’s actually raised little money at all. Then he picks a fight with the [Republican Governors Association] after they spent $3 million propping him up the same week he went into Democrat Party Headquarters and screamed at a secretary. Now, he sticks his thumb in Rand’s eye for no good reason,” said one Kentucky GOP insider. “It’s unbelievably incompetent; it’s like he’s trying to lose.” (Source)
However, the latest gaffe may be the one that ultimately dooms his campaign. You see, right-wing Republicans love government assistance, so long as it’s businesses receiving it and not private individuals. They’ve tried to pass laws in a number of states that have required drug testing for welfare recipients, even though the results of those tests have found very few people who apply for government assistance actually use drugs. Tennessee recently reached the one year anniversary of their drug test requirement and out of 28,559 applicants, only 55 tested positive for illicit drugs.
Despite the fact that most people who receive public assistance are not drug users as these results have proven, Matt Bevin has continued to support this waste of taxpayer money. He has proposed going even further with the testing, and that’s where he really screwed up during a Tea Party rally back in April.
At that event, according to a video released by the Kentucky Democratic Party, Bevin told the crowd, “If we give help to people who don’t need it, we’re literally taking it from people who truly do and so what we need to do is hold people to a level of individual responsibility and accountability. I firmly believe, frankly, we should drug test people who are on medical, that are on Medicaid and Medicare,”
The Democrats began highlighting the Medicare claim after their nominee, Attorney General Jack Conway, brought it up Tuesday during a debate at Centre College.
But Ditto said that on occasions subsequent to the tea party rally, Bevin has made it clear that he wants random drug tests for people on Medicaid and Medicaid alone. (Source)
Perhaps Matt Bevin misspoke, or maybe it was a Freudian slip; we’ll probably never know for sure. What I do know is that a person who complains about the amount of government waste and interference in people’s lives certainly doesn’t mind government waste and intrusion if it will score him some political points with the far right. This time it will probably cost him the election.
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