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Conservative Democrats grouse about Yarmuth speech

Conservative Democrats grouse about Yarmuth speech

by Joe Arnold


Posted on November 5, 2010 at 2:19 PM

The 2010 mid-term election exposed not only a national divide over the directon of the country, but Kentucky's urban-rural divide. 

Rural, conservative Democrats are privately grousing about the urban, more liberal wing of the party that- as one Central Kentucky Democrat said - "poisoned Democrats across the state" and aggravated a more divided Democratic party.

Democrats lost seven seats in the Kentucky House and two in the Kentucky Senate.  Perhaps more significant, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell explained to reporters on a Wednesday conference call, are the inroads made by Republicans in previously untouchable county office races across the Bluegrass.

"Kentucky is clearly a competitive state," McConnell said, "when our party starts electing people at the local level, virtually every corner of the state."

Democrats on the local level paid the price for the national Democratic agenda.

While the harshest criticism is set aside for Attorney General Jack Conway's failed Senate campaign, some Democrats bristled at U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth's victory speech, Tuesday night, a speech that at least one prominent Democrat said sounded like a "lecture to a buch of idiots who don't know the facts."

In his speech in Louisville, Yarmuth lashed out at criticism of the Obama administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as "not only unjustifiable, it's un-American."

"We have a country that is fiercely divided," Yarmuth said in his speech, "A country that has - in many cases - succumbed to demagoguery, to falsehoods, to crazy rhetoric and to basically a sense that reality and facts don't matter."

Asked on Thursday about how his comments were received by conservative Democrats, Yarmuth emphasized commonality.

"I think the Democratic party whether they're in rural Kentucky or in urban Kentucky stand for the same values," Yarmuth said, "And unfortunately I think we got all enmeshed in demonization of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama and lost sight of the views that I believe Democrats everywhere stand for, and that's for an economy that works for everybody."

"I certainly wasn't lecturing to anyone," Yarmuth said, when told of one Democrat's consternation.

Yet, Yarmuth could not help but draw a contrast between his electoral success and the struggles of other Democrats.

"Whatever they were doing in other places didn't seem to work out so well," Yarmuth laughed, "So, I understand that Louisville is a different political district than a lot of other places in the state but they may want to try something else."