RINO = Republican in Name Only.

The Kentucky state Senate has rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize casino gambling, and thereby has dealt another blow to the Commonwealth’s most recognizable industry, Thoroughbred breeding and racing. Countless jobs of hard-working Kentuckians will no doubt be lost as a result and education and social services will be deprived of badly needed tax revenues.

Kentucky.com reported: “The Senate debated the issue for more than two hours, with several senators, including Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington, Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, and Julie Denton, R-Louisville, making impassioned personal pleas against the legislation, which they said would hurt Kentucky families.”

The ipso facto selectively anti-enterprise senators who voted no chose to substitute their personal judgment for the preferences of the overwhelming majority of Kentucky voters. Scientifically-conducted public-opinion polls revealed that 80% of Kentucky voters wanted the opportunity to vote on the issue in a referendum.

These legislators were, in effect, saying “We know what is best for you” to the four-fifths of Kentuckians who said they wanted to cast a ballot and decide for themselves. This “nanny-state” philosophy flies in the face of the fundamental tenets of the Republican Party (whose members control the Senate in Kentucky).

The website for the Republican Party of Kentucky (http://rpk.org/) posts the 2008 National Republican Platform as its guiding document for principles and values. This platform was written under the supervision of Kentuckian Robert M. “Mike” Duncan, who was then-chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Consider a sampling of the strong and unequivocal free-enterprise, limited government, and power-resides-with-the people language in the 2008 Platform:

“Economic freedom expands the prosperity pie; government can only divide it up. That is why Republicans advocate lower taxes, reasonable regulation, and smaller, smarter government. That agenda translates to more opportunity for more people.”

“America’s free economy has given our country the world’s highest standard of living and allows us to share our prosperity with the rest of humanity …It creates opportunity, rewards self-reliance and hard work, and unleashes productive energies that other societies can only imagine.”

“Republican ideals are those that unify our country: …Distrust of government’s interference in people’s lives (emphasis added).”

These declarations–and many others in the platform–manifestly don’t leave room for an outcome in which slightly over 20 senators kill a bill in order to deprive millions of Kentuckians from having their say in a plebiscite…or to protect them from the consequences of their decisions. The declarations also don’t sanction elected Republicans to intentionally wound a legal industry, much less one like horse racing and breeding that provides sustenance for thousands of Kentuckians, contributes plenty to tax coffers, and is a source of pride, a signature industry.

Kentucky state senators may call themselves Republicans, but their actions are far afield from the time-honored Republican economic principle of consumer sovereignty and the maxims of such Republican exemplars as Lincoln, Eisenhower, and Reagan. Moreover, Mitch McConnell–U. S. Senator from Kentucky and the Republican Minority Leader–is one of horse racing and breeding’s strongest proponents in Washington.

Nominal Republican state senators who vote nay so that their constituents are precluded from deciding what is in their own best interests are masquerading as Republicans.

Copyright © 2012 Horse Racing Business

Postscript:  I cannot find another instance of where so many elected state officials have been openly hostile to the well-being of the state’s flagship industry. Further, I cannot find another case in which two senators (one from Lexington the other from Louisville) led the opposition to an industry that is so prominent in their home towns.


  1. Right on the mark. Had not thought of the result this way.